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Trouble with tube settings


#1

I have completed my first three tube settings. I am using small
2.5-3 mm faceted spinels and thick walled sterling tube of proper
size. Mostly I am attaching small findings to the top of the tube or
attaching the tube to silver sheet (as in a fabricated pendant)or
bail. I pulled the article from this website written by CL-B. I am
using a bezel rocker to set the stones. After making the seat in the
tube with the burr, attaching the finding, I file the edges of the
tube (which will be the part I press on with the bezel rocker) and
this is where I have difficulty. Though I have set three, seems like
it was pretty hard to get the metal to push. The metal should be
pretty soft from being under the torch after attaching the finding,
and I have filed it so it should be thinner than the side where the
seat is, but I find that I have a hard time holding onto such a
small piece of tubing and it seems that I might be work hardening the
piece before I get it completely set. Maybe I am using the wrong type
of bezel rocker.

As the tube is either attached to some other piece of silver or a
finding is attached I can’t see how secure this without damaging the
finding or the other metal to which the tube is soldered. When
finally set, the stone seems level and at the proper depth. I am
using a round burr of the same mm as the stone as suggested in the
CL-B article. So Questions, 1. what do I need to do to make bezel
easier to push and 2. what tricks are there to holding onto such
small pieces without damaging the tube, findings, or other parts of
the piece.

Thanks so much


#2
1. what do I need to do to make bezel easier to push and 2. what
tricks are there to holding onto such small pieces without damaging
the tube, findings, or other parts of the piece. 

Goldsmithing is not a magic, and there are no tricks. All the
problems that you describing should have been dealt in design stage.
One must not start the work until each and every step of the process
is thought through.

You have problem with the design itself, which I are trying to solve
via technical means. That rarely works. I could advise you to use
shellack to hold pieces for setting, but if you do not use it
correctly, shellack can become brittle and situation can become
dangerous.

The project looks simple, but it isn’t. Closed bezels have certain
nuances which must be understood. By closing bezel when closing
bezel, the geometry is changed. The inside circumference is actually
smaller, which calls for metal to be compressed. That requires
significant force and reduction in diameter is small. Your problems
is that the seat is larger than stone diameter by the value which
exceeds you ability to compress the metal. The smaller the stone, the
more precision is required in seat preparation.

Now, when the problem is understood, we can devise a solution. Use a
knife gravers, which must be sharpen to cut with it’s side ( flat
graver would not work here ) and open your tubing by forming a
slightly tapered inverted cone. Simply insert graver inside tubing
and shave side by holding graver steady and rotating the tubing. Use
a pin wise to hold the tubing. You are done when stone seats inside
the cone, with girdle level with the cone edge. Take a bur of smaller
diameter than the stone and cut a seat. You should be able to snap
the stone in. Do not force it. if the seat is too small, use the same
knife graver to enlarge it. When stone is fitted, now you can use you
bezel rocker. All you need to do is to bring inside walls to vertical
position. The change in geometry with set the stone. The last step
should be removing excess of metal. You can use flat graver for that.

This technique does not require excessive force and you can hold
your pieces on shellack stick. Still do not overheat your shellack,
and do not quench it in water, or it will become brittle.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#3

A bench tip attributed to Chas. L-B is to use double sided carpet
tape to secure things for setting or chasing. I got some great, thick
stuff at Home Depot and use it often for things like pendants. Most
often I put a piece on a bench block then secure the block in a
Panavise, vice, or on the bench top, depending on what I’m doing.
Just last week I wrapped a piece around a bracelet mandrel and used
it to hold a bangle while I set 10 tube-sets. Stuff is brilliant.
Keep some GooGone handy to remove the residue from your scissors, et
al.

Chris L.


#4

Flush Set the stones in there rather than the traditional way of
setting in a bezel…much cleaner less hassle.

Russ Hyder
the jewelry cad institute


#5

Dear Kadawdy,

So Questions, 1. what do I need to do to make bezel easier to push
and 2. what tricks are there to holding onto such small pieces
without damaging the tube, findings, or other parts of the piece. 
  1. As you are using such small stones in small tube settings, the
    walls of the bezel will be much more difficult to set with a bezel
    rocker than they would be if you were setting much larger stones -
    you need much more force. I only ever set two pieces of jewellery,
    turning my handmade bezels with a bezel rocker - it was much too
    difficult for me, even with larger stones (I like to make chunky
    bezels). So I use a setting punch and chasing hammer.

