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Idiot-proof way to close tube settings


#1

I am planning a class for jewelry novices that will involve setting
3mm faceted stones in tube settings. I’ve done this project with my
ongoing classes, and it goes very well (they love it), but some of
them have a little trouble closing the settings over the stones in
the usual way (with burnishers). I’d like to figure out a more
no-brainer way to do this if I can.

Prong-closing punches are too steeply sloped to work on tube
settings. Does anyone know of a punch that would work?

Alternatively, I’m thinking that a cup bur might work if I polished
out the teeth. If anyone has a worn-out 4 or 5mm one they’d like to
contribute to the effort, I’d love to have it (they have to be
bought 6 at a time, and if it doesn’t work out, I have no use for
all those big cup burs).

Thanks for any suggestions!


#2

Hi Noel,

Prong-closing punches are too steeply sloped to work on tube
settings. 

I haven’t found that to be the case at all, at least not if you mean
the ones that Rio sells: . I use these punches on all round bezels
and
tube settings.

On the other hand, you could always modify the punches if necessary.
If you filed down the rim, the slope would become less steep.

Beth


#3

I have a set of concave punches that work quickly. The name on top of
the wooden box is Favorite. It may be a watch tool of some type, I do
not remember. There are 18 punches with a handle. I do not use the
handle. I simply put the bezel with the stone in on top of my bench
anvil and hammer away. Its Fast.

Thanks Johneric


#4

I tried something like this myself and it worked well, though it has
not had heavy use. First I bought a set of beading tools, which have
a rounded depression in one end. No teeth to worry about. But they
don’t come in bigger sizes.

When I needed a bigger one (4 mm) I took a square nail, cut it off
to the outside diameter I wanted, then put it in a portable vise end
up, then drilled into it with my drill press to make a dip of the
right depth. Then moved to burrs to smooth it out, finally polishing
the inside cup. Then sanding down the outside diameter to make it
more round from the original square profile. I did not harden them
but I wasn’t doing a lot with them either.


#5
you could always modify the punches if necessary. If you filed down
the rim, the slope would become less steep. 

Um, the ones I have are conical inside, so filing them wouldn’t
change the slope at all. Are yours hemispherical? What are they
called/designed for?

Noel


#6
When I needed a bigger one (4 mm) I took a square nail, cut it off
to the outside diameter I wanted, then put it in a portable vise
end up, then drilled into it with my drill press to make a dip of
the right depth. Then moved to burrs to smooth it out, finally
polishing the inside cup. Then sanding down the outside diameter to
make it more round from the original square profile. 

So the obvious question is, why are the tool makers not making these
tools? Smooth cup burs or larger beading tools. It seems like a
logical expansion of lines they already make.


#7
why are the tool makers not making these tools? Smooth cup burs or
larger beading tools. It seems like a logical expansion of lines
they already make. 

Take a look at the dapping cutter sets. These come in sizes from
approximately 2 1/2mm to 22mm.

Greg DeMark
www.demarkjewelry.com


#8
So the obvious question is, why are the tool makers not making
these tools? Smooth cup burs or larger beading tools. It seems like
a logical expansion of lines they already make.

But they DO make them. I’ve had bezel punches in sets on my bench
ever since I could first afford a set. Search almost any decent tools
supplier for bezel punches or bezel closers or bezel setting tools,
and you’ll see tools like these:

http://ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=13288
http://ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=6831
http://ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=6832

All three of these sets, available from more suppliers than just the
site in these links (though most suppliers only have the second
style, or maybe the second and third still), are tapered cone shaped
"cups" intended mostly for closing round tube settings and bezels.
You can also use them sometimes for closing prongs on a round head,
but frankly, I’ve never found them quite as good at that, as they are
with tubes.

On one set I had, like the second link I gave, I used a thin
seperating disk to put one or two slits in the side wall of tubes,
then a burnisher to just slightly raise a burr in the inside lip of
the cut. That turned the tool from a strictly burnishing tool, to a
slight cutting tool, so it could also smooth out a rough outer
profile by shaving off a little of the upper outer edge. Not at all
as aggressive as a real cutting bur/cup bur, in part because the
steel of the tool isn’t hard enough for a good cutting edge, and
there’s only the two slits/cutting edges. But it’s a useful trick for
some things, a modification to consider if you have a second set of
the tools. Left in their original form they’re still slightly more
useful, so do this with a second set, or just with one of the
punches, before modifying a whole set.

