in this instructable, learn how to make a bezel set silver pendant and a silver wire worked matching necklace. this is an intermediate skill of silver smithing. you will need access to specific tools and have a basic understanding of soldering.
Step 1: Tools and Suffs Needed
the tools you will need,
small flat file
flat nose vice grips
metal shears or tin snips
small beveled head bezel hammer
bezel roller or burnisher (i use the burnisher )
hard silver solder
medium silver solder
soldering flux (i'm using liquid hardflux)
quenching bowl and water
a piece of sheet silver
raw hide/rubber mallet
some kind of stone or cabochon to set
lastly Snacks. snacks are important
Step 2: Measuring the Stone
firstly we are going to our stone and measure it with tape, so that we know how long to cut the bezel wire.
we need the tape at this point. take the tape and wrap a piece around the base or widest selection of the stone. when you go to cut the tape , make sure to cut it just a little bit longer than what the base is. this is to compensate for the size difference of tape to metal.
Step 3: Cutting the Bezel Strip
the first thing you want to do is make sure your bezel strip will be tall enough for your stone. the bezel strip i have here, is one i pre made using my wire rolling mill. you can order bezel wire , or you can hand hammer it out. trust me... hand hammering sounds cool but its a real pain. go with ordering premade bezel wire or invest in a rolling mill.
any how, next you will take the tape off the stone and fasten it down so that you can measure out the portion of wire that you will be useing. you will be cutting it a little larger than needed. better a little to long, than to short!
Step 4: Anneal the Metal
all right! time to play with the fire!! part one, clear Everything away from you, or move to a preferably non-flammable area. time to pull out the soldering screen and stand. we are going to anneal the bezel and your silver sheet. the piece i have here is half of an old silver quarter that i flattened with the rolling mill. we are annealing them to soften the metal for shapeing and flattening.
to anneal the sheet and bezel , you want to heat them at an even temperature till they glow. the bezel will of course glow quicker than the sheet.
i usually heat them for about 5 to 6 second once they begin to glow. we dont want to melt it, just get it good and hot! once that is done use some vise grips to tip the bezel and sheet pieces off the screen and into the quenching pot.
Step 5: Lose Tool That You Just Had for the Next Step, Find Random Snack Hiding Amongst the Stuff on Your Desk, Find Tool Again.... Moving On.
Step 6: Optional Steep. Granules
Granules are nice addtions to your work. they are easy to make and take very little time. this is how i make mine. there are many different ways. this is just how i do it.
start off with dragging out you fire brick, and placing several tiny piles of silver scrap. either wire or shavings from cutting sheet, what ever you have.
take your mini torch and heat each pile in turn. take your time and let the silver melt into beads.
pick them up with your tweezers and drop them in the quench pot too. for this project i made a total of 6 beads.
Step 7: Snack Time!!! and Organize a Little
have a snack! sometimes this process takes long than expected. have a drink, have a snack, and a stretch.
now we will organize a bit, put our granules in a small container with our stone so we don't lose them, and move unused things out of the way.... like that tape, lets just get rid of that now.
Step 8: Make or Review a Design
at this point you can make up a plan for a design, or review one you may already have had. make several different ones. explore your options.
Then, pick one you like the most and prepare for the point of no return!
Step 9: Measure and Cut.
measure your lines and where you want everything to be. draw it out, then make your cuts.
Step 10: Don't Waste. Save These for Another Time. They Would Make Great Earings!
save all your scrap. just a good idea.
Step 11: Flattening the Base.
next you are going to hammer the sheet. you want to use your chasing hammer here and hammer in small blows. you want this as straight and as flat as possible, to get a good solid solder with the bezel. i have a large flat piece of steal that i use to get my sheet as flat as i can.
Step 12: Fitting the Bezeel
back to this thing...
fitting the bezel,its a bit tricky and will take a bit of fuss. have a marker on hand, you will need it for final fit. take the bezel wire and wrap it around the stone, tring to get it evenly centered with the open end on the widest selection of the stone. now hold the bezel closed where it fits the stone the closest and mark the closure. this is where we will cut the excess off. so make double sure the mark you place to cut is correct fit.
Step 13: Shaping and Soldering
here we want to shap the wire as best we can, in to this semi oval shap with a some what flat bottom. this makes it easier to solder. once you have it shaped and bent to the point it will maintain a pressure on the ends, to hold them selves together; you're ready to start soldering.
put the bezel on the fire block and, taking the flux,(here i am using liquid hard flux) place some on the joining point. make sure the joint is flush and flat, to make for a clean solid solder. next thake your hard solder and place one or two small chips on the joint area. ( i have chips cut up already and i store them in this little box. the chips are very small, about 1mmX1mm.)
take your torch again and slowly begin to heat the whole bezel. do it slowly, otherwise the flux will heat and boil to quickly and sputter the solder chips right off. heat it slowly and the flux will begin to crystaliz. it will rise and fully solidafy around the bezyl. once it has reached this stage, go a head and get the heat fully on it. it will then , fall and melt and burn a bit. the solder should be visible again and be liquifying soon. make sure your not heating the whole bezel to much, as you dont want that to melt. point the flame only at what your heating. the instant the solder melts completely turn the flame off and using the tweezers put the bezel in the quench pot.
