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Thread: Join The Strip Club

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    7,591

    Default Join The Strip Club

    When mounting round stones of 5.0mm or more it is time to give up tubes and use strip. But not the stuff you buy which is flimsy and usually much too wide. Join the club and cut it from a sheet of fine silver, say 0.5 mm thick. The width needed for most cabochons is 1.5 to 2.5 mm, just enough to engage the curved part of the stone.

    If you can find a cheap set of twist drills, going up in half sizes to 10 or 12 mm, their shanks will provide an ideal set of mandrels for making bezels (and incidentally jump rings). Measure your stone with callipers and wind your strip around the relevant drill shank or one slightly smaller. Once cut and soldered its size can gradually be increased by either forcing it up a tapered triblet, with your fingertips, or by light taps all round with a hammer. The fit should be snug but the stone should still pull out with Blu Tack or a wax cone. Shallow cabochons can be made more prominent by adding a jump ring or washer to raise them, but this does not necessarily have to be soldered in
    .
    For faceted stones the bezel will be the same depth as the stone, measured from table to culet, but you also need a bearer. This can be a second tube fitting closely inside and soldered to support the stone at the correct height for setting. A more professional option is to raise some spurs inside the first tube, using a scorper, to support a washer or jump ring, which is then soldered in place.

    For a splendid finish it is also worth considering setting from behind. Make one tube so that it will admit the stone and add a narrow domed washer to the front. Adjust the window so that it will only just retain the stone, and polish. Push the stone in from behind and then add an inner tube with its back end made flush and slightly bevelled. Then close the back of the outer tube around the bevel.

    These are quick fixes, but I do think that faceted stones are more elegantly fitted into tapered collets. This does away with the need for bearers, although setters often cut a slight ledge with a burr or graver to steady the stone. For small stones you can use tubing and coax it into shape in a collet block, but for larger sizes I prefer to make a cone shape out of sheet first and then perfect it in the block. Dennis.

    Below: My box of drills.
    Bezel made from sheet.
    Set from behind.
    Cone shaped collet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Market Deeping
    Posts
    2,696

    Default

    Thanks Dennis!
    Now I have to buy a collet block lol
    Beautiful pieces (as always) have you a pic with that last stone set?
    Looks gorgeous
    Nic x
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    42

    Default

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial and great photos.

    I especially like your 'Cone Shaped Collet' design. May I ask if you have any tips for shaping the bottom of the collet where it joins the ring shank? I always find this very difficult and wonder whether there are any clever ways of doing it...

    Best wishes

    Nina

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
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    Default

    Thank you Nic, nice to have you back here. I knocked the ring up on Sunday morning just for this thread, and then found my CZ selection a bit low, so I'll get a bigger stone today and post the result.

    Hi Nina, it is a perennial problem to fit any collet to a shank. Briefly the answer is to use a round file with the same diameter as the shank. For shanks made of flat strip the curve goes the other way and having filed the shape roughly, I wrap abrasive paper around a mandrel until it ends up the right size and use that.

    Kind regards to both, Dennis.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    42

    Default

    Thanks for the advice, Dennis.

    Nina

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    3,168

    Default

    Lovely work as usual Dennis. Good to see you back Nic. I've been wondering where you were.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Felmersham, Near Bedford
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    943

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by caroleallen View Post
    Lovely work as usual Dennis. Good to see you back Nic. I've been wondering where you were.
    What she said!!!

    Lorraine

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    247

    Default

    Dennis thanks for taking the time and trouble to write this, it's invaluable to a beginner like me

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
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    4,850

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    I knocked the ring up on Sunday morning just for this thread...
    Thank you Dennis - your method is far more efficient than mine of "meaning to get around to photographing..."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Co Armagh N.Ireland
    Posts
    43

    Default

    Thanks for the info Dennis. I am attempting some simple bezel settings using 0.5 ss strip. Should I be using fine silver ? I was advised to cut my own strip from sheet because commercial bezel strip is flimsy as you say but I thought fine silver would be just as flimsy because it is soft.
    I have practiced with copper which worked out fine, but on my first attempt with silver I melted the bezel strip when attaching to the back plate ! Given the price of silver I have gone back to copper & gilding metal for more practice.
    Also, I have been given a pretty cabochon which is trapezoid shape. I am not confident about the corners. I was thinking if I lightly cut a mm or so at each corner it would rub over without creasing - wishful thinking?
    Regards, Mia

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