Peter Rowe


#9

Noel,

What I use for pushing the metal over the stone is a Hexogonal Anvi.

After I seat the stone I turn my flexl shaft slowly while pushing
from the top down and wala, a bezel set stone.

I then bright cut around it.
Laurie


#10

Hi, Peter,

But they DO make them. I've had bezel punches in sets on my bench
ever since I could first afford a set. 

I have a set of these, too, but the conical inside, while handy for
closing bezels around cabs, is too steep to burnish down a tube
setting over a faceted stone. I am still looking for a lead on a
punch that is shallower, or possibly domed rather than conical. Is
any of the ones you’ve seen shallower than the usual?

Thanks,
Noel


#11
I have a set of these, too, but the conical inside, while handy
for closing bezels around cabs, is too steep to burnish down a tube
setting over a faceted stone. I am still looking for a lead on a
punch that is shallower, or possibly domed rather than conical. Is
any of the ones you've seen shallower than the usual? 

Noel, the angle of the burnisher does not completely limit the angle
you can get with it. You don’t just push the thing straight down.
Doing so would mean you’d be trying to force over the entire tube
edge at once, possible only with thin tube and softer metal. These
burnishers can close heavier tubes and bezels in even fairly hard
white gold, if you instead, tip the tool to the side and roll it
around the tube (not rotating the burnisher around it’s own axis,
but rather, rotating the whole tool around the axis of the tube,
rather like the motion of a gyroscope as it starts to tip over… As
you increase the angle of that tip, what you’re doing is getting
flatter and flatter angles on the edge of the tube, since only the
inside/uphill side of the burnisher is being asked to force metal
over.

Hard to explain. Lessee… With the burnisher angled, the "outside"
inner surface of the burnisher’s cone can become almost vertical,
parallel to the wall of the tube, while the inside can reach an angle
of less than perhaps 30 degrees, I’d guess. This is quite flat enough
to burnish a tube flush to most facetted stones. And because only a
small part of the tube is being asked to move farther than it already
has, at any one instant, it’s easier to get it to move.

You start burnishing with an almost vertical burnisher, and as the
metal compresses, increase the angle you’re tipping the tool over
while you rub it around the tube. This also results in a softer shape
to the tube edge, slightly rounded instead of a single flat conical
face.

In most cases, even with these burnishers, you’ll still have to
address the inside edge of the tube. Simply burnished over, even if
tight to the stone, they’ll be rough. To get a nice bright reflective
inner edge, like a bright cut, you use a traditional burnisher, or a
smaller bench made one (an old broken bur, ground to a bullet shaped
point and polished works well), or use a sharp graver and trim the
inner edge to an actual bright cut…

Well, I can tell I’m tired. That’s a rather scrambled description.
But maybe you can tell what I’m describing. If not, email me and I’ll
email you a rough sketch…

Hope that helps.
Peter


#12

What works for me is to use the smallest bezel punch that fits over
the tube setting to start closing the tube setting, and as it
closes, I use larger and larger sizes to get the top of the tube to
move closer to the crown of the stone. Depending on the angle of the
crown, the tube settings do not close the bezel all the way, you
have to use a burnisher or bezel roller to finish.

Richard Hart


#13
the angle of the burnisher does not completely limit the angle
you can get with it. You don't just push the thing straight down. 

I do understand this, though I really appreciate the effort of
describing the process (as others may as well). So far, I haven’t
been able to get this to do much on faceted stones, but I will
revisit it. I really do need to make the process as “idiot-proof” as
possible, since I’ll be doing it with beginners, in a hotel
conference room. Bright-cutting is out of the question! But my
beginning students in a real jewelry studio have loved this project,
so I’m sure it’ll all work out.

Noel


#14

the angle of the burnisher does not completely limit the angle
you can get with it. You don’t just push the thing straight down.

I do understand this, though I really appreciate the effort of
describing the process (as others may as well). So far, I haven't
been able to get this to do much on faceted stones, but I will
revisit it. I really do need to make the process as "idiot-proof"
as possible, since I'll be doing it with beginners, in a hotel
conference room.

Noel, it’s probably also worth mentioning that using these can take
some strength. Unless the tube is very thin or soft, one often has to
push rather hard to get it to appreciably move metal.

