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Questions on setting?

as someone just said to me, graver sharpening is very difficult to
learn, if you folks are a bit testy about graver sharpening, relax,
it took me months of Sundays to learn and years to perfect, then to
acquaint myself to all kinds of graver shapes…don’t give up,
“shaping” is one heck of an upward battle… and as well another
Orchidian said that they have many questions on diamond setting.
…to show you what I mean >>>>

in my first class with my new batch of 22 students. I was getting a
tad disgruntled…no one asked ANY questions on anything, the second
night a few hands were raised…now its every minute of the 4 hour
evening session someone has a question…so the moral of the story
is…the more you know, the more you want to know and…ad
infinituum! when I show these intelligent students a new topic/demo
…its from a duh?.. to… “shock *n awe” (sorry for the phrase from
your Prez.) then the flood gates opened up…did I say lapse of

In April, the setting-demonstration will last for a full 1/2 day and
two sessions of Q-A’s. if anyone wishes to attend, you might just
learn something. dunno what, but we will have tunz of fun learning.
I make lots of jokes and kibbutz wildly, but its MY METHOD of
teaching and those who are at ease learn better! diamond setting is
one of the hardest disciplines in jewellery to learn, to execute.
What’s more you just cannot learn this in a book, it is virtually a
"hands-on" and a “show-me” experience…

have one gentleman who is 64 years old and is setting CZ’s in
Sterling Silver for the very first time, he nearly quit the course,
but after listening to me, he kept on and succeeded in finishing his
setting project…if he can do it…you folks can…sorry for my wordy-rambling


Gerry, got a question, two actually. First, what am I doing wrong
that causes the burr to dig in and spin around the prong, causing
much bad language and occasional repronging. Second, how do I
prevent this from happening. This occurs when I use the 90 degree
bearing burs and the 45 degree hart burs.

I get great pleasure out of doing a neat and careful job of setting
but this problem happens just often enough that I get to thinking
that I ought to take up something easier like brain surgery or organ


Hey-Ger! Mostly we’re worried about the instructor running out of
steam, becoming exhausted and giving up on us. It must be awfully
frustrating having to beat the simplest concept to death over and
over. For most of us: setting stones is <'er, was> a totally unknown
area. Let’s face it, there’s precious little in print about the
subject: most books are only available through to-the-trade outlets.
And many of us seem to be coming from many other disciplines. The
tools you make are a work of art, and as such, we mostly feel a
little frustration at not being able to reproduce them. Think of the
foal stumbling weakly in his paddock looking up at the racing-fit
racehorse across the way. He’s thinking: Will I ever be like him? So
don’t give up on us:perhaps one day, although we won’t be setting
stones for the likes of any basketball players like you are, we
might be able to save our behinds with a few simple skills you’ve
taught us!

Bill, et all! Not what are you doing wrong… lets re-phrase that!
what are you doing right? you are on Orchid.okay? now for the problem
solving…surprise!.this still happens to me…:>)

Try and maintain a closeness to the rotating bur with your
finger-tips, do not let the cutting bur be too exposed while in the
chuck…hold the chuck very tightly as this new cutting bur has still
very sharp teeth and if you are speeding up the bur…( you mustn’t be
doing this)…this WILL ALWAYS HAPPEN !..ever…so…slowly…execute a
direct and intentional cut into the claw in question. Do not for now,
cut into the claw that is nearest to you…aha! (one solution) cut
the claw that is farthest away from you, another… aha!

Once that this new claw has been used a few times this problem won’t
happen WHY? glad you asked! the teeth will be slowly be wearing down
and the sharp crispness of the teeth will never grind around the claw
and to cause you to utter such ‘pearls of wisdom’ and use "flowerful
language! " Got another idea, ever tried using a bud bur? I mean a
simple #005 or #006 size, with a SQU number of #6 in Busch burs…I
always use them in preparing an indentation for the main purpose of a
seat-cut for the next step of using the #156C (under-cutting) bur?

I will then, and only then, use the #156C for the sole use as a
"pavillion" shaping cut. It isn’t a “Kosher”/legal idea…:>) but it
will prevent re-tipping and subsequent you using gutter
language…shame! place the stone in the claw and IF YOU WISH,
administer a 156C cut into the claw for an exact fitting for the
stone at the location of the girdle! how’s this for an early teaching
lesson on early Saturday morning @7:30 a.m. ???

