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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tools For Bezel Setting Stones- A TOOLTORIAL

As I mentioned in my last post, here is my list of some of the things that I got for metalsmithing. Some, I discovered I needed as I was needing them. Others were tools that I had seen other people use. And, others still were recommended to me. Of course, I already had all of my wire wrapping tools and mandrels.

I have tried to include a link from where I purchased, but you can get a lot of this stuff in other places. I have Amazon Prime and use it a lot. You can get things cheaper if you want to wait for it.

I did get some things that I found I have no use for. I haven't included those.

So, here, in no particular order, is my list:

TOOLTORIAL

Safety- You will want your usual suspects, safety glasses and gloves, but DO NOT forget a good fire extinguisher. Keep your fire extinguisher near, but placed somewhere along your escape route. It will do you no good if it is behind your fire. Being prepared is not only good for your piece of mind, it is also a potential life and property saver.
 
Torch - Smith's Handi Heet acetylene/air with 0 and 00 tips separately
I know from experience that I did not want an oxygen/gas torch. This is a great torch and that link has the best price. You may not need the extra tips. I seem to use the #1 the most and it comes with the set. The Handi Heet torch is exactly the same as the Smith's Silversmith torch just with different tips included. Buy a gas bottle from them, too. Then you can swap it at your gas supply and won't have to lease a tank. I chose acetylene over propane because it burns hotter. Propane, however is cleaner. But, I have not noticed any dirty problems with my torch, at all. It seems that gas/air torches rely on different sized tips to produce the flame size you want, whereas oxygen/gas torches have an adjustable flame. I prefer not to use expensive and hazardous oxygen. And lastly, you'll want some chain or bungee to strap your gas bottle to something.

universal tank wrench and key-- Don't forget these! You can get them with your torch or at your gas supply house.

Foredom rotary tool with accessories- I got the kit with accessories and another accessory kit, too. Also, get the hanger with it. I figured I could find a way to hang it. I was wrong. I had to get a hanger after I got the Foredom. If you have a smaller Dremel, it may work for you for awhile, but, at some point, you will want to upgrade. A lot of specialty bits for jewelry won't fit the Dremel.

inverted cone bur - This is really useful for cleaning out the extra solder you might have in your bezel cup. Extra solder can keep your stone from setting correctly.

tube cutter for cutting bezel wire at 90 degrees- This is invaluable and one of the first things that I realized that I needed. It will save you a lot of headaches trying to get perfect bezel joins.

jeweler's saw

bur life - This will lubricate your bur and blades. You can also use wax, like an old candle stub.

saw blades Be sure to get the right size for the gauge of metal you will be using.

#2 flat file- More coarse than a #4

#4 flat file You will use this a lot.

needle file set- I just got a cheap set from Sears

file cleaner (called a file card)- keep your fles in good shape.

small Fretz precision hammers for detail work- You don't need these, but they are a nice splurge and useful.
chasing
sharp
planishing

muslin wheels

felt wheels- round and knife edge for foredom

white diamond compound - for prepolishing

bobbing compound - fast cutting- powerful stuff

burnisher set - for smoothing bezel wire

Brass Bezel Roller - I ordered a cheap one first and found out you get what you pay for. This is better.

prong pusher - Another way to push your bezel wire down

solder cutting pliers- Not neccasary but I got tired of snipping sheet solder. Totally worth the money.

a set of solder sheet with stacked cups

400 grit wet dry paper - Good for sanding down bezel wire to the right height.

sanding sponges - Really awesome- Just try them. They are cheap and you will wonder why you never used them before.
 
tweezer assortment for soldering

scribe - for marking metal

dividers - for marking metal in exact increments

radial bristle brushes - Like the sanding sponges. Once you use them, you'll never look back.

Moores sanding discs for foredom- Convenient, but not necessary

charcoal block - get a small and large for your pumice pan.

revolving pumice pan - Really, really nice to have.

bench pin and holder - You will need a bench pin as much as a torch. Find one that works best for your situation.

solder picks - for pick soldering and moving hot solder pieces

handy flux - Good to start with because you can judge temperature by how it looks. It DOES take getting used to. I put a small amount in a separate jar and thin with water. If it gets contaminated- the whole tub isn't bad.

