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Set of Burs


#1

Hi

I am putting together an order to set up my studio, but I am a
little confused as to what burs I should get to start out with.

I would like to try tube setting right of. Later, I want to try
flush setting. I believe the bur I need would be bud bur or a ball
bur, but what others come in handy for a beginner?

Thanks for any advice
Kim


#2

Kim

If you are to attempt to set stones in “Tube Settings”, may I
suggest ONE basic bur for you to use. It is called by many names such
as a “156C”, “undercutting-bur” or a “bearing-cutter”. These burs are
very important in Flush/Gypsy setting too! BTW, have a happy New
Year…

Gerry!


#3

Sooner or later you need them all. Or at least WANT them all. But you
don’t need to buy complete sets to start. Really, are you going to
set 90 sizes of stones in the next month?

I suggest you buy burs as needed to suit the project of the moment.
Gonna set a 6mm round? get three burs, covering both sides of the
ideal size…5.8, 6, 6.2 (or whatever). Sometimes you just have to
use the size that doesn’t seem to make sense. So maybe pick a size
range of stones you will experiment with, buy different styles of
burs within that range. Build from there.

You might feel tempted to try some type of rigid jig to hold things
in alignment. I did at first, Mr Machinist, ha. I’ve found that you
need the ‘give’ of soft holding (fingers) so burs don’t chatter.
Chatter can totally ruin your piece.


#4
I believe the bur I need would be bud bur or a ball bur, but what
others come in handy for a beginner? 

Kimberly, there’s a few replies on this, but they seem a little too
specific for me and maybe you. The #1 bur that you will need and use
for the widest variety of work is the ball bur - I call them round,
but ball is proper. I have a high speed steel set that goes up to
about 15mm, but I also have more for everyday. I don’t like "setting"
burs, but many do. I use hart burs, but then I only set
occassionally, I’m not a true diamond setter. I also grind the point
off of a hart bur and use them for all sorts of things. I use cone
squares a LOT, usually single cut, and also inverted cones. Those two
are basically miniature rotary files. And you might think about a
real rotary file sometime, too. Real handy. But the workhorse at the
bench will be the the ball bur. The rest of the burs - flame, wheel,
knife, etc. are mostly special purpose, or people use them and just
get a liking for them for their work. If you’re going to set, get
some cup burs, too, ISO 010 or 012 for melee, maybe 018 or 021 for
centers. They are expensive, don’t get them if you don’t need them,
and use lubricant always. I would echo someone else’s advise, too.
Don’t go out and spend $1000 on burs. You buy a pack, decide you need
a bigger size, buy those, and gradually you get a collection of what
YOU feel you need. Again, if you’re typical, the ball bur is going to
be your everyday bur - very versatile.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#5

Ball burs can do almost everything.

Start simple and expand as you get used to the medium. By that, I
mean when you are working away at the surface and you see you need
to cut a line, then you might imagine the lines and angles of a burr
that would do the job. The good thing is that you’re not alone
because thousands more have thought the same things and there is so
many good burrs you can use.

My advice is to actually buy the calibrated sets that come in a
plastic dome and buy a rotunda - that spins. You pass your old burrs
to the rotunda, but leave the good ones in the plastic dome. The
rotunda(s), can be full of practical burrs that you don’t often use.
They can rust but they are for specialised jobs that you reach after
grinding with a round burr. I also keep old round burrs, because
they are still useful for gold and for exact sizes in between
calibrated sizes.

Phillip S


#6
The #1 bur that you will need and use for the widest variety of
work is the ball bur 

Why is the ball bur so valuable? I have had a set for years and
rarely touch them.

Dale Pavatte
Diamonds For You
Decherd, TN


#7

Hi John

I call them round, but ball is proper. I have a high speed steel
set that goes up to about 15mm, but I also have more for everyday. 

Thank you and thank everyone for the comments on burs. My first
tendency is to over-buy. I had to back up and think about what I want
to do. I have decided that a set of round burs would be good for a
starting point as the first thing I would like to do is try some tube
setting. Everything looks so nice and fancy in the catalog…it
would be so easy to get a lot of things I don’t need! I went from a
200 dollar set of burs to about 30 dollars worth of round burs.

Thanks so much
Kim


#8
Why is the ball bur so valuable? 

Marking holes where a center punch won’t do. Reaming, Deburring.
Hollowing the insides of a ring. Roughing out channel settings.
Making the dish shapes under diamond settings. Opening up holes and
settings to calibrated sizes before setting. Texturing. Removing
large
areas of wax. Lowering the background in carving. Solder removal. Can
be used as a saw in a blind space (where a sawblade won’t get
through), though I’d use a cone-square. To lay out calibrated stones,
I mark it generally, and then get ball burs - large, medium, small,
smallest. That’s all that comes to mind - I could come up with more
if I thought about it. General grinding of all kinds. They cut in
every direction, don’t leave edge marks like a straight bur will, are
aggressive and fast. I’ll use a ball bur to punch out a square-ish
hole as far as I can, and then just used edged burs or files to
detail. Think “Router Bit”. Use the biggest one you can, but not too
big, of course, to avoid “trail” marks. As in, for solder removal
I’ll use a 10mm burr, not 2mm. Also, to cut a channel, use a bur
thats like 1/2 the width just to lower the center, then push the
lines back to finish.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#9

Hi Dale,

Why is the ball bur so valuable? I have had a set for years and
rarely touch them. 

