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Setting issues


If I may ask of the stone-setters this little trivial thing…In all
these years I haven’t really figured out. How to drill a true strait
hole for a setting? Or / and the sit for the…lets say Diamond?
[without a drill-press] when I can only see the drill from one
direction… In time my hands had learned, so I can drill a
[almost] strait sit just out of feeling what I cannot see, and then
I need to inspect it under the scope, and perhaps correct. But
there must be a simple Right way of doing that, perhaps its a
basic technique one learns at beginners setting course… Yet I
never studied , neither did I met a stone setter that could show me
stuff. So although I can set any stone by now, I do have all these
Gaps where I simply haven’t figured out the better way to go I may
take many hours to hammer an Opal in a thick setting, until she
would become one with the gold. {comes out wonderful, but takes
ages] Last month I was in Israel for a family visit. Shopping
tools I was again disappointed not to find any of the 'stone-setting
burs, the cylinder with the 90 degree cone I use for Diamonds. I
was told that setters don’t use these burs, but the 60 degree cone
with the sharp edges. It is beyond me to understand how do they cut
a strait and well fitting sit with those burs? but it is apparently
the correct way… If anyone wishes to explain would be lovely. I do
have many more Gaps to catch up, another time… Love & Light
and lots of beautiful little things for us to create. thanks

[Pune, India]


Drilling a straight hole in metal is not a trivial thing to do. I
have found that if you drill a small distance, lift out the drill,
rotate the workpeice about 1/3 of the way around, drill a bit more
and keep doing this you will get a good hole. All kinds of setting
burrs are useful, which one(s) to use will be determined by the type
and style of setting you are doing. John


Dear Akash,

The way I learned to drill was totally by hand. We took a ring clamp
and drilled the start of a 1/4th inch hole about an inch from the top
on four sides. These partial holes were positioned on the end of the
bench pin for stability. You hold the ring clamp against the bench
pin with the hole in the ring clamp pressed onto the end of the bench
pin. You can rotate the ring clamp a quarter turn and still maintain
the same position that way. the clamp won’t slip with the right
position either. Many setters use an engravers block for the same
purpose. The shop I was in was too cheap for that. To drill a
straight hole, we would drill, stop and turn the ring clamp and drill
again. This would be done three or four times maybe even more until
the hole was through. Straight enough for me. The starting point is
always important too. As for burs, You really can cut the seat or
notch in a prong with many different burs. You are trying to match
the side profile of the stone. A notch in a prong for a diamond is
different than a notch in the prong for an acorn cut ruby. As for
plate setting we teach with either a ball bur or a setting bur,
depending on what we have. If setting were an exact task, a machine
would do it.

Best Regards,

Todd Hawkinson
T.R.the Teacher


Yes Of course… silly me, simply rotating the engravers-block.
thanks allot. About the different burs for cutting sits… What I
meant to ask was just about Diamond sits, why would they [In Israel]
use a 60-degree bur instead of a 90-degree one? I mean…Diamonds are
90-degree…at least in India…Or am I missing something here…
again ? cheers.

[Pune, India]