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Keeping a bezel in place during soldering

Recently I’ve been trying to make money clips with bezel-set cabs on
the fronts. The first one came out pretty good–beginners’ luck, I
think. Ever since, 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

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

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? 

Scribe a light line around the outer edge of the bezel where you want
it. Then use a graver, perhaps a round graver, cutting from inside
the bezel area right up to that line, raising a bur, or stitch. Do
this in enough places around the bezel (usually 3 or 4 so the bezel
when laying flat on the metal inside those stitches, cannot move out
of position without having to ride up and over the stitches. The
graver cuts end up under the bezel edge, hidden by the solder joint.
The stitches show as slight bumps in the solder seam, but are almost
invisible, and can be cleaned off if desired like any other minor
defect in a solder seam. Raising these stitches is much like raising
a bead in bead setting, except you’re making a longer, shallower cut,
so the metal curls up in a little spike in front of the graver rather
than forming a more compact bead. You can use a small size round
graver, a lozange or square shape, or any of the onglette gravers
just fine. Nothing fancy. Just a couple little retaining spurs to
keep the bezel from sliding. Capillary attraction with the flux keeps
the bezel down flat to the background sheet. Works like a charm.


I’ve never ben a fan of binding wire.

If the bezel is floating, perhaps you have too much flux.

Here’s a cheater way to do it. Use a sparing amount of tube solder
to just tack the thing in place. Then you can go back in with sheet
or wire solder, starting opposite the tube solder you applied.

Another way is to position your bezel, dry. Apply a few solder balls,
dipped in flux, to the inside of the bezel/clip join. You’ll see the
liquid flux spread along the seam. reposition if needed. warm it
gently til the flux solidifies. Then spray with cupronil while still
hot enough to instantly solidify. Then proceed to solder it. The
first flux on the balls acts as a glue to hold both the bezel and
balls in place.

Kathy- Thanks for the question. Keeping bezels in place during
soldering is one of my favorite bench tricks. I take a small graver
and raise at least 4 beads on the inside of the bezel to keep it in

Start with your graver on the base that you’re going to solder on
to, about a millimeter or so away from the inside edge of the bezel
and raise a bead until it just touches the side of the bezel wall.

Some folks like to solder bezels on from underneath by placing the
piece on a screen. I like to solder from the top with a softish
flame. I fan the piece constantly while soldering. Anything that
heats up quickly, like the bezel, will cool off quickly. Anything
that takes a long time to heat will take a long time to cool, like
the base. So while I’m fanning the flame the bezel is getting
hot,cold,hot,cold. While the heavier base is slowly getting warmer.
When it reaches solder temp I then tighten my flame a little to guide
the solder around.

Important! Be sure to remove your beads on the inside with a graver
or burr so that your stone will have a good flat seat.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Kathy, Perhaps you could use a graver to raise a small stitch on two
sides (or more) of the bezel which should hold it in place.

Alternately you could mark the spot (all the way around) of the
bezel and then grind out a shallow groove for the bezel to sit down

There may be an easier way though, Such as you may just need to
tighten up the binding wire… I found when I first began using
binding wire I never had it NEAR tight enough. I couldn’t understand
why this stuff was supposed to help! I now use it fairly regularly
and am always amazed that I can manage to tweak it a bit tighter and
a bit tighter.

Look forward to hearing others thoughts - and good luck!


You aren’t by any chance using pre-made bezel cups, are you? Because
those really skate around. I’d use a wire solder weight for those.
To fix an open-backed bezel in place, raise several “stitches” (Alan
Revere) around the inside edge with a square graver. This holds it in
place while soldering. I find that bezels don’t float much if I treat
them like this: use boric acid in alcohol to make a fine, thin white
coating on the back plate. Dip bezel on the same mix, apply to back
plate. Heat until boric acid turns to a melted glaze. Add yellow flux
to base of bezel area, heat, & solder it.



This is a common experience when people are soldering a bezel to a

One tip is that in soldering, you don’t have to solder everything at
once. Tack it with a little bit of solder, let it cool, rinse and
pickle. Take it out, flux it back up and add a tiny bit more solder
to complete the job. You will be amazed how easily and well your
solder will flow. SLOW DOWN

Contact. Check your bezel profile to the clip. Is it contacting the
metal at all points? When your bezel is perched on your money clip,
there should be little to no light peeking through.

We forget that a simple sanding step, to flatten the bottom of the
bezel does two things.

  1. The bottom of the bezel strip when sanded flat, flares out the
    metal just enough to give it a nice flat landing pad to your parent

  2. Sanding with rough paper, say 320, places minute divots into the
    bottom of the bezel. You might not see these, but those tiny
    scratches allows the solder to flow into those miniature canyons
    creating the perfect union of solder to bezel to your parent piece of

Good luck!
Karen Christians

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Old way:
Use a graver to raise little “stitches” of metal to keep the bezel
from floating out of position. Care must be taken to position both
where the stitch is raised from and where it rests against the bezel
so they will not show or can be easily removed. Positioning both to
the inside of a bezel is easiest, but not always possible.

New way:
Use your laser or PUK to tack them in place before soldering.

David Lee

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This subject can be broaden to a more general question “why things
slide against each other while been soldered and what can be done
about it”

any liquid in general and molten solder in particular posses
property knows as “surface tension”. When solder flows between two
surfaces and interaction with each surface creates differences in
surface tension, that difference shall create a twisting force in the
direction to equalize the forces.

The difference can be caused by cleanness of surfaces, difference in
degree of finish, and other factors making surfaces unequal in
resistance to solder flow.

Even if all chemical and mechanical factors are accounted for, still
if one surface is hotter then the another, the twisting will occur.

To prevent this from happening, simply follow general rules for
soldering. Surfaces chemically cleaned and scraped bright. soldering
gap should be equal and tiny, not too much flux, and both parts
should be heated to the same degree.

If these rules are followed, nothing else would be required.

Leonid Surpin

Thank you to everyone who replied to my question! I like the idea of
using the graver to make those “stitches”.

I own a couple gravers courtesy of Kate Wolf’s wax carving workshop,
during which she taught us how to grind the graver blades and fit
them to our hands. But I’ve never actually used them…that ought to
be an interesting learning curve all on its own.

I’ll report back when I’m fit to try to solder again. I apparently
inhaled something while soldering in the shop yesterday, despite
having really good ventilation. I didn’t notice anything at the time,
but today my lungs feel dried out and I’m wheezing. No torch play
for me for a while. :frowning:

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

You probably need to work in a better ventilated space. The problem
is possibly from a halogen (fluorine or chlorine) containing flux.



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

Beth Katz
Paste and Powder Solder for Jewelers and Metalsmtihs

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