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Preventing scratches while setting stones

Hello all: I have been reading the tips about preventing scatches.
Please correct me if I have misunderstood. Most seem to involve
protecting the surface of the piece by means of creating a mask (out
of chamois, cardboard, etc.) with a hole in it, cut to the size of
the bezel. The bezel would project upward from this mask, allowing
one to do the setting and burnishing. This would protect the surface
to which the bezel is soldered, but not the bezel itself. This is
more or less what I’ve been doing so far, with thin cardboard. Is
this what is being suggested? I have assumed that there is no way to
protect the BEZEL itself from scratches; not and still have full
contact of tool to bezel to be able to do the work. Whenever I have
tried to shield the bezel, I either wear off whatever I have applied,
like masking tape, or, with anything heavier, make it impossible to
work the bezel at all. I think the original poster of the query
wanted to know how to protect the bezel. I have tried re-reading the
responses to see if they can be read as being able to protect the
bezel, but I don’t see it, except for the plastic pushers. IS there a
way of protecting the bezel? I’d sure like to save myself some work.
I bought a jar of that new dipping rubber stuff for the working
surface of my pliers (haven’t tried it yet), but assumed it would rub
right off a burnisher with the kind of pressure applied. Thanks Lin Lahlum

being as your response to this query is the first I’ve read, forgive
me if I am repeating When using a burnisher to bring a
bezel over a stone use a burnisher of good-quality steeland give it a
nice mirror polish before using it, and keep it maintained. If poorer
quality steel burnishers are used, a high polish on the burnisher is
not achievable because of the micro-sized pores in the metal. better
metal better polish fewer marks on your piece.

good luck!
"And the sun was shining"
Jason Sartor

This tip is a bit yucky!

I was taught - and I still do this - to give the stone, the setting
and the burnisher a really good lick before I started to set. Saliva
provides lubrication but it’s not “sticky.”

Likewise “nose oil” (photographers do this to reduce scratches on a
b & w negative.) Rub the side of your nose with a finger and use the
slight grease to lubricate things. I was taught to fit a tight hinge
this way.

The advantage? It’s all biodegradable!

Sorry if I grossed you all out.

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone

Hello Lin,

Preventing those scratches is nigh on impossible, or so my teacher
told me when I took my first stone setting class last year.One can
make the scratches less noticeable by making sure ones bezel pusher
is highly polished, using highly polished bezel tapping tools(my
words not hers I have forgotten the correct name) and going SLOW.
There are also some polishing wheels that are kind to stones and
work for cleaning up light scratches Sho-fu or shofo wheels. Frei
and Borel is the distributor. So from one newbie to another I hope
this helps.

Irene White

Irene, I must disagree w/ your teacher. No matter what happens, as
you said, some marring will occur on the bezel. But highly polished
tools are prone to slipping and I’d much rather deal w/ a few extra
nicks in my bezel than have to deal w/ a trench plowed into my stone.
In fact, I tell my students to rough up the faces of their pushers.
Punches can be polished since they don’t slip in the same way.

Good luck, Andy Cooperman

Hi Folks, Sho-fu wheels and points have been used in dentistry for
decades. Any Dental Supplier will have them in stock and they will
probably be cheaper.


Hi all, A friend of mine gave me a piece of “Tuff Brake” (sp?) which
is a rubbery material about as thick as 24 ga. metal. I punch a
hole in it the size of my bezel and it protects the surface of my
work while I set stones. I believe it is distributed by Fred Woehl.
It’s great for lots of things. - Deb Karash

Yes, Tuff Brake can be purchased from J. Fred Woell. Its also useful
to cover surfaces (like anvils, etc.) to protect polished jewelry
surfaces when working on them (forging,etc.) Check with Fred for all
its uses! He also has a wonderful personal book out on techniques
and teaching, etc. Linda Kaye-Moses