Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tutorial - How NOT to make a bezel in 30 steps!

Hi folks! So there are so many wonderful tutorials out there on how TO do something. I decided to do a non-tutorial to make light of an otherwise maddening situation. :D

So I have these fantastic beads that I've wanted to bezel set ever since I got them. The reason I got them was to set them. You may recognize them from this old post. At the time I didn't have the skill set but I knew I would someday. Not sure that day has yet fully arrived. lol. This has been operation in frustration, but I will prevail! Without further ado!

Tutorial - How NOT to make a bezel in 30 steps!

Step 1: Do not measure your stone before ordering your metal sheet (26 gauge). That way when you decide to get the sheet cut down to certain dimensions you won't realize that now your bead will not fit onto the sheet and you will have to get *creative*. Oops.

Step 2: Make more work for yourself by now having to solder together two pieces of sheet metal to make a backing larger enough for your stone. Do whatever stamping on the back now because later would be extra difficult.

Step 3: Note that this would have been Step 1 if you'd not screwed up the whole metal sheet size thing. Wrap your fine silver bezel strip around your stone. Realize that you really like the wide strip that you got from your metalsmithing friend Carolyn and wish you'd ordered more of that because if you somehow manage to mess this bezel up, you don't have enough for a new bezel...

Step 4: Feel relief that your bezel is a good fit. Pat self on the back because by this point in time, girl you need it!

Step 5: Attempt to join your bezel to your backing sheet. After several unsuccessful attempts, a break, a snack, a cry and a good old fashion scratching of the head in confusion, realize either your bezel or your sheet is not flat and you forgot to check that.

Step 6: You realize that steps 1 &2 led you to this point. Did I forget to mention up top that joining those two sheets pretty much ensures your sheet won't be flat and you'll spend time not only joining these pieces together but also flattening sheet? I didn't mention it? Probably because I didn't realize it until I got past Step 5...

Step 7: Anneal (heat up metal so it is more malleable) your metal, cool it and then whack the heck out of it to get it flat. Whack the edges as opposed to the center so your metal won't bow out. See? There is actually a bit of good information in this silliness. While doing this, simultaneously do the following:

a. hope that you do not wake your son
b. hope that you do not upset your neighbors
c. pray a prayer of thanks that your hubs is out of town so you can stay up FOREVER trying to fix this
d. contemplate whether or not staying up FOREVER is wise. After all Team Belfry is down one parent.

Step 8: Sand your bezel a little bit using figure 8 motions on each side to make sure its flat and even.

Step 9: Say a prayer to your God of choice. Heck, to everyone's gods for that matter. One has got to pay off right?

Step 10: Attempt to join bezel to sheet again. See that it worked in one tiny spot but not the whole way around. Why? Oh yeah, you got tired of whacking the metal to get it flat and said "eff it, I'll make it work."

Step 11: Another attempt at joining the pieces. Things are looking good. Oh f*@! You melted part of the top of your bezel.

Step 12: Get to *creative* thinking. Remember you don't have enough to make another bezel!

Step 13: Flip the bezel down so that the melted side will now have to somehow magically attach the the sheet but the non-melty side (technical term) will look good on top!

Step 14: Get the bezel all soldered except that gap.

Step 15: Eureka!!! Stick a scrap of fine silver in the hole. Heat that baby up and pray!

Step 16: Shed tears of joy!!!

Step 17: Drill some holes if you are like me and like to fiddle around with putting the stone in the setting but then want to be able to take it out before it's actually set.

Step 18: File the heck out of the back until there is no line. Pat self on back.

Step 19: Attach ring shank. No problem!

Step 20: Don't leave well enough alone. Heat the piece up some more. This sort of craziness does not happen when you are asleep at 2AM!

Step 21: Sugar.Honey Ice Tea. You heated it too much and the ring shank fell over and is now attached to the bezel in *the* most incorrect way.

Step 22: Cry some more. You are so upset you forget to take a picture to document for your untutorial. Here is a drawing:

Step 23: Saw ring off cursing the whole time. Curse everyone's god but your own because you know where your bread is buttered.

Step 24: Make NEW ring. Solder to bezel back.

Step 25: Clean this bad boy up. File, tumble, all that good stuff.

Step 26: Finally set stone!!!!

Steps 27-30: Have a stiff drink. A mugful even. Just kidding. Mostly.

Will be in the shop later today. See post below for more shots!


Gemheaven said...

OMG Nina I laughed so much reading that ~ naughty have you been watching me bezel set??

miznyc said...

LOL Jo! I'm glad you liked it! Though it would please no end to have witnessed this in Cornwall I'll have to settle for us being kindred spirits. :D

Anonymous said...

That is the most awesome thing I have ever read! Sounds like my entire weekend!!!!

CarolynArtist said...

LOL Nina! Congrats! I hope you liked working with Nick!!! Your ring is fab, after 30 steps!!!!!!

Wendy said...

this is one of the best things I've ever ready--bravo!!! more funny posts--please!

novadesigns said...

Awesome Nina! I am so glad that I am not the only one who does these things.... The ring shank that fell over is classic... I've done that a couple of times :o)

Janice said...

Oh gracoius. But YAY you! You stuck to it!! You get a star for that ya know. :)

I would have stopped at OOPS and sold it as a pendant. ;-)


miznyc said...

lol. Carolyn - Nick is great teacher and what a sweetheart! Plus his accent was great. I love how he says "solder."

Janice - which oops? There were so many!!!! ;D I was close on the last oops to just leaving it as a pendant...

Anonymous said...

This is so funny and sadly, I have been there...many times.

wireddesign said...

Thank GOD it's not just me! Love it!

K S Jewellery Designs said...

Great blog post! However, I think I would have resorted to a stiff drink much earlier! Anyway, perseverance paid off, you made a fabulous ring.
Kristin :)

CatherineS said...

Wonderful blog post!! I've never thought of doing an untutorial with all of my screw ups... it's nice to know that I'm not alone!

Thanks for the smile!!

ambika said...

Having just learned how to do this, this was a reassuring read!

Jenn said...

THAT was pretty funny...great way to document "lessons learned"...funny and educational!

miznyc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miznyc said...

lol. Thanks Jenn! I had to laugh to keep from crying. Well to keep from crying MORE....

Alexandra Shariff Designs said...

Nina, this is awesome! I have made EVERY ONE of those mistakes! Just think, if jewelry making ends up not working out, you differently have a future as a comedian!~Gaynor

MmeMagpie said...

Fantastic story. If it makes you feel any better, after many years on the bench I STILL get myself into trouble with that one short sentence: "eff it, I'll make it work." So much pain can be avoided by staying away from that sneaky little thought :)