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Stone Setting - getting rid of graver's marks


#1

Hi All,

This, to the setters on this list.

I have been setting my own jewellery for many years and I can pave,
claw, channel and tube set. But there is one thing that has eluded
me. When I set a 5mm round stone into a round tube with a 6mm
outside diameter, I use a appropriate burr and lower the stone until
more or less the table height. Then I peen or push the metal over,
using a pusher or my GraverMax. Fine so far, done that millions of
times. Then when it comes to finishing off, I like to take a flat
graver and cut the inside of the tube at about 45 degrees so that
the stone has a bright round circle around it.

And there in lies my problem. I cannot seem to get rid of the
"chatter" that the graver makes. I can’t seem to get a smooth cut.
There are always steps or bumps.

Sure, I can smooth things out with a blue or pink Silicon wheel, but
that’s not the right way.

I have seen rings from Germany set this way that look as if a
machine did the job.

Is there a trick in maybe sharpening graver angles, or foot angles?
Any hints would be much appreciated=85

Cheers,
Hans Meevis
http://www.meevis.com


#2

Hello Orchidians,

What I use to put a" bright cut" in the inside of tube settings (
collets ) or flush set stones is a small (very ) burnisher that I
gradually work around the tube or flush set stone Pressure is
directed out. with a slow circular motion adding some pressure as I
proceed. The early passes serve to create a path for the later passes
of the tool ( I use another method for color.) This has done the
trick for me. I high polish the tool and have had very clean
results.I hope this will help.

Peace Karl


#3

Hello Hans Meevis and all setters on Orchid!

I hardly ever use a Flat graver anymore, why? This is because of
those darn chatter marks that are left behind…I am now using with
great satisfaction a “Right-Sided” onglette. This makes my right side
of the graver work with a wider cutting surface… The results are
phenominal, no ugly looking lines, per se, smooth even-flowing
cutting. Even the Emery and then Polishing paper technique is so
different with using the Flat graver. I have different onglettes of
different widths just for the varied uses. Imagine using an onglette
that has two bevelled surfaces and only one side that can be altered
or modified to “Bright-Cut” ? The left side of the blade has been
reduced in thickness so it won’t even get close to touching the
diamond as its been used. My results are that polishing only enhances
the fantastic result. No need to go over with any pumice or 1000 grit
pink wheel. It just ain’t necessary!!! One cut leads to the other, as
the graver is held in one position, the angled “highly-polished” side
does all the work. Again no need to twist your hand to get the same
result. I use this method in bright-cuting insides of Gypsy settings.
One 45 degree angle ALL THE TIME no accidents in leaning the blade
too far over.If the graver is held vertical the corresponding side
angle does ALL the work for you!

I have also written an aricle on this same topic.Write to me for it
& pictures @Gerald

Gerry, the Cyber-Setter!


#4

Some great suggestions here! I used to have the problem with chatter
marks while using the flat gravers until an old hand engraver taught
me how to properly sharpen one! Rather than having a flat angle on
the belly of the graver, try rocking it up and down (no more than
about 15 degrees)while sharpening it (hard to do without a power
hone). This creates a rounded belly and will eliminate chatter
marks. The graver will also stay sharp much longer. Ken


#5

I use a small burnisher to smooth out the inside surfaces of bezels.
Some years ago, well, … a lot of years ago, I set burnish set a
bunch of rubies into a ring and skated aroudn the inside edges with
a hardened steel burnisher. My customer pointed out that I had
chunked off a lot of facet junctions. These days, I use a burnisher
made from bronze welding rod.


#6
set a bunch of rubies into a ring and skated aroudn the inside
edges with a hardened steel burnisher. My customer pointed out that
I had chunked off a lot of facet junctions 

It seems to me that stone setters may need more education on the
relative hardnesses between metal tools and stones and better
knowledge of how stones react to setting functions. My students are
constantly amazed when I grab a file and begin dressing up prongs
holding agate, jasper, quartz etc. When I explain that the hardened
steel file is at most a 6 (maybe 6.5 at the very top) while the
stone is a 7 they begin to understand hardness. Then I tell them
they should never try to dress prongs or bezels with SiC paper or
polishing wheels containing SiC because they are usually 9 to 9.5,
reality begins to set in.

