Setters & Engravers Fixturing Compounds

I am looking for a show of hands as to the best fixturing compound
for stonesetting & hand engraving. I have tried setters cement,
orange flake shellac, & pitch. I am now experimenting with the newest
on the market, Jett Sett & Thermo-Loc. I would like to hear from the
rest of you, about your personal test results.

Gary L. Mills
Pineforest Jewelry, Inc / PFJ, Inc

Good old basic “Flake Shellac”! anytime…Gerry!..:>)

Vigor brand heat shield is great- reusable to some extent,if just for
holding things in place while setting. Soldering clay is essentially
investment but has refractory advantages if you’re going to be
applying heat to the fixed piece Siliquar containing heat shield (now
i think it is called “place-it”) works most excellently too.

For repetitive production work Impressionite is a cut above the
regular jett-sett and my personal preference for large or odd pieces
as well as repetitions of a process.One just has to put it on
slightly more heavily than is recommended. A close 2ed to
Impressionite is the softer form of jett-sett. There is a surplus co., that sells a similar thermoplastic to regular jett
sett but is black when dry and turns to grey when softened and is a
fraction of the cost of jett-sett basic…

I still like messy gloppy pitch and plaster though if i really want
something held tight and another project is in one of the benchmate
holders…and the piece requires the use of gravers (in which case i
put blue painters tape over the stone if it has been set,or is at
least temporarily set)

The thing about jett-sett that is nice is its multitudinous uses
beyond the studio,however…the white colour can throw a lot of glare
on a piece-for my eyes at any rate. Comparatively, the vigor heat
shield or siliquar pastes are essentially dedicated to only one use.
so i have a collection of consumables from orange flake shellac, to
pine pitch gathered off of very old pines, to pre-prepared burgundy
pitch, black pitch from the feed store, to jett-sett, siliquar,vigor
heat shield, and Alvin brand heat block from the welding supply
house (equivalent of siliquar containing ‘place-it’ at a fraction of
the cost)…

So I say it depends on what you are doing with the workpiece that
dictates the fixturing compound,and/or heat shielding properties
necessary s to which product I choose for a given operation.There is
no absolute!


Thermo-loc is that grey stuff you put in the microwave, right? If
that’s it, it is magical! I wouldn’t even try using anything else.

Greetings Orchid,

I have tried everything and have not yet found a good workable
improvement on what we used to call lapidary cement (was 2.00 back
then and we complained) now referred to as setters cement.

Karl Linger

Gary - I like orange flake shellac for dimensional engraving and
carving. I use an engraving ball with regular steel and rubber
fixtures for simple holding for two dimensional engraving. Jett Sett
is my choice for heavy bezel setting.

Judy Hoch

So I say it depends on what you are doing with the workpiece that
dictates the fixturing compound,and/or heat shielding properties
necessary to which product I choose for a given operation.There is
no absolute!" 

I agree with Mr. Rourke in that it depends on the work at hand. One
of the methods I use hasn’t been brought up and that is dop wax. It’s
cheap and easy to work with. You can melt it onto the end of a large
round dowel. It’s also easy to melt it onto a rectangular pieces of
wood and mount this in a Benchmate ring stick. When finished you can
clean it off the object by chipping away the larger pieces and
steaming the rest away. Sometimes this leaves a slight film on the
object and needs just a moment in some acetone. This method doesn’t
work well if you’re using a GraverMax. The pneumatic nature of the
tool breaks the jewelry out of the brittle wax. So as Mr. Rourke
pointed out it’s necessary to have as many techniques in your tool
chest as possible. That way when one doesn’t work you have another
method available.

James S. Cantrell

One of the methods I use hasn't been brought up and that is dop
wax. It's cheap and easy to work with. 

Absolutely Great advice. I can’t believe i forgot it…I 've even
used sealing wax blocks too ( 4"x6-8") - forgot about those as
well!..much cheaper than the sealing wax sticks one purchases at
stationers and as hard as green dop wax sticks…a quick pass of the
torch and press your workpiece into it, otr melt into a wood frame
and hold in a drill press vise, benchmate, or use hold down clamps
-even C-clamps on the bench top to stabilize…

thanks james for your and a mental refreshening!..
age…what can I say!