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Lumpy bezels


#1

Dear Orchidians,

I did a search on “finishing techniques” (38 hits) and “lumpy
bezels” (1 hit).

What is the best tool or tool shape for bezel rolling 2mm to 4mm
stones?

I would also like to know if it is possible to remove flat spots
from a bezel without scratching the stone.

Kind regards,
Jeff


#2

Hi Jeff,

What is the best tool or tool shape for bezel rolling 2mm to 4mm
stones? 

I would say that it depends on what gauge of metal you’re trying to
turn. Although, with small stones like the ones you mention, the
metal is difficult to turn onto the stone without some sort of
persuasion, whatever the thickness of metal. I personally use a
bezel pusher (flat faced) and chasing hammer. It takes practice to do
it in such a way that you don’t use too much force and leave tool
marks or crack a stone, but to use enough force so as to turn the
metal sufficiently. It becomes second nature after a while.

I would also like to know if it is possible to remove flat spots
from a bezel without scratching the stone. 

That depends on the stone. Yes, if the stone’s Moh’s rating is
higher than that the tools steel of whatever file you’re using and no
if the Moh’s rating is less than that of tool steel. At least that’s
what my logic says.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


http://helensgems.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#3

Jeff,

What is the best tool or tool shape for bezel rolling 2mm to 4mm
stones? 

Try using commercially prepared tube. If you’re using a hard stone,
this is the easiest way. Place a piece of thick-wall tube in the
chuck of your flexshaft handpiece. Then, select a stone-setting bur
that is slightly larger than the I.D. of the tube. Hold the stone
setting bur in your left hand and the handpiece with the tube in
your right hand. Carefully, cut a seat in the tube for the stone. I
know it seems backward, but here’s the next step. Leave the tube in
the handpiece, and place the stone into the seat that you just cut.
Now, with the tube turning slowly (still in the chuck), press the
top outside edge of the tube against a burnisher so that the edge
curls smoothly over the girdle of the stone. Finally, while
continuing to carefully turn the tube (with the stone now set in
it), use your saw to cut the tube to the desired finish length.
Fast. Easy. Neat.

Jamie


#4
I would also like to know if it is possible to remove flat spots
from a bezel without scratching the stone. 

If you’re talking about a bezel wall that went in too far, creating
a flat on the inside of the wall, here’s something that works for me.

Modify a chasing tool or anything similar so that you create a hook
to fit over the crown of the stone. You want the very tip of the
tool to engage the inside of the bezel without or just barely
touching the stone. The tool length will be almost parallel to the
table when in use, uh, maybe a few degrees off. Shape the tip to
conform to the curvature of the bezel. The hook has to be beefy
enough to transmit the force of a hammer blow without deflecting. You
may have to clean it up with your choice of a graver, fine burnisher,
a cup shape pumice wheel or whatever you like.

Happy Delumpifying


#5

Jamie, I read this brilliant technique in K Christian’s book and it
worked a treat! However, now I’m holding a tube set tourmaline in
one hand and a ring in the other. Soldering them together without
damaging the stone… Do you go with one of the jewel cool
protection products, or what?

Chris L.


#6
However, now I'm holding a tube set tourmaline in one hand and a
ring in the other. Soldering them together without damaging the
stone... Do you go with one of the jewel cool protection products,
or what? 

In most cases of setting colored stones in bezels, it is probably
best to finish all major soldering operations prior to setting. My
experience has been that tourmaline up to 4mm or so has tolerated
the heat of soldering, as long as I didn’t quench it. If I had
broken the stone, then it’s just a free replacement on my dime.

On this job, I would have completed the soldering and used punches
with a hammer as seen in this link to tamp down the bezel.

After seating the stone, use the appropriate punch without the
handle and tamp down with a hammer.

I hope this makes sense.

Materials such as Cool Jewel and Heat Shield rely on water to cool
the work to temperatures below 212 degrees F and if in too close
proximity, mat not allow the work to attain soldering temperatures
until the water has boiled off. Once the water has boiled off, they
will only provide some protection against the direct heat of the
flame.

Bruce Holmgrain
JACMBJ


#7

Chris,

I’ve never done this with tourmaline. Just sapphires and diamonds
protected with alcohol/boric acid and wet Kleenex tissue for
soldering. I’m not experienced with any of the other methods for
protecting gems. Perhaps someone else can offer a suggestion… ?
Sorry for leading you astray!

Jamie
p.s. Thanks for telling me about the reference in K. Christian’s book
I’ll have to look it up.


#8
Soldering them together without damaging the stone... 