Now, if one should take a steel burnisher (hardness about 6) to a
ruby (corundum at a 9) it would require some awful effort to chunk
off a piece of anything. It is true that facet meets are more
vulnerable but it would still take a heck of a lot of pressure to do
much damage (except maybe around the girdle where the stone is
thin). Now, if setters were educated to these differences, they
could adjust their process to accommodate them. Would a setter use
the same rough treatment if setting an apatite? How about
scapolite? I bet they could destroy a faceted opal in seconds.

All you setters out there…do you really know the relative
differences between the hardness of stones and your tools and other
equipment?

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


#7

Well Charles, I guss some will and some won’t. There are those in
all aspect’s of our trade ( jewelers , modelmaker’s , and everyone )
who may still have lot’s of these little tidbit’s to get under
there belt’s. However having serviced the trade for the past 27 years
I alway’s appreciate the sharing of info without the judgement such
as your’ thank you very much. Peace Karl Linger


#8
     My students are constantly amazed when I grab a file and begin
dressing up prongs holding agate, jasper, quartz etc. When I
explain that the hardened steel file is at most a 6 (maybe 6.5 at
the very top) while the stone is a 7 they begin to understand
hardness. 

They should remain amazed. I have experienced files destroying
stones of greater hardness by the hammer like action that the
individual teeth provide. Polishing of the edge of the file helps, but
now a bur is left next to the stone. I like to finish my prongs with
poumice wheels.

Hardnes is just a measure of resistance to scratching. I don’t think
that you believe that a brass hammer cannot break a diamond. Do you?
The point is that there are other forces involved. Slowly applied
pressure can also cause percussion marks and percussion marks can be
particularly vulnerable. The razor sharp edges wher damage has been
done is also vulnerable.

My use of a bronze burnisher has greatly reduced my inntory of
broken stones. Works for me.


#9
         My students are constantly amazed when I grab a file and
begin dressing up prongs holding agate, jasper, quartz etc. When I
explain that the hardened steel file is at most a 6 (maybe 6.5 at
the very top) while the stone is a 7 they begin to understand
hardness. 

Are you saying you set faceted citrine or amethyst using steel files
on the prongs? I have caused damage on quartz with cup burrs.And I
believe that if gemstones are heated, they are more brittle. I have
damaged corundum when I knew they should not be affected by how I
was setting them.


#10

Goldwerx,

The laws of physics apply to all of us in this business! Of course
stones can be scratched by files and other metal implements. Or
conversly, concentrating the force at one point such as pressing a
sharp point onto even a hard surface can cause fractures and
breakage. That is why facet meets and ridges are vulnerable, or the
tip of a burnisher pressed against a flat facet will often do the
same. But, in 30 years of setting stones, I have never damaged a
solid agate or jasper cab with a file…the rounded surface is the
key here folks!

Re breaking a diamond…Don’t kid yourself. A diamond doesn’t even
need a brass hammer to be broken. Simple hand pressure on a thin
area such as around the girdle or even proper alignment to the grain
can break one. We are talking cleavage and toughness here, not
hardness. But I don’t believe any of us when setting a stone,
purposely pushes the point of a tool into a surface nor are we
purposely careless when setting diamonds or other hard stones. None
the less, I have spent considerable time repairing stones damaged by
setters who, for one reason or another, did damage to a stone. Was
it haste? Carelessness? Or was it lack of knowledge?

What I was suggesting was that knowing the relative hardness of your
tools and stones being set, can certainly save a setter (or anyone
doing the process) a lot of heart burn. And, there are some things
one can get away with if they understand the differences. That
doesn’t mean we can grab a file and saw away at a stone…any stone.

By the way, do you know that many of the wheels used to smooth metal
contain SiC? Some are looked upon as b eing ‘pumice’ wheels
(containing simple pumice powder which is a soft volcanic stone) but
are actually made with SiC which is a 9.5 hardness. Be careful of
using those wheels around stones and know what is in them.

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


#11
    I have never damaged a solid agate or jasper cab with a
file....the rounded surface is the key here folks! 

I suspect that the cryptocrystaline nature of the chalcedonies plays
a part here. The interlocking of the crystals make for a tougher
stone than … say amethyst or citrine (same mineral). I rarely work
with those stones. My work habits have needed to accomodate some
more delicate stones that scratching or chipping might in the end
prove fatal.