I was taught to use a ball burr first before going onto whatever
shape you finally need as a sort of " roughing out" process mainly
because ball burrs are cheaper than the other shapes, and also
because it seems to be a bit faster to remove the bulk of the metal
first. Others might have lots more reasons,

cheers. Christine in Sth Australia


#10
I have decided that a set of round burs would be good for a
starting point as the first thing I would like to do is try some
tube setting. 

I’m gonna do ahead and show my ignorance here…

I don’t see why it would make any sense to try to do a tube setting
with a ball bur. You need a bearing for the girdle of the stone, not
a semi-spherical indentation it can slide around in. I use setting
burs, which are designed for the job. They work great! I also use
them for flush setting, along with hart burs to do a little
undercut. The only time I use a ball bur for setting is when I’m
setting a stone with a bulging belly, such as some tiny, inexpensive
sapphires I have. I should add, I’m not all that expert at setting,
though I did go take a week-long workshop from Blaine Lewis.

So what am I missing here? Cuz I gotta say, on the surface this idea
of doing everything with a ball bur strikes me as a form of
machismo, like “I’m so good, I don’t even need the right tool for
the job-- I can do engraving with a butter knife!”

Noel


#11
So what am I missing here? Cuz I gotta say, on the surface this
idea of doing everything with a ball bur 

Noel, you’re not showing ignorance, you’re showing intelligence. I
don’t know where you got the idea of using ball burs for everything -
I hope it wasn’t me. I said that they are the workhorse, but that
doesn’t mean to use them for everything. For a tube setting they are
good for opening up the basic opening to size, but yes, you need to
cut a bearing with something else. But if the stone has a really fat
girdle that just might be a small ball bur. They’re also good for
digging in where the points of marquis, pears and square stones go.
And they’re faster and better than a hart for relieving where a fat
pavilion needs some clearance. They’re just really, really useful,
and
as someone else said, fast and cheap.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#12
I don't see why it would make any sense to try to do a tube
setting with a ball bur.

I believe John was talking about using ball burrs for general metal
work, not for stone setting. For a tube setting, after I burr with
the correct size hart (156c) burr, if I need to thin the inside wall
of a 14 kt tube setting, I use a diamond ball burr (metal if I don’t
have a diamond burr the right size), I ride the burr on the stone
seat very carefully to not cut down, and gently carve into the wall
leaving the top inside edge of the wall untouched. If you do this,
you have to be very careful to be gentle, and not take away much
material, and when you polish you have to be careful to not take
material away on the outside or you expose the girdle of the stone.

This makes it easy to use 14 kt white or yellow gold tube settings. I
can usually use a bezel roller, I modified one and make a grove
length wise across the face of the roller, centered. This can be used
for bezels for cabs or faceted gems.

Richard Hart


#13
So what am I missing here? Cuz I gotta say, on the surface this
idea of doing everything with a ball bur strikes me as a form of
machismo, like "I'm so good, I don't even need the right tool for
the job-- I can do engraving with a butter knife!" 

Noel, I gave up on setting burrs for small stones. With a ball bur
the hole for me is usually a better round shape. If you go past the
halfway mark the edge above is straight - same as setting burrs -
the hole underneath is taken care of with a twist drill. Like you I
wonder how other people might see it differently. For bezel set
stones the setting burs are great. You’re right that if you need to
reem out an area then a ball bur won’t work.

I can’t see how you could want to do tube setting with anything
other then a ball bur? If I need to accomodate an odd shaped girdle
I will work at the larger areas and keep dropping in the stone
untill it fits and a ball burr is rarely the best tool for that -
for me. I use inverted cones if I need to slot a part of a stone in,
but settings burrs are the best tool to recreate the pavillion
angle.

Phillip


#14

Ball burrs are easy to use because they will do the same job no
matter what angle you are coming from. You shouldn’t use them in
some cases (eg. claw setting), but some do. To me they are
predominately a finishing tool.

The first drill is the typical twist drill. If you want to chew
through metal fast then use a large twist drill, instead of a burr
IMO. Add to this, ball burrs are useless if there is no hole
underneath. They don’t drill holes. You need the correct sized hole
underneath first, perhaps smaller if you need to use two runs.

There are about 5 other shapes I usually use. They go in and out of
favor depending on millions of things. Some are get-out-of-trouble
shapes and some help for finishing or preparation, some take
patience.

If the burr matches the shape you need, then learn how to use it.
Rough it out first with what works for you (hopefully it is about
right before you reach that stage). The closer you’ve roughed out
the area to meet the final shape, the quicker you get the job done.
Using files is the easiest way to control the angles and saw blades
are the best tool to take out large areas.

Faster still is to cut everything correctly while you are preparing
the parts and plan accordingly.

Most importantly, use sharp bits, lubricate them and try to stop
them corroding.

Phillip