Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tripped Up Tuesdays: Feeling Uncentered

A slightly off center lapis stone. 
For my first try at bezel setting, this wasn't too bad.  However, you can see that the lapis shifted slightly while I was pushing the bezel sides in.  By the time I noticed, it was too late to fix.

Although I didn't realize it at the time, part of the problem was my tool:

A bezel roller.  Photo courtesy bestjewelrysupply. Ebay user.

This is a fairly standard bezel setter, but I don't have a lot of upper body or hand strength.  Using it, I found that I could only push the bezel sides in a micron at a time.  Typically, you want to firmly push each side of the bezel to form a square that "locks in" the stone.  With my wimpy pushes, I had inadvertently jostled the stone.  I was in a class, and I spent so much time trying to get the first stone set that I took the second bezel and stone home to finish.  Only, I forgot that I didn't have a bezel roller at home.  What I had instead, was this tool:

A used airliner burnishing tool

This tool is a much used burnisher that I purchased on e-bay.  Previously used on airliner innards, it was twice as big as the usual burnisher for sale on e-bay and much too big for my hands--or so I thought. I had nothing else to set the stone, however, so I tried it out.  It was fabulous!  It bent the silver like butter, and I quickly locked the second stone in:
This stone is perfectly centered.  I haven't yet created the rolled edge to give it a finished look
It turns out this large burnisher greatly improved my mechanical advantage.  If you find yourself struggling with bezel rollers, I highly recommend it.  That, and double-checking the position of your stones before it's too late.

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