    Re breaking a diamond....Don't kid yourself.  A diamond
doesn't even need a brass hammer to be broken.  Simple hand
pressure on a thin area such as around the girdle or even proper
alignment to the grain can break one. 

In fact, I broke a .01-.02 recently with my thumbnail. Another
first.

    We are talking cleavage and toughness here, not hardness. But I
don't believe any of us when setting a stone, purposely pushes the
point of a tool into a surface nor are we purposely careless when
setting diamonds or other hard stones. 

My point was that when burnishing the inside edge of a bezel, it is
nearly impossible to not touch the stone and my personal experience
has been that this practice will damage the stone from time to time.
It has happened to me with corundum and several softer stones. Thus
I learned to use a bronze burnisher in this situation. I can’t
remember ever damaging a stone with bronze.

    What I was suggesting was that knowing the relative hardness
of your tools and stones being set, can certainly save a setter (or
anyone doing the process) a lot of heart burn. And, there are some
things one can get away with if they understand the differences.
That doesn't mean we can grab a file and saw away at a stone...any
stone. 

It left some of us with the impression that you thought that it was
good form to finish all bezels and prongs with a file. Especially
with any stones having a hardness of 6 1/2 +. If that was not what
was intended, I apologize for not reading so well.

    By the way, do you know that many of the wheels used to smooth
metal contain SiC?  Some are looked upon as b eing 'pumice' wheels
(containing simple pumice powder which is a soft volcanic stone)
but are actually made with SiC which is a 9.5 hardness.  

Around here, rubberized abrasive wheels with silicon carbide are
labeled such. I can’t imagine why someone would think that SiC
wheels would contain pumice. Pumice wheels are labeled pumice. My
experience has shown that pumice wheels can be used safely to finish
prongs and bezels on stones as soft as strontiun titanate {6 on the
Mohs scale).

Bruce


#12

Richard hart

I have another little hint for you, about ruining stones with the
Cup Bur a.k.a. 77B. Do what I always do and that is to run the 77B as
its SLOWLY rotating and place this bur on your Arkansas oil-stone and
lightly grind of the outside edge of this rotating bur. It is 'this
little leading edge that is worn down and this flashing of metal WILL
DO THE PROBLEMS you are encountering, trust me! Burs don’t do much of
the damage, its this “little minute shards of metal” that are being
thrown away from the inside of the cup. If there is a reason, then
there is a way to fix it! Try this out a few times, …it does
work!..:>)

Gerry!


#13

Hi Orchidians, et all!

B"H

Just want to drop a few hints on filing around super soft stones…I
have at my disposal many triangular files. Either number #2 - #3 - #4
cuts. Some very new or some old (worn down). I use these old
rounded-edged, 3 square files over and over again.I never throw them
away. For filing near the softer stone, I prefer the 20 cm. #4 cut
better. A larger Pillar file is too view restricting and also too
abusive to the fine bezel or claws.

I always save the older files for filing claws or bezels around
these “super soft stones”. If I need to use a new sharp-toothed file,
I will immediately use my sanding paper disk and gently remove the
teeth from the corners of this file…this is the main scource of
problems that will cause a “wooops!” Another little hint is to use
your opposing thumb as a guide as a preventive measure and making
sure the file won’t “touch” the stone. We always want to file metal,
not the soft stone. I wear away more thumbs this way…:>) LOL !


#14

Richard,

Actually, I use steel files routinely on virtually any stone I set -
except the very soft carbonates or phosphates. But, that is not
without reservation. These days, I am setting more cabochons than
faceted stones, though I still do faceted stones on occasion. It is
important to prepare the files however. I always grind, smooth and
polish at least one edge of any file I use. This edge is all that
ever touches any faceted stone. I use my thumbs and fingers in a
way that no points or teeth of the file touches a stone…only the
polished edge. On cabs I use a file to smooth any roughness on
bezels and to size or shape prongs. On agate or jasper I am not as
particular because even the file teeth have little or no effect on
these stones. The exception to this is when the stone has obvious
’soft’ areas or there are sharp edges- then I’m more careful.

