Recently I had the pleasure of deleting myself from my studio and adding myself to Myra Perrin‘s home studio for two days. She was hosting goldsmithÂ MichaelÂ David Sturlin for several days of workshops. My interest was piqued by a “Heavy Bezel” workshop. Without further consideration into what that meant, I enrolled myself. It turns out we were doing exactly what the workshop title promised – we made heavy bezels for gemstones. The examples here show the use of 16 gauge (1.25 mm) sterling silver sheet to make the bezel and 18 gauge (1.09 mm) as a back plate.
In the workshop, all of us students revisited measuring with precision and testing out underused Pi muscles. We filed piles of silver dust – hours of carving away metal to reveal the prongs you’ll see in the photos. No soldering here – these prongs were created simply through the careful sawing and the use of needle files and escapement files.
Most of the time I was intent on doing a lot of talking with Michael, Myra, and my wonderful fellow students. I was like an animal led to water, thirsty for not only knowledge, but the sharing of experiences with like-minded metal lovers. Â This all led to me not quite finishing the piece I was working on. But, when it’s finally ready, I promise to post a photo of the completed work.
Be sure to check out the photo, below, of the jeweler’s saw frame. Look carefully, and you’ll see a file loaded in the blade location. It represents a tip that Michael passed along. This particular file is called a chenier file, or a joint needle file (and likely known by some more names) and is often used when making a “U” shaped slot into which the knuckles of a hinge are soldered. The edges of this file are slightly rounded and contain the cutting surfaces. The broader, flat sides of the file are normally where you’d see these cutting surfaces. But on this file, they’re smooth, or “safe.” This makes for a very handy tool adaptation to assist in filing level and straight across two bezel surfaces.