Nancy L.T. Hamilton

Welcome to: In the Studio with Nancy
Hi all!  Welcome to Volume 14.  In this volume, I'll be discussing, just a few, of the tools available for stone setting.  These tools can make your job easier and your wallet lighter! 

But first, some news:

I am honored to announce that I have been chosen to be on Rio Grande's Tool Advisory Board.  I start this month and am looking forward to the adventure ahead!

I'm also excited to let everyone know, that my YouTube videos have reached over 2,000,000 views! Such a shock to me! Also, my site is fast approaching 30,000 subscribers!  Thank you all for watching, liking and subscribing.  Without you, I'd be retired and on the couch all day! Damn, why am I happy about this?

  (Mouse by: Douglas Pryor) I'll be heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Santa Fe Symposium (this May, 2017) and afterwards, I'll be meeting the team at Rio Grande.  I return from New Mexico, collapse for a day, maybe wash some clothes, and then I'm off to Minnesota to visit my best friend, of a zillion years, as well as taking a 3 day chasing and repoussé class with Douglas Pryor, while I'm there. That man can raise metal!

I've been the director of Chimera Arts' Jewelry Studio, in Sebastopol, CA,  for over four years now and I'm pleased to see our hard work paying off!  We've had so much happening lately - our big move, two remodels, staff changes, new tools, flooding etc. I'm surprised we've had time to breathe.

 The studio is bustling these days.  It has swelled with new members, exciting classes and well-attended events. Soon, we will be starting our casting program and classes - thanks to generous donations and lots of help.  I'm going to be teaching soon - just don't know what yet - need to get on that!  Eventually, we'll be having weekend classes, as well as one day classes.

 Coming up:  The Enameling Meetup (May 11, 2017), hosted by Judy Pagnusat.  The meetup will be followed by Judy's enameling class: Introduction to Enameling on May 20th, 2017.

Amber (my "Minion", as I call her) is planning her hydraulic press class and that should be up soon!  Kelly is working on getting the glass bead and the glass blowing areas up and running. Hopefully, we'll be having classes in that area too.
We are also going to be having classes in designing with CAD jewelry programs as well as laser cutting for the rolling mill and 3-D printing for casting. You should check us out - you might be missing something!

I'm almost done with our pretty massive training manual for beginning jewelers. Next up: the advanced manual.  So much to write about!  And I wonder why I'm tired?

New Videos

I've released a few videos since the last newsletter.  The most recent being:  The Weird Movie: Tricks, Tips and Insanity in the Jewelry Studio.  It's odd but, filled with jewelry making information, tips and reviews.

Before the Weird Movie was: Painting Metal with A Torch - Torch Painting Experiments and How to Make A Bezel and Set a Cabochon, Part One and Part Two.

Posts from Facebook
Since people only see about 20% of their friend's posts on FB, I decided to list a few, hopefully helpful posts, from mine - just in case you were in the 80 percentile! Recent Favorite Artists from Pinterest (just a few!) 

Bezel and Prong Pushers

  Most jewelers are aware of the basic stone setting tools like a bezel pusher or a bezel rocker (top two in above image).  Do you also know that there is a prong pusher? A prong pusher has a rounded slot, cut into the end.  This slot keeps the prong from slipping during the setting process. 

The tools pictured above are not "ready-to-use".  They need to be finished first. Check the working edges of the tool and depending on how rough they are, use steel dedicated files to smooth then move through several grits of sandpaper: 220, 320, 400, 600.  Don't reuse the sandpaper with silver or base metals - keep it separate.  The steel filings can contaminate your metal and also get into your recycling container - potentially ruining any ingots you might make.

 (My prong pushers.)  Some like a polished pusher others like theirs to be slightly rough.  My thoughts on these preferences are that the polished pusher mars the setting less but, there is a greater chance of the tool slipping on the metal - hence, a roughened surface.  I would try both and determine what you like.  Maybe have both types for different setting scenarios.

  I use a tool, that I made for repousse, that I really like for setting larger bezels. Making a custom bezel pusher might help you with stone setting.

Pliers for Stone Setting
  There are a variety of stone setting pliers too. One type is called: Gem-Set Pliers.  Here's a video from Fire Mountain Gems on using the Gem-Set Pliers.

  Other types of pliers, Stone-Setting Pliers, (which are sometimes called "Parrot Beak Pliers"), are available.  Some have a groove on the interior of the plier jaw to help hold prongs or an actual split jaw.
  Using setting pliers.

 Grooved Stone Setting Pliers at Rio Grande.

Here's a video from Gulsah Boye, a long-time FaceBook friend and an incredible jewelry designer.  Her video is on prong setting and she is using, what look to be or are similar to, the Perfect-Set Prong-Closing pliers.      The Perfect-Set Prong-Closing Pliers (also, at Rio).  

  Rio also sells the Precision Prong-Opening Pliers as well as the Prong-Lifting Pliers (among others available there and elsewhere) for when you need to remove a stone.

Other Tools

  The Master Stone-Setting System (36 punches), Stone-Setting System (24 punches) and the smaller (and cheapest) Stone-Setting System (18 punches) are awesome tools for small bezel and tube setting jobs. The tool will also work for some prong setting situations.  Prices (as of today - May 8, 2017) run from $225.00 - $57.00.

You can either use the tool as a punch or a burnisher. As a punch, you place it over your setting - no handle needed - and hammer, while turning the tool in a circular motion.  You can also use it as a burnisher:  place the tool in the handle and push down while moving the tool in a circular motion.  Rio has a video on its use. This tool makes tube and small bezel setting, a breeze. 

  Stone setting stops are great for cutting seats for faceted stone setting.  The stops control how deep your cut is as well as helping you to create level cuts with your hart, setting burs or ball burs. 

  If you can't afford or don't want to shell out a ton of cash for a GRS Encore BenchMate system, this is a nice, inexpensive option for holding rings while setting: Multi-Angle Ring Setter's Clamp Set

I just purchased GRS's Multi-Purpose Vise for setting and other work.  I also purchased the Multi-Purpose Attachment Set to give me more options for holding my work.  Love it. 

There are many other stone setting tools and vises available!  I can't cover all of them in this email but, I hope I brought you some new ideas, that may help with your stone setting.

  (My "Yeah 1" ring)  As always, thank you so much for subscribing and for your wonderful support.  I really appreciate it!  Happy Creating!  
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