You are correct about cup burrs but just be sure the end of the cup
is not marred or burred …the metal should be highly polished.
Then use low speed when it approaches the stone and be sure the cup
edge comes down square on the stone (better still don’t even get
quite down to the stone) and do not allow the sharp outer edge of
the cup to touch the stone surface. Frankly, I don’t use cup burrs
very often but then I’m not setting 100 stones a day either!! Now a
days, I prefer cutting them to setting .

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


#15
    set a bunch of rubies into a ring and skated aroudn the inside
edges with a hardened steel burnisher. My customer pointed out 
that I had chunked off a lot of facet junctions 

I have been a Master Diamond Setter for over 30yrs., taught
Gemsetting in Toronto, taught private students and other setters,
and continue to do setting in my new location on Vancouver
Island…and this particular e-mail begged my reaction! Firstly, if
the rubies in the ring were of the $4 per ct. quality…it is quite
reasonable to think that a burnisher will take off “chunks” of the
facets. There are so many low quality gems on the market today which
are also “doctored” with many new treatments to “enhance” their
appearance, that great care must be taken with any stone you are
setting. Again, if the rubies were of high quality, a steel
burnisher will also takes off the edges of the facets. Not knowing
the size of the rubies or the gold used to make the ring,(14K white
or 18K yellow?)makes a difference as does the size of the burnisher.
Practise, practise makes for a better setter! A small tip that may
help you out (and other Orchidians) that I do is recycle all those
worn out/ burnt out burrs on your bench by making them into small
sized burnishers or even gravers! Snap the “head” off the burr and
put it into your handpiece and run it on an angle on your sharpening
stone until you have a lovely tappered end, then, still in the
handpiece, run it on various emery paper and polish paper sticks
until it is shiny. Remember, to round the tip, if you leave it
sharp, you’ll have trouble and may cause damage. Make severel
different sizes from burrs that are .009 mm. and up. Keep an
interchangable handle to pop them in and out as you need them. Or
drill a few cheap wooden graver handles with a hole the size of the
burr shaft and make your own. You can also make bead raisers from
these “headless” burrs by sharpening on an angle on your stone (as
for any other graver) and don’t forget to polish the outside edge on
polishing paper or a ruby stone. Any cutting surface that touches
the metal on a piece must be polished, and frequently so!
Experiment, try to make small flat or square gravers like
this…again…polish the edges. Sometimes, these gravers will be too
hard and break off in small pieces if the metal is very hard, take
care.Perhaps, other Orchidians have some great “recysle” tips for
all those hundreds or old burrs we all have on our benches, that we
simply haven’t the heart to throw away…? Thanks for listening!

Viive “V” V.Morris
4833 Blue Heron Drive
Site 138 Comp 9
Bowser, B.C.
V0R 1G0
@Viive


#16

Bruce, thanks for the follow up.

   In fact, I broke a .01-.02 recently with my thumbnail. Another 
first. 

We will call you ‘super nail’ from now on. I suspect that litle
stone must have already had a flaw?!

   My point was that when burnishing the inside edge of a bezel,
it is nearly impossible to not touch the stone and my personal
experience has been that this practice will damage the stone from
time to time..... Thus I learned to use a bronze burnisher in this
situation. I can't   remember ever damaging a stone with bronze. 

If the bronze burnisher works for you I think that’s great!I don’t
know what kind of bezels you mean…are you doing small tubes or
larger bezels? I rarely, maybe one in 50 ever need to use a
burnisher after bezeling down larger sizes. I use a rocker style
bezel roller and roll the bezel twice. The first time closes the
bezel onto the shoulder and the second time seats the bezel right
down onto the stone. On occasion there may be a ripple that needs
removing but that is usually lower on the bezel. The roller is used
at a 90 deg angle (or nearly so) and as it seats the bezel, it also
polishes it. One pass usually does it. I’ve written about this
before on Orchid and the info should be in the archive.

   It left some of us with the impression that you thought that it
was good form to finish all bezels and prongs with a file.
Especially  with any stones having a hardness of 6 1/2 +. If that
was not what was intended, I apologize for not reading so well. 

Well, actually…see my previous response to Richard. I do use
files on almost all my prongs! So no need to apologize. Not that I
think its good form…its just the way I’ve learned to do things I
guess.

   Around here, rubberized abrasive wheels with silicon carbide
are labeled such. I can't imagine why someone would think that SiC
wheels would contain pumice. Pumice wheels are labeled pumice. My
experience has shown that pumice wheels can be used safely to
finish    prongs and bezels on stones as soft as strontiun
titanate {6 on the  Mohs scale). 

