Fusing a Fine Silver Bezel

I have never soldered a bezel closed. From day one of my jewelry making experience I was taught to fuse a bezel closed. When you fuse a bezel the fine silver flows over your seam making it a permanent join. Overheating will not open it up as sometimes it can with solder. This is not a fusing tutorial but a trick I use to make sure the top edge of my bezel is a consistent thickness all the way around.

After forming a bezel (making sure the edges are butted together very well) most jewelry makers who fuse just heat the bezel seam with the feather tip of their torch and watch as the fine silver flows or skims over the top of the seam. Even with the utmost care, most times the seam line still shows and one must sand it away until the metal is smooth. In the fusing process, as the metal flows, the top edges of the bezel near the seam can become thinner than the rest of the metal. After sanding the bezel smooth there is a marked difference in the metal thickness when you look down at the top of the bezel. So here is my method of making sure that doesn't happen.

I always cut my bezel strip a little longer than it needs to be. As I cut my bezel strip to get it to the right size, I cut small little thin slivers of metal off rather than large pieces. Once I get the bezel to the correct size I place it on either a clean solderite board (used only for fusing) or a charcoal block with the seam facing upwards. You can either leave your bezel in its original shape or flatten it ever so slightly with a chain nose pliers just where the seam is. I then take one of the little snippets and I straighten and flatten it out and carefully place it over my seam. Look at it with the loop to make sure it is directly over the seam and is touching the bezel across the entire seam. Then fuse as you normally would. After the seam is fused all you have to do is file and/or sand the snippet off. By placing the extra piece of metal onto the bezel you are assured that the thickness of the metal will be the same all the way around the bezel edge.

Jill Hurant is talented artist and instructor. Learn more from Jill by taking her upcoming Fine Silver Granulation workshop!


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