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August 19, 2007

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| Home | Jewelry Making Library | Wax Carving | Small Tools

► Channel Setting Tools Designed For Wax

Technical contributions by JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler Steece Hermanson, shop manager for Galloway and Moseley, Sumter, SC

Copyright © Visual Communications, Inc. 2004

Stone-in-place casting is growing in practice with manufacturers and retail manufacturing operations taking advantage of these labor saving techniques. Stone-in-place casting requires gemstones be properly set in the wax model prior to casting. The most often utilized style of setting for this procedure is channel for round, baguette and princess cut gemstones.

Though less time consuming than channel setting stones in metal, the process of setting in wax is no less precise. The success of the cast piece is greatly dependent upon the careful preparation of the wax models for stone placement. For this process, Euro Tool Inc., a tool and equipment distributor has introduced a new kit of tools. The kit's named "Ready-Cast" and contains 5 precision quality hand-held tools that are designed to perform the basic functions for channel setting stones and general detail work on wax patterns prior to casting. Here's what it looks like:

These two tools are designed for re-sizing channels and for shaping flat, square or corner areas on wax patterns.

These two tools are designed for creating a bearing in wax for channel setting gemstones. The tool on the left is for gemstones measuring 0.01 to 0.06 and the one on the right is designed for larger sizes. The arrows indicate the portion of the tool that cuts the bearing.

Scraper

The scraper is designed to reach and shape the support bars of the wax pattern below the area where the gemstones will be channel set. Its flat, sharp smooth tip can flatten the bars and accomplish crisp, sharp detail.

Scraper

Here's a closer look at how the kit is used:

Using Flat Tools - Bird

1. After injecting the wax, check the fit of the gemstones. If necessary, widen the channels or true the channel walls with the flat tools.

2. Use the flat tool to even and smooth flat surfaces and areas with sharp corners.

3. The flat tools are ideal to flatten or work corners of any designs with crisp and tight areas requiring precision.

Using Flat Tools - Bird

Creating bearings

4. Mark your wax pattern with a grid to indicate where the bearing for each gemstone will be located.

5. Using the channel tools, create a bearing for each round gemstone. For baguettes or princess cut gemstones, you can easily cut a continuous channel bearing. The A arrow indicates the portion of the tool which cuts the bearing and the B arrow indicates a smooth flattened surface that serves as a depth guide as shown in the diagram.

Creating bearings

Wax with gemstones channel set

6. Using sticky wax, pick-up the gemstones and set them into the channel. Prepare the wax for casting.

Wax with gemstones channel set

This procedure works best for injected wax patterns that will be steam de-waxed. Carving wax is not used since it is not suitable for steam de-waxing. For the highest quality finished product, Ready-Cast's inventor prefers using a mixture of 50% Kerr Aqua and Blue Plastowax injection wax. He also reports using the kit to precut bearings into wax patterns prior to casting and setting the gemstones in the resulting cast products.

I found the tools in the Ready-Cast kit to be invaluable in the precision carving and finishing of wax models in general. The versatile shapes allow for sharp detail and clean-up in tight areas, producing finer castings and saving countless hours in metal finishing while lowering metal waste

All rights reserved internationally. Copyright © Visual Communications. Users have permission to download the information and share it as long as no money is made-no commercial use of this information is allowed without permission in writing from Visual Communications.

photographs by Mark B. Mann

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