I have another bracelet from my friend to repair. This one is sterling and turquoise with one of the stones loose in it’s bezel. Upon closer inspection, the bezel has torn away from the bracelet in one place preventing it from securely holding the stone. Now I am faced with a myriad of possible solutions but I’d like to get some feedback on some of my thoughts for repair.
Remove the old bezel and install a complete new one by either:
A) Remove by heating the bracelet and removing the broken bezel wire then resolder a new bezel wire.
B) Cut away the old bezel wire with the Foredom and a burr and then solder in a new bezel wire.
Add a piece of square wire at the inside base of the existing bezel and resolder the broken bezel wire back to itself with the wire as a reinforcement and support. On the vertical “tear” in the original bezel wire, add a very thin piece of bezel wire to the inside in order to rejoin it securely.
The bracelet is stamped “Yazzie” and I don’t want to screw this one up! Pics follow:
Every one of those parts have been soldered on to this bracelet. That means there is solder everywhere and there are a lot of things that can fall off if the bracelet is overheated. If it were me I’d carefully grind away the old bezel and solder in a new one. I often tell people who have to do something like this that they have to get in touch with their inner dentist. I prefer diamond grinders for this task as they don’t slip as much metal burs.
You can get very inexpensive, lower-quality, diamond bur sets, but this set is my favorite one. I think it’s worth the investment to add to your tool box. Lots of tool companies sell the same set.
Thanks for the speedy reply, Jeff. I was also thinking that the “dentist” route would be the most efficient and safe method of removing the old bezel. The fewer times that I have to heat that bracelet, the better.
I’m guessing that royjohn is correct that the book that you’re talking about is Indian Jewelry Making. There’s two volumes to this book. We have both Volume #1 and #2 at work. What I like so much about these books is that there’s not a huge amount of words, but many concise, descriptive pictures. For instance, Volume 2 has a series of photographs that without much text, shows pretty much everything that you know how to make a hand-forged fork and a spoon from recycled silver ingots.
I was shocked when I just looked these books up on Amazon, one vendor has Volume 1 for $451.40! There’s other places on Amazon where Volume 1 is about $30-$60. Now that is a big price difference!
Yes, thriftbooks is often (always?) free shipping and discoverbooks.com is also free shipping. The Branson book comes as two separate volumes and is also sold as a combined set. Check the ISBN and description carefully. I also like W. Ben Hunt’s Indian Silver-smithing, which covers most of the same stuff that Branson does, but has all the illustrations in black and white. They are very well done and the detail is a little better than in Branson’s photographs. Looking just now, Hunt’s book is about $10-$18 on Amazon, used. There is a new edition dated this year, but it is merely a reproduction of the original for $20 to $26. You can also borrow Hunt’s book on line from openlibrary.org, if you are registered there. -royjohn
If you’re not in a rush to purchase a book you can always set an alert or follow on eBay. When an item matching your search criteria is listed you’ll receive an email. I’ve gotten some fantastic bargains that way. I found Fred Ball’s Experimental Techniques in Enameling, currently $153+ for $30 with free shipping.
There are also metalsmithing tools/destashing groups on FB.
I’m building a fume extractor for casting burnouts, likely a Neil’s Folly story in the making, stay tuned, and ordered a number of parts on Amazon. Needing a few other things I went to the local building supply and found most of the items I had ordered on Amazon at half the price or less. Live & learn.
My apologies for misnaming the title of the book; it is “Indian Jewelry Making” by Oscar T. Branson. I bought mine at Starr Gems in Tucson, AZ and the owner of Starr Gems has a piece he made included in the book.
An interesting side note is the picture of the man using the “whisker puller”, page 66, was the second choice as a photographic model. It seems that the on day of the studio shoot, the intended model was a no-show. So the author drove around Tucson and found a man drunk and asleep against a bus stop. He woke the man and asked if he wanted to make a quick $20.00. He then took him to his home, cleaned him up and put him into some better clothes. Then they went back to the studio and the picture is as shown (note the color of the poor guy’s eyes!).
That is a repair nightmare. If you are full on committed to it then either new bezel, crazy terrible extra easy solder or …take it to a friend with a laser because all that stuff is either medium or easy soldered.
OK, I bit the bullet and ground off the old bezel. Then replaced the bezel using extra easy solder and screwed it up. I then attempted to patch in some bezel wire where the new one had melted. After failing miserably at this attempt, I unsoldered my replacement bezel and made another new one. This one went on fine and I got the solder to flow all the way around it was originally.
Pickled bath and polish, then re-blacking the entire bracelet background portion and here is the result: