Professional Jeweler Archive: New Channel Setting Tools Designed For Wax

January 2003

Professional Bench/Tool Tips


New Channel Setting Tools Designed For Wax

Setting gemstones into wax using precision tools and techniques increases the quality of stone-in-place casting and saves the time of setting gemstones into finished rings


Stone-in-place casting is growing in practice as manufacturers and retail manufacturing operations take advantage of these labor-saving techniques. Stone-in-place casting requires gemstones be set properly in the wax model before casting. Channel setting is used most often for round, baguette and princess-cut gemstones.

Though less time-consuming than setting stones in metal, the process of setting in wax is no less precise. The success of the cast piece depends greatly on the careful preparation of the wax models for stone placement. For this process, Euro Tool Inc., a tool and equipment distributor in Lenexa, KS, introduced a new kit of tools. The kit, called “Ready-Cast,” contains five precision quality hand-held tools designed to perform the basic functions to channel-set stones and perform general detail work on wax patterns before casting. Here’s what it looks like:

Kit of Tools

Ready-Cast, a kit of precision quality tools to channel-set gemstones and perform general detail work in wax.

Two Flat Tools

These two tools are designed to resize channels and to shape flat, square or corner areas on wax patterns.

Two Channel Tools

These two tools are designed to create a bearing in wax to channel-set 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 ones. The arrows indicate the part 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 create crisp, sharp detail.

Using the Kit:

The Wax Pattern

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

Using Flat Tools

Use the flat tools to even and smooth flat surfaces and areas with sharp corners. The flat tools are ideal to flatten or work corners of any designs with crisp and tight areas requiring precision.

Marking the Wax

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

Creating Bearings

Using the channel tools, create a bearing for each round gemstone. For baguettes or princess-cut gems, you can easily cut a continuous channel bearing. “A” indicates the part of the tool that cuts the bearing; “B” indicates a smooth, flattened surface that serves as a depth guide as shown in the diagram.

Wax with Gemstones Channel Set

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

This setting procedure works best for injected wax patterns that will be steam dewaxed. Carving wax is not used because it’s not suitable for steam dewaxing. 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 uses the kit to precut bearings into wax patterns before 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.

This installment of Tool Tips educational content was sponsored by Euro Tool Inc., Lenexa, KS. For information related to Euro Tool Inc. tools and equipment or for a list of distributors, call Tina Berry at (800) 552-3131.

– by Mark B. Mann

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

Photographs by Mark B. Mann
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