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Saw dust and cabs


#1

I was taught in my class to use saw dust to raise cab up to the
right height. Mostly I just file them down but I have a stone I want
in a high bezel for effect. Do the rest of you use saw dust? If not
what do you use? If so does water cause problems of expansion and
just staying damp. I’ll be using this on a ring.

Thanks
Lisa
LL Fowler Designs
Fort Collins, CO 80526


#2

An alternative to filling is to put an inner rim inside the bezel so
that the cab sits on that rather than on the bottom plate. It could
be a full height inner bezel, or just a loop of square wire soldered
in at the desired height. Use a thicker bezel material, in that
case.

HTH
M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA


#3

I use sawdust too. Never had a problem.

Jennifer
Ventura, CA


#4

Lisa, doesn’t sound like a good idea to me (future deterioration,
etc). I was taught to use a plastic coffee can lid and cut a disk to
fit and put it under the stone. No deterioration and sinking in the
future. I’m assuming the cab is a flat bottom, not an uneven one.
There are products to use for an uneven one to level it. I can’t
remember the names right now. Something to do with taxidermy.

V.


#5
I was taught in my class to use saw dust to raise cab up to the
right height. 

He he he…This was the old Native American way to make a cab look
bigger. Then I looked and you are in Colorado, so I guess some still
use this technique, but I am still surprised that anyone would
actually teach you to do this. New trick: buy or cut a cab the
correct size to begin with, and make the bezel the correct size for
the cab. Voila…! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :wink:

Lisa, (On the other hand, the old Native rings that I have repaired
that use this technique have for the most part held up pretty well,
although I do see cracked stones) Topanga, CA USA


#6
I was taught in my class to use saw dust to raise cab up to the
right height. Mostly I just file them down but I have a stone I
want in a high bezel for effect. Do the rest of you use saw dust?
If not what do you use? If so does water cause problems of
expansion and just staying damp. I'll be using this on a ring. 

I would never put something that could swell or rot in a piece of
jewelry-- especially a ring! I make a loop or ring of wire that just
fits into the bezel. I usually whomp it between two steel blocks to
make it lie flat. No need to solder it in. You may have to try more
than one gauge to see how much you want to raise the stone.

Noel


#7

Lisa,

Sawdust will swell when wet and can cause the stone to loosen in
it’s setting. I use plastic lids off of plastic food containers. Cut
the plastic in the shape of the stone you are setting. Multiple
layers will get the stone to the height you need.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://home.covad.net/~rcopeland/


#8

Hi, Lisa -

I’ve stopped using sawdust; it does cause problems when it gets wet.
My favorite “filler” at present, is a piece of a CD. (Like you keep
getting from AOL so you can sign up with them). Just cut to size and
lay underneath the cab. But it doesn’t have the cushioning effect
that sawdust has, of course.

Margaret


#9

Hi Lisa,

Do the rest of you use saw dust? If not what do you use? 

I gave up sawdust after the first time I tried it – too messy and
variable. I usually use plastic cut from food containers. However
plastic will melt with not very much heat so if the ring could be
resized in the future (by someone other than you and with the stone
in place), plastic is not a good idea. I don’t make rings so it’s not
a problem for me.

If the stone doesn’t need cushioning, you can use layers of metal
(copper for an opaque stone and gold/silver for a transparent stone).
I’ve also seen cork recommended, though I haven’t tried it.

Beth


#10

I’ve used sawdust for adjusting the height of stones since forever.
It sure beats the alternative, which is usually toilet paper. Ideally
you want hardwood sawdust, if you get it yourself, and put it through
a colander or large-holed sieve. Or you can buy it. If the stone is
well set, water is not a factor. Very little get in, and then it just
dries out again…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#11

When I was still using cabs, I would wax the back of the cab and
then used some stone dust mixed with super glue. Working quickly I
would mix about the right amount, scoop it into the bezel and push in
the stone and then remove the stone. After a few minutes the stone
dust would set and I would recheck the fit. Dan

Daniel Culver
D.L. Culver Studio
California


#12

Hi Lisa,

I was taught in my class to use saw dust to raise cab up to the
right height

I was taught to use the sawdust not only for the raising of the cab,
but to add a layer of cushioning for any bumps and thumps. I haven’t
had any problems with damp, but others may have other experience.