One other trick in tube settings worth mentioning applies only to
smaller tubes where it can be still just a tube, when you set it,
rather than attached to something. This usually means you’re able to
set the tube, and THEN solder or weld or otherwise attach it to the
jewelry, and for this at it’s easiest, you need to be able to start
with a length of tube long enough so you can chuck the tube into your
#30 style (jacobs chuck) flex shaft handpiece. Alternatives would be
lathe chucks, drill press chucks (harder to do since you’re working
upside down), or the like. With the ability to spin the tube under
power, you can hold a suitable setting bur or other bur just in
pliers in the opening of the tube while spinning it (rest the tube’s
upper edge on a groove in the bench pin to be sure it spins true),
thus cutting the seat in a lathe cutting like operation. Put the
stone in, hold with a tiny bit of sticky wax if needed, and then,
with the tube spinning and braced against the bench pin, simply press
a burnisher, or prong pusher, or almost any other flat steel surface,
against the upper wall of the tube. You can burnish the thing right
over in seconds. Works great with diamonds especially, where you then
can take a small bullet point burnisher (made from an old burr, or
better, a small carbide one), and then burnish the inside bright edge
of the tube (still spinning). With the tube spinning, the result can
be not only a very quick setting, but super clean. You can even, if
you like, then finish by spinning the now burnished sharp clean edge
of the bezel against a millegrain tool for a perfect millegrain on
the edge (sometimes hard to get when hand millegraining a small
diamber tube setting…) I’ve used this method many times when I
needed a bunch of small stones in tubes where I could attach them
after setting. After it’s set, you can saw the desired length of the
tube with it’s set stone off, spin the new edge against a file to
clean and level it off, then repeat. If you mount a saw blade in your
saw frame with the teeth pointing up, then spinning the tube (if
held, as I do, in the left hand when I do this, so the side of the
tube facing you is spinning down), then you can saw off the tubes
quickly just by holding the saw blade against the spinning tube, to
get a nice level cut too. (cut a slit in a zip lock back, put the bag
over the tube, and hold the saw blade in the slit, so you’re cutting
the tube off inside the bag. keeps it from flying off to parts
unknown when it cuts through.

It’s a great way to set a bunch of small tubes when you need to do
one of those “diamonds by the yard” sort of chains, or otherwise need
lots of small tube sets. It’s limited mostly by the maximum size of
tube you can fit in your chuck, and soft stones will be hard to
burnish the inside edge without damage. And obviously, if you’re then
soldering the tubes to something, the stones need to survive that.
Laser welders, though, remove most limits in that regard…

Peter


#15

Has anyone tried the product called “Final Touch” to do this? Not
sure who makes it, but it’s Stuller product 53-1901 (page 448 of
Tools vol 56). It’s 3 hardened rods with rounded concave shapes
carved out of the end, which comes with a urethane block drilled with
holes for earring prongs. It’s advertised as being for final
tightening down of prongs on settings, but it looks like it could be
the precise shape needed for closing tubes, as well.

The other thought was dapping cutters, but they may also be a bit
too shallow in their curvature.

Certainly got me thinking about better ways to do it, though!

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


#16
...start with a length of tube long enough so you can chuck the
tube into your #30 style (jacobs chuck) flex shaft handpiece... 

Funny you should mention this-- I just wrote up this exact technique
(minus the great tip about the plastic bag) as a sidebar for an
article for Art Jewelry! I never know how much of what I send them
will fit in the magazine, but keep an eye out next year (don’t know
when yet, but I’m guessing May) for the article, which is about a
reversible bracelet.

Anyway, I love doing tube settings this way. Sadly, I don’t think I
can supply the students with diamonds and sapphires for this class.

Noel


#17
length of tube long enough so you can chuck the tube into your #30
style (jacobs chuck) flex shaft handpiece. 

Wow! That’s turning it on its head somewhat. What a good idea!

Because of a lack of strength in my hands and wrists my handmade
tube settings have tended to be a little thin with respect to wall
thickness and although I’ve started using slightly thicker silver,
I’ve not gone for the thick walled tubes to make such settings
because I would simply not be able to turn the edges over. Your idea
is inspired and with some practice would mean that thicker tube
settings might be possible. They do look more classy with more
substantial walls.

Helen Hill
UK


#18

Hi Noel, I’m looking forward to reading your article. When’s it
coming out? How did you figure this technique out?

Andy