  2. Get some GRS Thermo-loc or JettSett - both types of thermoplastic

  • or a less expensive thermoplastic if you can find one. Heat it up
    in water in a microwave (I do about 4 minutes on full power - the
    instructions said to just heat it in the microwave without water (for
    less time than I’m recommending), but I found that without the water,
    the plastic was burning and the fumes were rather nasty). Taking care
    when hot, make it into a shape where a vice can hold onto the
    "flange" at the bottom, while your jewellery piece is pressed into a
    "platform" on the top - so you’re sort of making a “T” shape (I put
    it in my vice to mould the bottom bit to the vice jaws, and to seat
    the jewellery nicely so that the tops of my bezels are free). Take
    care to seat it enough that the jewellery piece won’t just pull out
    when the thermoplastic is cold, and use a tool of some sort to push
    any thermoplastic down and out of the way of the stones’ pavilions -
    I made that mistake once and had to start again. Leave it to cool to
    room temperature and it will set really hard (I put it in cold water
    to speed the process up. Place it back in the vice and you’ve got
    both hands free to upset that bezel/tube setting. If you use the
    hammer and punch method, you’ll never have the problem of not being
    able to turn a bezel. Oh, and any other findings, such as jump rings,
    bails, ring shanks, etc will not be damaged in any way at all. When
    your stones are set, put it back in the water and heat in the
    microwave again (note: it’s NOT a problem putting metal in the
    microwave IF it’s under water). The jewellery is then easy to remove
  • be careful of the heat again. You may need to file off the odd tool
    mark, depending on your technique, but as you get better at it, they
    become less of a problem and you’ll find that you can use a lateral
    motion with the tools, to burnish out the tool marks to a certain
    extent.

Hope this helps.

Helen
UK


#6

My sweetie Tim and I have a set of bezel burnishers. They are convex,
graduated in size, and look like large cup burs only smooth on the
inside. After cutting a seat inside the tube we place the right size
steel cup over the top and smack it with a hammer. Make for a very
quick and very clean setting job. Tim calls his set of these “My
second favorite tool.”

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#7

Kadawdy,

You might try a trick I learned at a GIA workshop many years ago.
Cut the seat for the stone in the tube.You want a good fit.

  1. Put the tube in the foredom

  2. Seat the stone

  3. Put a bent metal burnisher at about a 60 degree angle to the
    stone/tube

  4. Start the foredom

  5. With light to medium pressure on the burnisher change the angle
    from 60 to 50 to 40 and just keep going till the stone is set.

  6. Then just finish. Usually there is not much finishing to do as
    the burnisher does most of the work.

After a short while, you can set stones in a good looking smooth
mount. Just cut the Tube, smooth the top, cut the seat, seat the
stone, and into the foredom, set, done.

Tom


#8
1. Put the tube in the foredom [snip] 6. Then just finish. Usually
there is not much finishing to do as the burnisher does most of the
work.

That’s a really good method if you’re making a stone set in a tube,
as a piece of jewellery. But who makes jewellery like that? That
tube has to be soldered onto, for example, a ring shank, other tube
settings, a bail, etc. So it would only work if you were setting good
diamonds or corundum. Or have I completely missed the point?

Helen
UK


#9
So it would only work if you were setting good diamonds or
corundum. Or have I completely missed the point?

No Helen, I think you pretty much nailed it. This spinning 'trick’
is just that… a trick. Deception. Doesn’t address the underlying
problem of inadequate skill. Not to mention that even
diamond/corundum should be heated only when there is no other choice,
imho. If one relied on this trick then one would be limited to
producing crudely made stuff. Besides, just how does one chuck a 2mm
deep tube?

I think this belongs in the same category that John describes in the
Skills and Discipline thread re sandpapering. Decidedly unpro. I’ll
venture that its even misleading in that it sends a novice down a
dead end path.

Here’s something that will work. Take your hammer handpiece (you have
one, right? get one) and carve a concave face to the tip. Not the
same radius as your tube…somewhat bigger. Center and secure your
work in a rotating clamp (benchmate, engravers’ ball, whatever). Set
the stone while you rotate the work. Polish with hard bristle end
brushes.