Paint brush for flux- whatever you might have, but natural hair is better

metal shears - I use mine A LOT, must have

nylon hammer - good for flattening metal sheet among other things

shot plate for fancy beading - You don't need this, but it's super cool to add decoration. See Soham Youtube link for a video he has on using this.

pickle pot-- I use a little dip crock pot

copper tongs - for your pickle pot 

pickle-- PH down or any number of different kinds

parallel pliers - useful for many things

automatic center punch- cause they're cool

center finder

polishing pins - put them directly into your Foredom chuck and sharpen with a file. Used to get into tight spots fo finishing.

marking stamp- Mark your silver

fine point centering punch

metal hole puncher

mechanics square

steel t pins - for holding soldering pieces in place

steel or stainless steel wire for placing items to be soldered 

made a large sanding stick with 400 grit

made a soldering donut/bun with 16g copper - see Lexi Erickson soldering videos

all various handtools for wire wrapping - pliers, cutters, mandrels, etc.

rawhide mallet

steel block with wood base

rubber block base for steel block

small anvil

drill bits

vise

ring mandrel

tumbler Lortone 3a with steel shot for tumbling

glue stick - for gluing down your patterns on your sheet metal

a variety of sheet metal generally 22 and 24g sheet and a variety of bezel wire. I think 1/8th bezel is most often used.

The Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated Handbook

Super jewelry videos and FREE!

Soham Harrison
Nancy LT Hamilton

Lexi Erickson videos

http://www.interweavestore.com/metalsmith-essentials-how-to-solder-jewelry-dvd
http://www.interweavestore.com/metalsmith-essentials-how-to-solder-jewelry-vol-2-dvd
http://www.interweavestore.com/metalsmith-essentials-artisan-bails-handmade-findings-to-enhance-handmade-pendants
http://www.interweavestore.com/metalsmith-essentials-setting-stones-with-bezels

Bill Fretz video
http://www.interweavestore.com/expert-bezel-forming-dvd

This is all I can think of at the moment.

Wait! There's more!

Reader, Kathy, noted in the comments some important things that I had forgotten- aside from the dust mask you should use when sanding and polishing. Here they are as she wrote them:

1. Prips Flux - I read a long time ago that this is the secret of soldering copper. It works well for me. I have a little "hairspray" bottle I use to spray it on heated metal. You can also dip or spray and let it dry before soldering. I also use Handy Flux, but this is my main "go to" with copprer. Works for silver too--it is supposed to help with firescale.

2 Fire Brick - This is moderately soft and will accept t-pins. it reflects the heat well and the surface is renewable when it gets gunked up. Rub the block lightly on a concrete sidewalk until it is clean again.

3. Magnesia Soldering Block - This is much softer than the the firebrick. You can actually press a piece down into it so that it is held securely. It's wonderful if you have a two piece design that you need to lock into position. Also good to "level up" pieces that need to touch at a certain angle -such as a bail onto a back plate. Of course you can stick all sorts of pins into it to hold things.

4. GOOD Third Hand - This is worth the money! The "holders" for steel tweezers are mostly worthless. The arms in this articulate to exactly position your work. The Tungsten tips are much more heat resistant than tweezers. I get to use a double one at my class. [I can add that if you have the money (or a birthday coming up) you could get one of these. They are awesome!]

Please comment with your must haves and I'll add them here. I can always use a new tool. :)

AND..... Because this is a visual medium. Here is my latest piece. Cherry Creek jasper necklace in copper with acid etching. You can see the etch pattern better if you enlarge by clicking.








8 comments:

  1. I had no idea there were so many tools needed for this. Silversmithing will have to wait for me. Your work is wonderful. I have enjoyed your process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't mean to scare you off of it! Lots of these tools can be substituted for things around your house. And, most aren't too expensive to buy- it's mostly lots of little things. You can hold off on a foredom, too. You're halfway there already with what you have :)

      Delete
    2. I think I will start with a little soldering, if I can get past my fear of burning down my house or blowing something up...hahahaha

      Delete
  2. That pendant is beautiful! I love the look of copper, especially with a patina. I need to do more with copper! I've always worn gold but now have changed to silver. Copper adds such a warm look to the jewelry.

