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Soldering assistance

hi folks,

first i want to thank all of you for this wonderful forum and for
writing back to my last two posts.

my new problem is this:

i’m making a sterling ring shank and sterling bezel setting to sit
atop the ring.

i made the shank and soldered it with hard solder, figuring i’d be
heating up the piece again a couple of times. i’ve never used hard
solder before and it didn’t seem to act the same as medium or easy.
it didn’t really flow the same way for me and my join is very
obvious even with much filing. in fact, i’ve thinned the shank
noticably in trying to file the seam out. so what did i do wrong

next question is: i soldered on the bezel wire to a backing, but did
not have a good connection and was unable to get the entire wire
soldered to the back. after several tries, i finally got it but one
tiny space where the wire just didn’t touch and wasn’t going to. so
i added an 18 gauge piece of wire around the base of the bezel (the
backing is larger than the bezel by about an eighth of an inch, so
this works). i had a hard time getting the wire to fit tightly
enough that its edges would touch when soldering. so i ended up with
a nicely soldered wire – to the backing! but not to itself. how
could i have made the wire fit more tightly?

having said all this, i want you to realize i am experimenting here
and don’t intend to sell this piece!

thanks again for all your help,

Jocelyn Broyles
Costa Rica ph(011 506) 376.6417
U.S. fax (253) 669.1679

One thing I 've always done is to take the bezel wire, after it’s
been shaped, set it on some fine sanding paper and sand the bottom
so that it’s completely flat. When soldering, I place a bead of
solder in 2 or 4 locations–depending upon the size of the bezel. I
am my flame at the seam and move it in a circular motion until the
solder runs. That usually creates a solid join. As as getting the
wire to fit snuggly, I would use a bezel mandrel. if the wire is a
little tight, you can stretch it on the bezel.

Good luck!
Vicki Embrey

Hi Jocelyn,

When soldering two pieces together they must touch in all the places
you want to be soldered. Solder will not fill gaps. The entire
bezel should be made to touch the backing.

I don’t fully understand the problem with the wire you added around
the bezel.

I normally use twisted or bead wire around a bezel. The wire should
be formed around the bezel so that the ends meet. This joint is
then soldered. The soldered ring is then formed to fit around the
bezel so that it touches the bezel and the backing in all places. I
use paste flux between the ring and the backing. Snippets of solder
can then be placed against the ring and the backing. Another
approach is to melt solder on the backing on the outside of the
bezel. The ring is then place on the solder on the backing.
Heating the assembly will flow the solder in the joint between the
ring and the backing. Be careful not to use too much solder as it
might form a fillet between the backing and the outside of the ring.

i had a hard time getting the wire to fit tightly enough that its
edges would touch when soldering. so i ended up with a nicely
soldered wire -- to the backing! but not to itself. how could i
have made the wire fit more tightly? 

This should really be a two-stage operation. First measure the
wire, fit it around the bezel, and when you have the right size,
take it off and solder it. Apply a dot of antiflux to the join and
refit it around the bezel. Then use easy solder to attach it to the
backing. If you try to do it all at once, you’ll end up melting
something. Also, one of the reasons that your bezel had an airspace
is that the metal backing may have been warped. To avoid this, try
placing the backing metal between two smooth blocks of wood and
give the ‘sandwich’ a few sharp raps with a dead-blow hammer. that
should straighten it out.


One trick, if you are going to sand the bottom of your bezel wire,
is to keep the stone in place while you sand- it will keep the bezel
from getting deformed.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry


Your suggestion to keep the stone in a bezel wire whilst sanding its
bottom is ok IF, you are using a step bezel wire whereby the stone is
is not exposed or if there is no intention of showing the bottom of
the stone in the finished setting.

If I was setting a beautiful bruneau jasper that has a perfect
polish all over, even if the bottom was not going to show, I would
not want to ruin the bottom polish.

Try the following instead. Do NOT use coarse paper to sand the
bottom of bezels. I never use anything more coarse than 400 and
usually well worn at that. Place the paper on a perfectly flat
surface. Place the bezel on the paper and then cover the top of the
bezel with three fingers so all the edges are in contact with a
finger somewhere. GENTLY, move the bezel in a rotating manner.
Never go back and forth or it will ‘stumble’ on the paper and
malform. Keep rotating it until it is perfectly flat. After
sanding, place the bezel around the stone again to insure it fits
perfectly before soldering to the back plate.

Works for me…try it out.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2