Step 14: Attaching the Bezel and the Granules
now its time to put it all tegether. you are going to place the base on your fire brick and pull out your torch again. make sure your bezel still fits your stone and has not been warped or smashed or suffered any other type of damage. place it on the base where you want it to sit. check for gaps. Have gaps? place bezel on your hard flat surface and take your chasing hammer and give it a few tapps here and there to straighten it out. once you have noo more gaps between bezel and base it's time to put the flux down/in. i use a liquid flux, because it's easier and i'm lazy.
make sure the entier inside seam is covered in flux. add you Medium solder chips next. one chip every millimeter or two all the way around is just fine. you can see in the picture how i set mine.
now figure out where you want to place your ganules. put a little flux there, place 1 solder chip for each granule you want to place. put the granule on top of the chip and make sure they are exactly where you want them to be.
yeah!! time for fire again!! you want to slowly and evenly heat the entier piece untill the flux crystalizes. just like with the bezel you wan to heat it slowly so it does not flash boil the flux. putting your chips back into place when the work is still hot sucks! trust me.
once the flux has crystalized you can really get on it with heat now. you still want to heat it all evenly however. watch the flux and when it falls, this is the only way i know how to describe what you are watching for, you will want to consentrate the flame on the different solder points. i usualy start with the bezel seam, then move to the granules in turn.
when soldering the bezel focus your flame at the seam and the solder chips. make sure to keep an eye on the bezel wire so that it does not get to hot. if you see it getting shiney and "mercury" like take your flame away NOW!! that means it's about to melt and that would just be bad M'kay... now solder sometimes takes a while to melt, and sometimes it will melt quickly. either way have patients. once it does melt, check your seam all the way around to make sure it all melted and you got a good seal. make sure to keep the flame still on the piece while you check. it should only take a second or two. good seal? great, no put that flame on your granules and heat those puppies up till you see their solder chips melt and the rest on the base securly. once you have them all done, toss it in the quench pot.
if by some chace one or more of the granules did not afix during the soldering , clean the spot where it should have been, either with a bit of steel wool, a small file, or the pickle pot. Or you can be like me and do all three and make sure that #@$$%& stays when you repeat the above steps for it again.
Step 15: Into the Pickle Pot to Clean!
now it's time to put your work into the pickle pot to clean all that nasty black "jewlers scale" off. my pickle pot is an old potpourri pot, filled with white vinegar. others use citric acid, or other low grade acids. I prefer white vinegar as it is cheap and easy to obtain.
you will next place your piece into a little jar or other non-metal container, so that it is easier to retrieve once its done pickling. now, in to the pot. hopefully you pluged it in to warm before getting to this point, even though i totally faild to mention that it needs to be hot... sorry. any how, leave it in there for about 15 to 20 min. to get good and clean.
Step 16: Lets Make a Bail Wire So We Can Hang Our Pendant!
now you will need a bit of silver wire. at least 19 gauge. you will need about and inch and a half to an inch and 3/4th inch long.
take your round nose plyers and make spirals on each end till it loks like this. bend it over at the center. figure out where you want it placed on the back of the piece. follow the soldering directions for doing the bezel and granules for attaching the bail wire. when done, one last time into the pickle pot.
Step 17: One Last Check
one last check to make sure everything is attached and solid. take some steel wool and remove what ever black "jewlers scale" is left on it, or leave it in the pickle pot a bit longer. honest the pickle will remove it all..... eventually....
at this point you will want to take a small file, and smooth your edges all the way around your base piece of metal. round those edges, making them even and remove any possible burs
Step 18: Setting the Stone
first take some dental floss , it's unabrasive and strong, and place it over the setting. put your stone in to test the fit. does it fit? yes? yeah pull it out remove the floss and continue on.
no? how baddly? if you can make it fit by adjusting the tilt of the bezel wire push the out till the stone can slip in. if it doesn't fit by a large margin you may have to heat the bezel up again and remove it and start over with a new bezel.
hopefuly the stone fits in. if it's a bit of a tight fit, thats fine. use your rubber/leather hammer to tap it down in all the way. be gental so as to not damage or harm the stone.
now you will use your bezel roller or burnisher to press the bezel against the stone. start and press on oposing sides back and forth till you have gone all around the stone. once done with that smooth it down all the way around using both your burnisher and the small domed bezel hammer. get it as smooth as possible. make sure the stone does not move or jiggle in the setting. if it does keep pressing that bezel down till it's tight.
Step 19: Making Your Chain
ok to make your chain you will need more silve wire and plyers. i'm not going to give instructions on chain making as there are already a bunch on here, and if you are to this point in silversmithing you probably already know how to. so i'm just going to say, make your chain and have fun doing it ^_^ lol
Step 20: Take It to the Polisher!!!
take your pretty to the polisher. in my case i have buffing pad put on an old bench grinder that polishes it up real real nice! if you do not have a polisher , steel wool will do the job. polish the pendant, then attach it to your chain you have made, or a nice piece of ribbon or a nice leather thong. any of those will work nicely.
Step 21: You're All Done!!
time to wear your pretty!!! or give it to a worthy person or sell it ^_^ congratulations you have made your first bezel set piece of jewelry! you are now on your way to being a true metalsmith!! yay!