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Shellacing a Bracelet


what methods are you using to shellac bracelets that need to be
hammer set? I am currently using a wooden wheel with shellac on it
and then I attach it to my benchmate. I am getting all lot of bounce
does anybody have a better suggestion for a more solid hammering
surface? also has anybody tried the new gray colored holding
compound from GRS?



Dear all on Orchid,

May I now wish you all a Joyful Christmas and have a Happy
Channukah. Below was my reply to Mathew, maybe this letter will help
someone else who has the same problem. One little addition, is that
after using shellac, you have to make time for the cleaning process.
But with this metal clamp, there is none of this. Gerry!


Don’t use shellac. You won’t have any “hammer” support whatsoever.
Shellac will break apart after a few hitting periods. You gotta use
a hand held (if possible) a metal bracelet, clamping device. Metal is
much more secure than shellac. This simple contraption looks like a
bagel, or a doughnut. The two sides clamp together and are screwed
tight with the aid of an hexagon adjusting key. The cost of this
system is about $35.00 but so well worth the buying, you will have
many years of use out of itjust looking at a local tool supplier
catalogue, they are called a “Bracelet Holder”. “Grey Cement” or any
other holding wax system will not help you here at all!!!. Why? The
hammering pressure is absorbed into the wax cement and is not
transferred to the gold directly. Hope that this has helped you in
your future settings on tennis braceletshave a great Christmas

Gerry Lewy! a.k.a. “Gerry, the Cyber-Setter!”

i see your name up at Orchid. i have that bracelet holder. what do
you rest it on when you hammer with it? i was having trouble
getting it to work. 

Its right now only 1:30 A.M. and before I get to sleep, I’ll try and
answer you. When you are getting the stones in, try at first to set
them “almost” tight. It is only here that I always rest it AGAINST or
on the left side of the bench-pin. This way you are taking the weight
off of your holding hand. Let it rest in the palm of your hand and
then with your right hand allow the hammer to do its pounding GENTLY.
While it is in your fingers/palm of your left hand, allow also some
of your finger-tips to hold the stone securely. Its almost like doing
three things at once. DO NOT HAMMER AT THE FULL STRENGTH at first.
This will not be a pleasant experience, diamonds will bounce around
and jump out!..:>( Remember the hammer anvil must not glide over and
hit the stone.

Once the stones are secure and not from moving. Increase the
pressure of the hammer and THEN fold over the metal with a second
application with the hammer. How’s this? I gradually increase the
pressure of the hammering a couple of times. I usually increase the
pressure about 2-3 timesDO NOT FLATTEN THE METAL TOO MUCH, you must
be very careful here.

gotta get some sleep its now about 1:48 A.M. .lets discuss this
again tomorrow if you need me. I am always watching my emails at all

I am getting all lot of bounce 

O.K. either put it in a ring clamp so you hand and wrist absorb the
small shocking action or try some old inner tube or rubber of the
like to absorb the shock between the wooden wheel and the benchmate
clamp. You have to reduce the rigidity of the set up.

Allan Creates
P.F.F. Hinged Ring Shanks


To all that might be interested,

I have a method of holding bracelets and rings secure while
texturing their surfaces, forgive me if this was not the original
enquiry purpose, but it is much cleaner than using shellac and pitch
compounds. We all have old tools that are left unused, I have an old
bracelet mandrel made of brass, and as I now use a steel mandrel, I
have covered the old brass mandrel with 2mm thick cow hide,smooth
side up, this is great for slipping bracelets on for either texturing
or re setting, I have a mandrel vise on my bench so that I have both
hands free to use chasing tools and a chasing hammer. I also have an
old ring mandrel covered in leather for the same purpose, this is
just a tip that someone might find useful. I also make all of my own
chasing and texturing tools, made from silver steel lengths of
various thicknesses, purchased from a model railway maker’s tool
supply company over here in the UK. One last thing re the old English
lighting set up, I have just checked through some of my old diaries
and found that the light enhancing bowls used at my old workshops
were sometimes filled with a dilute mixture taken from the pickle
vats, which would be a copper sulphate dilution as the pickle we
used was dilute sulphuric acid boiled in copper pickle pans, over
time this made the pickle a pale blueish to green colour depending on
its age. I am glad that I kept diaries as they are always reminding
me of forgotten methods and

James Miller FIPG, an aging English Goldsmith


I think i have solved the holding the bracelet problem. i was not
using enough shellac. in order for the shellac to not crack while
you are using it you need to start with a 3/8 inch thick piece on
your wooden stick or what ever. then before you add the piece onto
it you need to work it through with the alcohol lamp and let it
slightly cool soft through out. for some reason this strengthens the
bond. then you need to you need to lightly heat the piece and then
lay it gentle onto the shellac. if it sinks to fast the piece is to
hot. it needs to just slightly melt into it. then work the shellac
up onto the piece. i was shellacing the bracelet to low, also i
switch from a wooden ring to a 3" wooden ball that is attached to 1
1/4" dowel that fits through my benchmate. with the ball you can
shellac almost the entire bracelet on it and work it from all the
angles, with it still being secure in the benchmate. for some reason
the solid wooden ball gets rid of the spring and gives a better
hammering surface.

i know Gerry said he doesnt like shellac but it seems to hold the
work in place the best without doing any damage to the piece.

if you want to see a picture of the new ball email me and i will
forward you it.

thanks for all you tips


I DO LIKE shellac, but in certain circumstances “gold on metal” has
more of a none absorbing foundation. Gold being hammered in a wooden
clamp is not so great. Why? the shock of hammering is absorbed in and
to the leather and again to the wood. BUT gold on metal as on a ring
mandrel has a better sustaining impact effect. Then again, also your
hand is holding the clamp and ANOTHER reduction of the direct

Greater loss of “impact” generated by the hammer. Example=> you
might say 30 units of impact/power to metal, a reduction to a loss of
10-15 units of power to the leather & wood combination. Each
application has its very own use. There is no law as to what is
correct…you should decide only then by your newly found