Hello Steve and Alan! Alan, you provided good insight to gaining
experience in setting stones. I also agree with you promoting the
training of the hands. Quite true! Knowledge of the tools, burs,
pliers, etc., is certainly foremost. The hands are key.
Having used the Allset equipment, it would be my opinion that it
should not be the system to long for, in developing setting skills.
The equipment is well designed for production and repeatable tasks.
Setting stones is a daily part of my efforts, at work. Using the
Allset would not save time or be used much due to the diversity of
stone setting we do. Our store manufactures custom, and plenty of
repair. The Allset better suited to production, for stone setting. It
also has great applications as a wax carving assistant! Plenty of
diverse uses, and a nice tool to have overall. However, it is mainly
a production oriented tool, in my humble opinion.
One real glitch I noticed when viewing the introductory (the Allset
system) video, was how the Allset could be used to set rows of
channel set stones. The operator simply cut a continuous groove along
the inside of each channel! This technique, while fast, creates no
individual seat for each stone. Having a few pieces cross my bench
for stonetightening over the years, set in just this manner, it is
hardly a new idea. Half the time, the loose stones out number the
tight one’s! A wonderful tool like the Allset to be used in this
manner, and giving new jewelers and setters this concept, is in my
opinion, a mistake. No feather ruffling intended!
I own a Gravermax in my home shop. I would like to have one at work.
In this case it would certainly speed up many setting tasks. Similar
to the Allset case, the Gravermax would not be suitable for a
beginning stone setter. Check with Robert Wooding(a frequent Orchid
contributor) for his books and videos for a good foundation of stone
setting techniques, applicable tools, etc. If you can take
instruction, that would be best. Set as many stones as you can;
experience is the best teacher!