I can't seem to keep the bezels in the right place while they're
being soldered. Every one has slipped and ended up crooked. I've
been using iron binding wire to hold the bezel during soldering,
but that obviously isn't working. Is there a better way?
There are many ways to tackle any project, you need to find the one
that works best for you, keep experimenting. There is not one
jeweler who did not melt metal while learning the process of
Make sure the bottom of the bezel is completely flat and matching
exactly the profile of the piece onto which it will be soldered. It
must still be flat on the bottom wherever it will be touching the
other part of the project. Sandpaper works wonders in getting the
bezel flat if you put the sandpaper on a small sheet of Plexiglas so
that you know you have a perfectly flat plane.
If you sand the bezel and your sandpaper is not perfectly flat, you
will never be able to get the bottom of the bezel flat.
I use binding wire in most cases, and a great way to solder a bezel
is to use paste solder. The paste solder is applied to the inside
bottom of the bezel and then the bezel placed onto the backing and
then the entire project is placed onto a screen supported on a
The paste solder already has the flux in the paste, there is no need
to add additional flux. There is no drying time needed. With pallions
and paste or liquid flux, the chips can fly off and the bezel can
move while the flux is being dried with heat. The only trick with
paste solder is that as you bring in the flame from below (while
using the tripod and screen) and warm the metal first and not the
bezel first. Do not dance you flame in and out, but move it in a
steady motions either around and around or back and forth so your
piece does not get a hot spot. There may be a little flame as the
metal is heating, this tell you the flux is starting to work. Do not
back off the heat as the oxygen may deplete the paste flux used in
making the paste solder and you can get a crusty black if not enough
heat is applied at a steady pace. Keep heating gently from below, but
always keeping a steady heat. Do not go “in and out” at the piece.
When you see the solder begin to melt bring the flame to the top of
the piece and continue heating, while always moving the flame to get
the solder to flow around the bezel and directing the around and
around the bezel. Remember that solder flows towards heat.
You can also use the paste solder if you hare heating from the top.
It is just as important to heat the metal, not backing off, and then
once it is starting to melt, go in toward the outside of the bezel
and draw the solder around with the torch flame, through the bottom
of the bezel and the backing. If you have made a good contact between
the bezel and the backing, there will be hardly any solder showing,
if at all. Look for the shine of solder flowing and continue heating
until the bezel is firmly in place and no gaps are seen. Happy
Paste and Powder Solder for Jewelers and Metalsmtihs