I agree that fitting the bezel directly around the bullet or blade is
the way to go. I’ve set a lot of both types of stones and, in terms
of shaping the bezels, I treat these stones the same as any other
I use a flush-cutter (not a scissor) to get the all-important 90%
angle when cutting the bezel wire, then a flat file to remove the
slight bur that’s been left by the cutter. This way I don’t have to
worry about curling or distortion in the wire and it’s much easier to
visualize the 90% angle.
Setting the bullet or blade is the really tricky part and a good,
tight-fitting bezel is essential; you don’t want to have to push any
more metal than absolutely necessary. First, I do recommend using
epoxy, especially with bullets which are straight-sided and do not
taper. No matter how well you push in and burnish the metal, there’s
just no taper to hold the stone. Also, before gluing, rough up the
bottom and edges of the stone with, for instance, a diamond grinding
bur on the flex shaft; this will create a toothier surface for the
epoxy to grip. (Sorry, all you wonderful stone cutters out there who
do such a beautiful job of high polishing the backs of your stones;
there are certainly many times when it’s desirable, but this isn’t one
Another advantage to gluing first is that you can get the bullet
perfectly straight before you start pushing the metal. In fact, if
the bezel fits tightly, you’ll hardly have to push any metal at all,
other than burnishing the top edges of the bezel.
Blades can be tougher because the taper makes it difficult to push
the metal in, especially at the corners, and they’re hard to hold onto
while you’re doing the pushing. For those reasons, I again recommend
epoxy, not for keeping the stone from falling out (the bezel should do
that), but for holding the stone straight and steady while you set it.
Incidentally, be sure to use a very thin coat of epoxy and just on
the base of the stone; otherwise the epoxy will squeeze up around the
sides of the stone and create an obstruction between metal and stone
that you won’t be able to close.