Chris, subcontract with a laser or TIG welder if you do not have one
of these machines.

Kevin Lindsey
lindseyjewelers.com


#9
On this job, I would have completed the soldering and used punches
with a hammer as seen in this link to tamp down the bezel.
http://www.contenti.com/products/stone-setting/410-600.html 

Sorry to piggy-back onto this thread but I purchased the exact same
set for bezel setting round stones, but unfortunately I’ve found it
to be frankly rubbish! I’ve tried the punches with and without the
handle and with varying degrees of force from the hammer and even
for larger stones where you’d expect the bezels to turn more easily
(those moments again), they just don’t seem to work. Often, the punch
will jump from the force of the hammer and I end up with a “cut” in
my silver bezel from the bottom edge of the punch - so I’ve gone back
to my original method of hammer and flat-faced bezel pusher.

Does anyone else have any experience with this set?

Helen
UK


#10

It’s weird but it works. You can solder a ring with a tube setting
in a potato.

Karen Christians
Cleverwerx


#11
I've tried the punches with and without the handle and with
varying degrees of force from the hammer and even for larger
stones where you'd expect the bezels to turn more easily (those
moments again), they just don't seem to work.

I am under the impression that these punches are designed to tighten
round prong settings. I haven’t used them for that, but they work
well to tighten round bezels. Use the handle, choose a punch that is
a bit larger than the setting, press down and rotate in small
circles. Lots of pressure, little movement. Personally, I only do
this for the odd sterling bezel, as fine closes easily without this
tool, but it works easily and evenly-- just be careful the circles
are small enough that you do not catch the sharp edge of the punch
on the edge of the bezel, or hit the backing.

I also use these the same way to close small tube settings on
faceted stones, though it is still necessary to burnish them down a
bit flatter with a burnisher.

Noel


#12
You can solder a ring with a tube setting in a potato. 

Um, stick the already-set tube into the potato, then solder the
whole thing to the ring? The potato is certainly amenable to carving
into a nice little holder. Brilliant! Complete the soldering, then
eat toasted potato for lunch :-). Thanks.

Chris


#13

Yes, I have experience with this set and it works great if you set
stones that can be heated after they are set. First you set the
stone in the bezel, then place the tube on a steel block, then
without using the handle, tap with a hammer while slightly leaning
the punch back and forth to get even distribution of the hammering.
Then simply add to the ring or pendant and solder & polish. Works
well! The key is setting the stone first BEFORE you solder it in
place.


#14
Does anyone else have any experience with this set? 

I never tried these punchs until I had worked on the bench for about
15 years. I felt as if I had wasted a lot of time after I
"discovered" them. Mind that I have used these on die struck tube
bezels for the best results. I have also used them with an arbor
press with grest results. I have never found the handles to be
useful. Hand maade bezels are a problem with these punches,
apparently because of the uneven oposing forces.

I realy feel bad that you have been frustrated by the punches. They
work great for me.

Bruce Holmgrain
JACMBJ


#15
Sorry to piggy-back onto this thread but I purchased the exact
same set for bezel setting round stones, but unfortunately I've
found it to be frankly rubbish! 

The set of bezel punches work fine. Start with the largest size that
just starts moving the top edge of the bezel in, keep in, going down
in size until the bezel is as far as it will go in or until the
punch in too small to fit over the bezel. The piece you are working
on must be on a solid surface, and I use a hammer (plastic head) to
tap the punch, you must roll the punch a round as you are tapping,
about a 45 degree angle off center. Success without a hammer using
the handle depends on metal and your strength. I have noticed over
the years that some women seem to have trouble with tasks that
require a certain amount of strength to accomplish the task. One
suggestion, have the work on a surface so you can be standing and be
able to put the weight of your upper body as you are pushing down.
Your upper body will be over your vice or steel plate your work is
in/on.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver


#16

Hi Helen and others following this thread,

I use and teach people how to make small round settings out of
tubing or take advantage of premade bezels to be finished with
setting punches. I sweat solder the bezel so there is no chance that
there is excess solder to interfere with the way the bezel rolls in.
The punches are great for setting small stones as long as you are
careful and check to see that the height of the bezel is correct and
the punch is large enough not to score the bezel.

