Professional Jeweler Archive: Milling a Wax Bezel for Custom Designs

December 2003

Professional Bench/Tool Tips


Milling a Wax Bezel for Custom Designs

Foredom's AllSet Model Maker's Milling Assembly helps you make a bezel for a custom design


Bill Holman uses modern technology to create his line of jewelry featuring drusy gemstones. Wanting his designs to be unique but not competitive with the natural beauty of the free-form gems, he creates one-of-a-kind masterpieces using Foredom’s AllSet Model Maker’s Milling Assembly.
1. To understand the direction Holman will take with this project, here’s a look at his finished wax bezel, the custom router bit he created to make it and the drusy gemstone he will set.
2. Holman uses the AllSet Milling Assembly (A) to smooth and prepare a slab of carving wax by truing and smoothing it. From the wax slab (B), he cuts a 6mm strip and reattaches it so it will be easier to hold while milling.
3. He selects a 2-in. length of 1/8-in. brass rod. After creating a perfectly flat top and bottom, he inserts the rod into the Foredom #30 handpiece. He uses a #4 small round file (C) to shape the rod (D) while it’s spinning in the handpiece.
4. Using a large #2 flat file with safe edges, he files the shaped brass rod flat on opposite sides (E) to within 1.0mm, creating the cutting edge for his custom-made router tool.
5. Holman uses Foredom’s AllSet Model Maker’s Milling Assembly to cut the custom bezel shape into the wax. He is able to control the depth of the cut and keep it uniform by placing the wax against the milling assembly guide (F), milling it from one end to the other (G).
6. The custom-made wax is cast in 18k yellow gold. After prefinishing the bezel, Holman forms it around the drusy and finishes the masterpiece.
7. The Foredom AllSet Model Maker’s Milling Assembly is available as a kit with or without the AllSet body attachment (H). This photo shows how it was set up for the bezel milling (Step #5) with the remaining parts from the kit. The kit can be set up in at least seven ways to accomplish unlimited milling, sanding and drilling tasks for wax and precious metals.

Call Bill Holman at (972) 702-0606 for information on this process. To see a selection of his designs, visit him in booth 2313 at the AGTA GemFair in the Tucson Convention Center Feb. 4-9.

This installment of Tool Tips was sponsored by Foredom, Bethel, CT. For information on Foredom tools, equipment and accessories or for a list of distributors, contact Michael Zagielski at (203) 792-8622 or sales@foredom.com. You also can get information about these and other Foredom accessories at www.foredom.com. Click on the “Accessories” page.

By Mark B. Mann

Technical contributions by Bill Holman, Holman Design Group, Dallas, TX

Procedure Photographs by Jeffrey Mathews, Product Photographs 6 & 7 by Mark B. Mann

©2003 Visual Communications

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications