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Setting stainless steel

Hello all,

I may have a customer wanting a watch to be diamond set.

He is looking at a few rows of 0.05mm diamonds - micropave’

I have no trouble setting this in platinum but I have never
attempted to set steel.

I’ve seen a few good videos and they appear to be using the same
tools as I do.

I haven’t done a test piece as yet. I thought I would ask for advice
here, while I wait.

I would be using a GraverMach and microscope. My gravers are steel.
My drills and most of my burrs are steel too.

As I have never set into stainless steel before I wonder if anyone
would have some handy tips for me.


Hi Phil,

For stainless watches you’re probably dealing with 316 stainless
which is very hard. I hope you have cobalt gravers to raise your
beads and some beading tools that you can use later as small gravers
when you’re done, as stainless that’s not in the 300 series will
make you think twice about doing anymore work in the future.

Hi phil

it has been my experience that stainless steel regardless of what it
is made up of is a treat to engrave. if you are using HHS gravers
change your face angle to 48 degrees and keep the foot at 15
degrees. i use a square graver for stainless bit i do know craftsmen
that use an elongette

keep them sharp and lubricated. dont try to make record breaking
chip curls.

you can harden your beading tools before using them to turn beads
but with small amount of material you are turning over you dont
really need to worry about it just make sure you have a spare handy
in case you crack it.

most watch cases have not been hardened so the gravers will cut it
well and you might even find that you get a nicer result with you
experience that you ever do with precious metals.



I have flush set in stainless steel and it is not for the faint of
heart. When you drill it the outer surface is extremely hard but once
through that it goes like butter. The problem arises is that stainless
steel doesn’t burnish well at all and pushing that over flush set
conventional methods is next to impossible. I ended up using a
reciprocating hammer to get it done and many hours of clean up. So my
experience with it was not so good. I don’t really have an answer
for you, but just to share that experience.