My training was old school and sizing up you always dovetailed. The ends of the shank you file into a V-like point, the piece you’re putting in gets a corresponding V-groove, done with a saw cut and a square file held in parallel pliers. The piece had to fit in there super snug, no gaps. You should theoretically be able to drop it and the piece would stay in before soldering. So that’s how I sized thousands of rings up for years and years.
Then I opened my own shop in 1988. I hired many goldsmiths over the years, some experienced, some I trained. I hired based on ability and potential. So some were right out of high school and some had fine arts degrees, some had worked in shops and some had been on their own doing shows.
With this varied group of talented and independently minded people I at first insisted that they all dove tail sizing ups. But over time I began to value their individual approaches to the various tasks, including sizing. I started saying, if you’re having problems or are unsure then do it my way…but if you’re method gives excellent results in the same amount of time, we can try your way.
What happened was that they all began doing butt joints when sizing up, I think mostly because it was easier. We had absolutely no additional problems with bad seams or cracks. In fact we had fewer pits because there was sometimes a pit at the point of the V of the dovetail, almost like an air bubble. The argument was that a dovetail joint is logically a much stronger joint, but in practice a well soldered butt joint held up just as well… and we did tons of sizings, about 15,000 a year. That was surprising to me, that the dovetail was not superior.
All of the sizings were soldered except for platinum which was fused, I guess we did occasionally fuse gold for color match reasons. Then in the mid 90’s I bought a laser welder, so at that time welded seams became more common, but gold was and is still primarily soldered when sizing. Mark