what do you use to hold your work while setting it?
I use GRS’s Thermo-loc in an ordinary vice. It’s a thermo-plastic
that’s soft and moldable when hot and very solid when cold. I heat
it under water in my microwave, then set my piece into it securely,
making a flange underneath for the vice jaws to clamp onto. I set it
in the vice while it’s still hot so that the vice jaws flatten the
flange to the correct shape. I’ll often set the next piece in
Thermo- loc while the first one hardens. If I’m pressed for time,
I’ll remove the first piece from the vice and plunge it into cold
water to speed up the setting time of the plastic. Once you’ve set
your stones, it can be reheated in the water in the microwave and the
piece usually just falls out, ready for finishing.
Other, similar products are sold by other companies. Jett-Sett (?)
is another one that springs to mind and I think there are even less
expensive ones out there too.
I used to really struggle with the same problem until a friend
pointed this stuff out to me. It holds your piece rock-solid and lets
you get on with the business of hammering that bezel home, using two
hands - wonderful! No marks from the vice jaws but perfectly
supported jewellery. Try it, I’m sure you’ll like it.