Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
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Author:  Alan F. [ Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

Congratulations! But, remember that the making of jewellery is a skill, even though it requires a deep knowledge of chemistry, physics, metallurgy and optics, it resides in the fingertips and is acquired by constant practice, hence my recommendation to make things nonstop.
Soldering is also something that is best learned on the job, but following certain rules helps, joints must fit well, surfaces must be clean, heat away from the joint first, then heat the joint and remember that solder will flow towards the hottest part.
Polishing is something to be approached very carefully, first work out the hardness of the stones and of the polishing compounds, and also the particle size. Rouge and Tripoli (hardness about 7) are the usual compounds, safe enough with any stone harder than 7 but with soft stones care has to be used, rouge (which has a very fine grain structure) on a soft cotton mop is probably OK, but go slowly and check often. Skill and experience are the watchwords here.

Author:  Lefty [ Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

make things nonstop

Marjorie will be happy - she believes that one can never have too much bling :)

Flex shaft has a wide array of cutting burrs and grinding and drilling attachments - don't seem to be any polishing bobs or brushes with it. I'll have to grab some. I have a small bench grinder with tripoli on one mop and rouge on the other and it did a brilliant job of bringing the outside of the ring to a beautiful finish but I can't get to the inside properly without a polishing attachment for the flex shaft. I gave it a go with bits of dowel wrapped in soft cloth covered in tripoli but after lots of elbow grease the result still didn't come close to what the bench set up achieved in minutes (seconds really).

Author:  Alan F. [ Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

Whilst a flex drive is useful for many things, I like the big bench polisher for its feel and sensitivity. I presume you are using"pigs tails" (conical left and right threaded attachments that are fitted to the motor shaft) to attach your mops to the motor shaft? If not, invest in a set, they are very versatile and thin mops and felts to polish the inside of rings or other hollow items are reasonably priced and very effective.

Author:  Lefty [ Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

Yes, it has the pig tail attachments. I just wasn't sure how to get to the inside of the band but thinking about it now I think I see the technique.

They sure do get hot in your fingers while polishing!

Author:  Lefty [ Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

Just finished a plain band for my own finger - came out pretty well perfect. I wore it for a couple of hours and then took it off, there isn't much point in me wearing nicely polished rings considering what I do with my hands. My wedding ring is badly dented scratched and dulled. But I wouldn't mind making a gent's dress ring. That might need to wait until I get some wider silver.

I have some very small pre-made sterling bezel cups, I might have a go at soldering one to a band and setting a little cabochon in it.

Author:  Lefty [ Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

Is there any difference between the third hand used in jewellery making and the sort used in electronics work? Is a jewellers one made of something more heat-resistant or will one bought from an electronics store suffice?

Author:  Alan F. [ Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

The third hand is a very useful tool and the electronics type is the same as the jewellery one. However, there are interesting considerations, The stainless steel tweezers conduct heat well, so they can make soldering difficult by conducting heat away from the joint, on the other hand they can stop a first joint melting as a second joint is made, you can also get reverse tweezers (which will fit into the slot in the adjustable arm) made out of titanium, which is a very poor conductor of heat and therefore doesn't conduct heat from the joint.
Another point I forgot to mention, on my bench polisher I have fitted cowls which are connected to a vacuum cleaner. This keeps the workshop clean and catches the precious metal dust taken off items being polished. I take the dust bag to the refiners once a year and collect about £75.00. I am working on a workstation for the flex drive that will do the same job. Details to follow.

Author:  Alan F. [ Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

PM me your home address and I'll put some sketches of easy items in the post. A wide repertoire is very good advertising, and also good practice.

Author:  Lefty [ Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

Thanks Alan, that'd be good. Much appreciated.

I did make a band and solder that bezel cup onto it. I filed a little flat spot on top of the half round wire to make a bigger area for the solder to join. I ended up beating the pallion out paper thin and sandwiching it between the ring band and the cup and it seems to have formed a solid join. I cabbed a tiny little piece of crysophrase and set it in the cup. I was surprised that I actually liked the way it looked once it was on a finger - that style of ring, where a bezel cup is just soldered straight onto the top of the band has never really done it for me (but then I guess I'm not going to be the one wearing it) but in this particular instance the item is small - approx 5mmx6mm oval on a 3mm wide ring band - and once on the finger it looked good and in proportion and the fact that the cup just sits straight on top of the ring is not easily seen without closer inspection. The bright green crysophrase stands out well against the silver.

And that's another thing I've noticed, the background - including the piece itself - can enhance or detract from any stone set in it. The bright green crysophrase and the mid-light pinkish purple amethyst I set in the pre-cast ring blank both contrast beautifully with the silver surrounding them. Marjorie has rather fair skin which makes the stones on her fingers stand out further. Conversely, a couple that were members of the lapidary club I used to belong to found a beautiful golden-yellow sapphire at Tomahawk creek and had one of the club members facet it for them. They then had it set in 18ct gold as a present for their daughter. Upon seeing the ring, they immediately regretted putting it in gold - the gold coloured sapphire was simply lost on a background of gold metal.

I think I've cottoned on to how they construct a split-shank type ring - a band is first made from flat rectangular strap to the correct finger size and the half-round (or whatever type) of wire is then wrapped around the original band?


Author:  Alan F. [ Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

Absolutely right, the colour of the stone and the colour of the metal must be carefully considered, as indeed must the shape and style of the stone and the piece it is going into. Onward!

Author:  Lucy- [ Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler

For the US - I can't recommend New Approach School for Jewelers enough! Their three month programme is just incredible!

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