If the stone is sitting too low the metal will eclipse the surface
when setting so either file the edge of the bezel or use an small
piece of tubing or bent wire to elevate the stone. If the stone is
sitting too high it won’t hold and fall out. It does take practice
and a gentle approach to hammer the setting in. The handle they
provide is useless and unnecessary as far as I am concerned. I use a
raw hide mallet and tap lightly but firmly in the beginning to get
the metal to fold in. The punch should cover the top of the bezel
completely but not be so large that there is any danger of scoring
the surface beneath the bezel. You can check to see whether the edge
has contracted in size by comparing it with the original tube size.
Once the circumference has reduced in size, take the next size
smaller punch and tap again on top to tighten the fit… I then
burnish the bezel by hammering and rotating the punch to smooth and
polish the surface. Settings can then be polished with the buffer or
flex shaft machine.

Settings made out of fine silver work the best but S.S. tubing works
well too. I have discovered an interesting thing with tube
settings… that I will share now… I used to solder a smaller
piece of tubing inside to make a ledge which takes time. One day
when I was in a hurry I figured out that it is unnecessary to solder
that piece of tube inside because once the stone is set… the
smaller tube can’t fall out! Now all I do is cut the tube with the
proper inside diameter to match the outside diameter of the stone to
size and solder it on. I then cut a smaller tube the telescopes in
side the large tube and I just slip it inside. Place the stone on
top and set it trapping the smaller tube within. It is not only time
saving but it also makes it easier to adjust the height of the inside
tube at the last minute. As is often said…’ Try it you will like
it!’

Good luck!
Marilynn Nicholson
Taos School of Metalsmithing and Lapidary Design
www.taosjewelryschool.com


#17
I never tried these punchs until I had worked on the bench for
about 15 years. I felt as if I had wasted a lot of time after I
"discovered" them. 

These punches work when everything else is done well. If stone fits
well, and bearing is cut well, and height of the bezel, and etc…
But they often recommended as a cure for badly made bezels. They are
not. If bezel is borderline, it may be possible to set using
conventional method, but the punches will definitely ruin the job.

The problem lies in punch design. Any tool designed to move the
metal, also compresses it. Most of the failures in bezel settings are
because metal would work-harden before it closes on a stone. That is
why precision in manufacturing of bezel is paramount. The effect of
work hardening is even more pronounced when using these punches.
Experienced setter will benefit from them, because they work faster,
beginners should stay away because the margin of error is very slim.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#18

I had a set of those punches. I couldn’t get it to work well.
Problems I had were 1) the inside dome of the punch was very rough
and would chew up the bezel, which is surmountable but 2) After I
had experienced several chipped crowns I threw it away. Being that my
eyeball isn’t right there, gauging clearance between stone and
punch, working on Blind Faith (which was a pretty good band but), I
thought it better to waste the set than waste another $tone.

Sometimes I think some Jewelers’ Tools are like fishing lures, meant
to catch more fisherman than fish.

But this brings up in my mind the novel notion that maybe one should
master the hard way before reaching for the easy way. Not all
situations would allow you to use a punch (assuming you get it to
work) so if that’s your only option you’re going to get all
addlepated.

I would never let anybody see me solder in a potato, for what its
worth. Yeah I know, its a real image builder but…


#19

I have been reading this post with great interest. My favorite
Jewelry Instructor, and friend Jay Whaley has invented a wonderful
Bezel Setting Device, he calls, “The Rivette.”

It has been submitted for consideration and manufacture, and Jay
awaits a response. The Rivette is a one piece unit that totally
replaces the hammer and punch, and is very easy to use.

We already have a waiting list, for this tool, once it is in
production. I wear a ring that Jay used in demonstrating the Rivette,
in the video that accompanied the tool. It is a large triangular
silver setting with a heavy bezel. It has caught the attention of
many, it is that impressive.

During Jay’s recent Soldering Workshop, I saw him set a Bezel in the
hammer and punch manner. I started to ask why he was not using the
Rivette, and realized the prototype was out of his hands. Boy we
sure miss it.

We may upload the Video, not quite sure yet. Negotiations are such
delicate issues.

Hugs,
Terrie
Jay Whaley’s Studio Assistant


#20
I had a set of those punches. I couldn't get it to work well.
Problems I had were 1) the inside dome of the punch was very rough
and would chew up the bezel, which is surmountable but 2) After I
had experienced several chipped crowns I threw it away." 

The punches do not come with directions. I was fortunate that the
punches I bought were not rough on the inside, and I am the type that
gets “addlepated” if I cannot figure out how to make something work,
and I have not damaged a crown so far. There are times I cannot use
the tool, but when I can, the savings in time is worth it. Sterling
is particularly easy, and I can set a stone in about 20 or 30
seconds. I do use a bezel roller to get the edge right against the
stone, that’s another 15 seconds…

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
1505 S.Pearl St.
Denver, Co