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Stone setting


I have found that for channel setting rings that a simple
holder has worked extremely well for me. I have used the
engraving block for years and found it mostly unsatisfactory
for securing a ring for channel setting, the necessity of
having a tight and fast hold almost always meant damaging the
shank in the jaws either while tightening the vise or while
hammering the channels down. I tried securing a ring
mandrel in the jaws and using the mandrel to hold the ring
but the whole assembly would not provide a rigid enough
platform while tapping the channels. I now use a “Vacu-vise”
(Rio Grande sells them) a ball mounted vise that is secured
to the bench top about where most jewelers mount the bench
pin. If you need to screw it down to the bench top (my bench
has formica laminated to the top) use the screw down version.
Into the vise I have secured a ring mandrel and wedge the
ring tightly onto the mandrel. This allows for a firm
support for the ring and also allows almost infinite
adjustment of the position of the ring. If the channel being
tightened is on the smaller side of the taper, the ring will
not loosen during the proceedure, and reversing the position
merely requires tapping on the opposite side with a rawhide
mallet to loosen the ring. Any adjustment of position can be
achieved by loosening the set bolt on the ball section of the
vise so as to rotate the ring to any elevation or angle. This
setup is cheap, (the vise is about $40) and allows for
additional use as a bench pin by mounting the wooden pin in
the jaws of the vise and rotating it parallel to the bench
top. Also a small steel box 3"x4"x1/2"deep with a 1" tab
welded to the bottom can be fabricated to hold pitch or a
block of lead approximately the same size with screws in the
bottom can be used to mount small or flat pieces for setting.
This has really increased both the speed and the quality of
my setting as the blows applied to the piece move metal over
the stone and not the whole setting. Also if you are actually
wondering how to keep the stones in place, the setting should
ideally be tight enough to wedge the stone into proper
position, if not some beeswax will secure it until enough
metal is brought down over the stone to hold it into the
setting. With bezels I generally bring down the bezel in the
four cardinal points (N,S,E,W) first then roll it down
between the areas brought down


Just a comment on stone-setting instructions. I’m taking the basics
this semester at MCTC, and bought Wooding’s “The Diamond Setting
Manaul,” finding it helpful as a resource.

Jerry Wykoff is now selling CD-Rom instructional material, and I’ve
been pleased with the couple I’ve bought. He’s selling one on stone
setting at his eBay store, which I’m planning to purchase, and that
might interest other beginning setters here. His eBay seller name
is Jerwyk, and he has a store as well as regular auctions.

Nancy Westrell, Student