I agree with you about pumice wheels. Do you lable your own wheels?
Most of the wheels I purchase are not labled as to what they are.
I try to lable all the pumice wheels but don’t take the time to do
all the others. Anything not labled pumice…should be treated with
care. Many manufacturers don’t even say whats in them…just what
the carrier is. Guess my warning was aimed more at those just those
getting started.

Any way, this has been an interest exchange I think. We all have
our own ways of doing things but its good to trade

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


#17
    We will call you 'super nail' from now on.  I suspect that
litle stone must have already had a flaw?! 

I’m sure.

    If the bronze burnisher works for you  I think that's great!I
don't know what kind of bezels you mean...are you doing small tubes
or larger bezels? 

All types of bezels that I use. I should point out that I never use
fine silver bezel wire. I rarely use silver or bezel wire at all. I
taper the tops of my bezels and hammer them down. Here is a good
place for another bronze tool, a punch. Tool marks still need
removal. Pumice wheels, the judicious use of half point gravers and
a quick burnish on the inside, next to the stone finish them off
well.

    Well, actually....see my previous response to Richard.  I do
use files on almost all my prongs!  So no need to apologize.  Not
that I think its good form...its just the way I've learned to do
things I guess. 

As I was saying, I was trained to use files to shape bezels and
prongs. I did it for about a decade. I have learned through the most
expensive education program, that a file can act as a multitude of
tiny hammers when passing across a stone. Hardness may not save the
stone. In close proximity to a feather reaching the surface on even a
diamond can prove disastrous. Be careful with files and stones. Be
careful with any hardened steel on the surface of a stone.

    I agree with you about pumice wheels.  Do you lable your own
wheels? Most of the wheels I purchase are not labled as to what
they are. I try to lable all the pumice wheels but don't take the
time to do all the others. Anything not labled pumice.... 

I don’t even use rubberized abrasives anymore. It isn’t a problem in
my shop.

Bruce


#18

Hi Orchidians, anywhere!

As a setter for some time (46 years) I, as a rule keep all of my
cutting tools miles away from stones that are not “Red,White or
Blue”. Try this as a method of colour defining hardness with out any
steel graver for instance. I will usually push over bezels even with
a soft copper pusher, or being rather careful a brass
pusher…steel? I wouldn’t even think of it! Hammer?.. good
grief!..:>(

Pillar or Triangular Files?..only ones that have the three edges
nicely smoothed over or worn down purposely with a fine paper sanding
disk. Even using a pumice wheel might give you heart attacks if used
too roughly…I will use a 180 grit, pumice wheel with greater care
and use my thumb as a guard/guide…then, I might use a pink pumice
wheel of 1000 grit.

Its amazing how easy it is to catch a surface with the pumice wheel,
it can cause great damage and consternation to ANY SOFT STONE…maybe
you wanna experiment on your own first with the Aquamarine, Blue
Topaz, Cornellian, Opal, Turquoise…these are too soft for the
uninitiated…Gerry!


#19

Hello Hans,

I peeked at your website to see your setting and maybe these
suggestions will help.

1…any “prep” work you can do on the bezel, etc., will make your
final setting look much cleaner and crisper.

2…the small gems you set into small bezels can be made better if
you take a round burr (can be older slightly worn one) and lightly
bevel the inside of the opening before you put the stone into the
setting.For example: 3mm. stone into tube setting…you’ve made the
seat and checked that the stone is sitting at the right height and
you’re ready to tap the bezel down. BEFORE you do…take the stone
out of the setting and use your slightly worn 4mm. round (or
undercut) burr to bevel or “precut” your inside edge. You’ll find
that it will need very little cleaning after the stone is secure. If
you’re lucky, none!

3…if you have to use a graver, make sure it is well polished and
properly sharpened, it makes all the difference in the world. I dip
my graver into Oil of Wintergreen (I can hear the gasps!) before I
bright cut. It acts as a lubricant and I’ve used it for over 30
years, it’s still my favourite.

4…another thing to keep in mind is to turn the setting (in ring,
on shellac…) and not your graver hand. Once you get a smooth action
happening, the bight cut should be smooth as well.

I hope this has given you some help…
Regards “V” MORRIS