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Thread: Silver bezel weirdness- why doesn't it ball?!?!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2023
    Posts
    1

    Question Silver bezel weirdness- why doesn't it ball?!?!

    Hi
    I am new to silversmithing and after having taken a few lessons from a professional, am now trying to figure it out alone (because I moved too far away from my lovely teacher!). I am trying to set a stone in a bezel. I bought silver bezel strip from Cookson, but I keep melting it. I know that's probably because I need more practice with torch control etc. And I want to keep trying. But I wanted to not waste the scrap bezel strip that I messed up. I tried to heat it up and make those little balls but it doesn't melt properly. It gets misshapen but never liquifies and balls up. When I use silver wire I can make balls with no problem. What's happening?! Seems unfair that I melt bezel strip when I don't want to (when I'm trying to solder it) but can't melt it when I want it to melt!!! Should silver bezel strip do the melt and ball thing? Why wouldn't it?! Help! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,878

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    Hi Maria, and welcome to the forum.

    First of all many of us cut our own bezel strip from 4.0mm fine silver sheet using a saw. This is less prone to melt, and you an cut only what you need.
    Use hard strip solder, which has been thinned out, and cut into tiny snips.
    For flux you can use borax, but some use Auflux liquid, which is less prone to bubble.
    Don't be in a hurry, but use your torch with the air hole slightly closed, and gently heat the whole of the bezel, moving the torch around until the solder flows.
    Work in a darkened area of your room, so that you can quickly spot overheating. It should stay just a dull red.

    To make balls, make a little hollow in your soldering brick, rub up your metal with sandpaper, and place a snip with flux into the hollow. As above, do not hurry, but apply gentle heat until the metal reddens and balls up. Dennis.

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