Best,
Sue/Vancouver


#13

Hello Lisa,

I don’t like to use saw dust under cabs in a ring. Unless you can
seal it so that water doesn’t get to it, the sawdust eventually
decays and the stone becomes loose. I’ve got two of those on my bench
right now to reset. In the olden days, my mentor taught me to use a
bit of wet asbestos fiber to raise and level the stone… this isn’t
the olden days, so we won’t go there.

Here are a couple alternatives:

A. If you have a decent collection of silver filings, use them just
as you would saw dust.

B. Measure how much height you need to add to bring the cab up to the
correct level in the bezel. Make a coil of wire or strip that is the
correct height, and place that inside the bezel to act as a platform.
No need to solder. Adjust the height down by filing the coil or raise
it up, by adding a bit of sheet under the coil.

Once you’re pleased with the platform’s stability and height, set
the stone.

Works for me,

Judy in Kansas, who weeded the garden and found two turtle
hatchlings. Not very cuddly, but absolutely the cutest things. They
were released in a rural, wild area where they will not have to
contend with the pitfalls of urban life.


#14

I was taught by an American Indian to use wet saw dust squeeze the
water out then push the bezel around the stone in time it will dry
out but the stone will stay tight.

Don in Idaho u.s.a.


#15

I know that sand is a popular filler to raise the height of a
shallow cabochon in a deep bezel. Other fillers are cut-up credit
cards and CD’s…I wouldn’t touch 'em. I prefer to use step
bezel wire to accommodate the height of the stone, or to make my own
bezel with an inner bearing or a wire set to the appropriate level.
It’s a bit more labor-intensive, but there’s no danger of the
stuffing shifting or leaking out and causing the stone to rattle
around. Dee


#16

I use sawdust that comes from a cabinet shop belt sander and sift
all the coarser grains out until the sawdust has the consistency of
sifted flour. I use it dry and have never had anyone come back to me
or complain about stones coming loose, which I attribute to the
fineness of the sawdust. I suspect shrinkage of coarse grained wet
sawdust that is commonly found in Indian Jewelry may be the cause of
stones coming loose as I would expect the wet sawdust to shrink when
it dries. That’s my take on it anyways!

Cheers!
Kenton


#17

Rick I have been amazed at the use of sawdust in ring settings and
thought I will write and tell them that I use plastic cut to size.
When low and behold I clicked onto you who has said just what I had
been thinking, thank you I agree.

Sam Trump.


#18

Don’t like saw dust…it decays with time. Don’t like credit cards
(though cutting them up is not a bad idea)… I use the little scrub
pads one can buy at the dollar store. They are not the abrasive 3M
type…just fiberous pads. They have a little give to them, they cut
and shape easily, you can layer them if you wish and they last
forever.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!


#19

Hi M’lou

An alternative to filling is to put an inner rim inside the bezel
so that the cab sits on that rather than on the bottom plate. It
could be a full height inner bezel, or just a loop of square wire
soldered in at the desired height. Use a thicker bezel material, in
that case. 

Why the thicker bezel?

Still learning
Thanks
Kim


#20

As Beth correctly points out, the purpose of the saw dust was not so
much to RAISE the cab as to CUSHION it, but, of course, through
time, moisture will take it’s toll. But it takes a surprisingly LONG
time for it to become loose and sloppy in the setting.

In my store, we made many, many pieces with cabs or cab-type
lapidary materials, some of them more fragile than we would desire
(the stone being fragile, that is). Even some of the standards like
lapis and sugilite, not to mention opal, tend to sometimes crack
when worn because they have inherent and invisible seams of weakness
in them (or they just get whacked too hard!).

What I did was use one of two readily available products, both
available at the auto supply store. One is a heat resistant gasket
material available in sheets of varying thicknesses, used, of
course, to cut out gaskets of the desired shape, generally for
intake or exhaust manifolds where temps are very high for long
periods. Permatex has made this material for many years, gearheads
know all about it. It will resist heat of a few hundred degrees, is
available in different thicknesses, is an excellent cushioning
material and can be cut with scissors. It accepts many adhesives, as
well.

Permatex also makes a liquid gasket/sealer that is flexible and also
provides cushioning at the same time. It is quite viscous and can be
applied in any thickness desired. If you rough up the plate that the
cab usually sits on, this stuff will adhere VERY strongly, and
sticks to the cab as well. We usually applied it to create about a
cushion about 1/8th inch thick and lightly pressed the cab on top.
Bezels/prongs were turned after eight hours when the material was
completely set. We never had a failure of the material and never
suffered a cracked piece.

Wayne Emery