    That's quite a list! I have most of it and didn't realize how much there was. I don't have a tube cutter. I didn't know that would cut bezel wire. That's one more to add to the list of wants. I just purchased a jump ring maker, certainly not a necessity but makes life easier especially since I have a flex shaft now. You've piqued my interest with etching. I'll be doing some research on that! I love the results. That's what I love about this, the learning never stops!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Kate :) I learned the etching on a youtube video. I think it was one by beaducation. I saw Bill Fretz use a tube cutter for wire in his video and I really wanted one because lining up bezel wire has to be perfect or you run into so much trouble.

      I absolutely LOVE copper. I love to work with it, I love the look of it and I love to wear it. :)

      Delete
  3. Tela: Beautiful pendant. I love it!

    Here is my list of additional tools I have found to be very handy:

    1. Prips Flux (http://www.ottofrei.com/Prip-s-Flux-Flouride-Free-For-Firecoat-Protection.html). I read a long time ago that this is the secret of soldering copper. It works well for me. I have a little "hairspray" bottle I use to spray it on heated metal. You can also dip or spray and let it dry before soldering. I also use Handy Flux, but this is my main "go to" with copprer. Works for silver too--it is supposed to help with firescale.

    2 Fire Brick (http://www.firemountaingems.com/itemdetails/H203068TL), This is moderately soft and will accept t-pins. it reflects the heat well and the surface is renewable when it gets gunked up. Rub the block lightly on a concrete sidewalk until it is clean again.

    3. Magnesia Soldering Block (http://www.amazon.com/Grobet-Magnesia-Soldering-Block/dp/B000HYQHWY) This is much softer than the the firebrick. You can actually press a piece down into it so that it is held securely. It's wonderful if you have a two piece design that you need to lock into position. Also good to "level up" pieces that need to touch at a certain angle -such as a bail onto a back plate. Of course you can stick all sorts of pins into it to hold things.

    4. GOOD Third Hand (http://www.riogrande.com/Product/GRS-Short-Third-Hand-on-a-Heavy-Weighted-Base/502016?Pos=18) This is worth the money! The "holders" for steel tweezers are mostly worthless. The arms in this articulate to exactly position your work. The Tungsten tips are much more heat resistant than tweezers. I get to use a double one at my class.

    Looking at this list you can see that I struggle with getting things set up in the right position to solder! I don't have really good depth perception so anything that helps me put things in a stable position so I can get things lined up right helps me a lot.

    One thing on my wish list is a "turntable" or a revolving annealing pan. Can't believe I have never bought one. I have access to a revolving soldering board at class so I have been able to put off the purchase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, thank you! I totally forgot some of those and they are sooooo important, too! I'll update my list. I know what you mean about getting things placed just right. I spent so long today just getting a bezel wire lined up I thought I would scream... no wait... I did LOL!

      When I got my annealing pan that was the best price I could find. I don't know if that is still true.

      I have a solderite board and kiln brick but I always use the charcoal. I used solderite once and didn't like it.

      Third hands are indispensable. I have 2, one simple one from ebay and one really nice double one that I got for Christmas. DH always gets me tools. :)

      I bought some Pripps for copper but I haven't used it, yet.

      Thank you for these very important tool tops!

      Delete
  4. I have a Solderite board also. It's a large rectangle--about all I do with it is use it to hold the fire brick, charcoal, or magnesia block. I rarely use it to solder on by itself.

    One type of board that I really dislike is the Honeycomb (the boards with the holes). We have them in class and the only use I found for them is to line the wires at 90 degree angles when I solder a frame to hold rectangular cabs. Solder pieces always seem fall down the holes when you try to place them--very frustrating! It seems to draw the heat away rather than reflect it back to help heat the piece. I'm sure that would be useful sometimes but I haven't experienced it yet.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.