If you are having any further problems @Gerald …the doctor is
always ‘in’…:>)

Gerry, the Cyber-Setter !

woops! Bill didn’t read all of your letter, try and use a 90o angled
bur. This bur should be similar in design to a diamond. The 45o
angled thingee is TOO SHALLOW in overall “pavillion” shape. I bought
some once and gave them back to the supplier! and this ain’t brain
surgery to set diamonds, just seems that way…:>)…Gerry! (again!)

Gerry. Thanks for the help. I had started using a bud bur to make a
starting point. It helped a lot. The mark is much easier to line up
on than a scribe mark on the prong. I also do this when there is a
very thick girdle to deal with. I have always used the 90 degree
burs, I think I gave the wrong angle. I want to try the 70 degree
burs soon, for the appropriate stone of course.

The 156 C burr that you refer to as an “under cutting” burr shows as
the 90 degree Hart burr in the Stuller catalog. Is this the same
thing? This is the bur I use.

Why start on the prong away from you? Is this about leverage,
rotation, and visibility? From you comments, I have definitely had
the bur set too far out in the chuck. I do use the key type chuck.
The larger body is easier to hold than the collect type.


Helloooo, There was a question recently regarding a setting bur
catching prongs and some mention of *#@^#""". I know exactly what
you mean!!! It seems Gerry gave you a tip on this and I thought I
might chime in, or butt in , or well you know I when using a setting
bur ( I usually don’t ) will somtimes use the bur on the prong
closest to me . This tends to give me a bit more control I also
find the comfortabe speed for cutting @ that gauge , Gerry is on the
$ when he suggest you not change speed while cutting . But I must
say that I just don’t like them! ( setting burs ) I know, I know
setters everywhere use them and I guess with good results but other
then solid heavy style heads I just don’t trust them for Plat wire
style settings ( Three stones and things like that ) I like to score
the wire ( prong ) with a light saw blade ( lightly ) and then use a
bearing cutter or somtimes a setting bur ( ugh) held at an angle to
create the seat for the pavillion but if I can , I use a small
escapment file to score the prong to my saw cut and then plane the
prong above the cut with the same style file or somtimes a sanding
wheel and then I can creat the angle I want to match the pavillion
well and then clean up… I like to use a hard felt lap ( with
triangles cut out so I can see -ala- little split lap) to polish the
prongs before I seat the stone I also like to ( diamonds only) use a
inverted cone to trime the prong back ( I don’t usually care for cup
burs either) ( This requires good control or you will be #%$^**#@
again )and then dress for polishing.I hope this might be helpful .
Seee lots of setting info on Orchid! Peace Karl

hi Bill! and everyone who is still awake, been typing for 3 hours
now! zzz’s get used to the bud bur, it’ll make you life so much
easier, I use dozens of mini buds each season, don’t worry about the
cost, the savings in not mending the claws is far the saving for you range is “005-009 inclusive” depending of the girdles’
thickness. as for the claw away from you…its mainly for a clearer
chance to see what you are doing, how can you see something if the
claw is in the blind spot??? I always attempt to drill at any claw
that is totally visible or not obscured by other claws. “Hart” shaped
burs and generally called H.S. drills or high speed drills or again
hart shaped, I use the bottom of this bur as a file, against the claw
UNDER the bearing cut. this method of mine actually makes a seat for
the pavillion of the stone, being set…:>) try this method, you can
now make a claw configured just for that stone. amazing,eh? 156C is
what I use, DO NOT subscribe to use a shallow framed bur. you will
find that that bur will CUT into the claw too far for you…:>( KEEP
THE BUR CLOSE TO YOUR FINGERS any further being set out, will have
little control for your setting ability. I use two handpieces, the
slip and push! and a Foredom “twist to secure” handle. I once used
those larger handles but with limited flexibility, so they are passe’
for me now, only for historical value, hysterical, maybe.:>) gerry!

The original question by Bill about lack of control while trying to
cut a seat with a burr reminded me of a problem I had with a
computer. It started taking a long time to open a
Everyone I talked to had a different opinion. Virus, network problem

Turned out after much grief and $150 consultant fee and a $80 router,
it needed to be defraged. I did that on my own, after being told to
get a router and new cables. Fortunately I did not get the new

I e-mailed Bill off-line, asked him what series flex shaft he was
using. It is a series “cc”. It has been my personal
experience that you cannot use a burr and have any control with a
series “cc”. You need a series “r” or series “s”. Full torque at all

My point about the computer problem is that sometimes it is
something basic that is over looked as a contributing factor. In my
opinion, there is no way to use a “cc” and have any success. It
is the problem. They are great for drilling, grinding, and sanding.
Not for setting. With a different flex shaft, which burr you use
would be less of an issue as you would have control that you have no
possibility of having with the “cc”.

Richard Hart