How to Make a Ring Shank and Bezel in Wax

12 carat Citrine Hammered Sterling Silver Cocktail Ring - Bezel Made From Wax Then Cast in Sterling Silver

12 carat Citrine Hammered Sterling Silver Cocktail Ring – Bezel Made From Wax Then Cast in Sterling Silver

Webster’s says that a “fillet” is a concave junction or molding between two surfaces forming a reentrant angle. To this I’d like to add that a nice smooth smillet is highly desirable in a number of places on jewelry castings but difficult to form on the wax model — for me, nearly impossible until recently. I’d dob a lot of wax around the base of a prong or ring shank, and depend on a lot of filing and grinding on the casting to get the desired results. I knew there must be a better way to make a ring shank with bezel, one in which the fillet could be added to the model so that it would make a strong smooth junction, requiring a minimum of finishing operations on the casting. But, in spite of a lot of experimenting with a hot needle point, other tool shapes, and other techniques, I could not come up with satisfactory results.

Then, about a month ago, I started a ring that needed a nice even concave curve between a free form bezel and the ring top, and out of necessity thought of a promising idea after failing twice with wax and a hot needle point. Plastic figures are often burned out for casting replicas. Epoxy is a plastic. Epoxy flows and sticks to nearly everything. Why not try it?

Bezel Formed in Wax then Lost Wax Cast in a Vacuum Casting Machine

Bezel Formed in Wax then Lost Wax Cast in a Vacuum Casting Machine

On the third attempt, I lightly tacked the bezel to its base by barely touching a hot needle point to the junction at a few places. Then I mixed up a couple of drops of epoxy and, with a sharpened toothpick, applied a line of epoxy all around the bezel strip at the junction. To do this, a small drop of epoxy wax picked up on the point of the toothpick and spread carefully along, then another small drop was picked up and applied, beginning where the first drop ran out. I found it was easy to make either a very tiny fillet, or a fairly wide one, by regulating the amount of epoxy used. As first applied it wasn’t too smooth, but the surface tension and wetting action of the epoxy soon drew it into a perfectly smooth and even fillet. It was then set aside to harden.

It worked so well on the bezel that I tried the same idea in attaching the ring shank, tacking it in place and then applying epoxy. Again the results looked better than anyone could reasonably hope for.

So far, so good. The wax model was a dandy, but would it burn out, and cast as nice as it looked. It should, and after impatiently awaiting results, it did. This radically new procedure of combining wax and epoxy passed the test with flying colors. The casting came out so perfect that it needed little work except polishing.

Give it a try. It was a complete and perfect answer to an aggravating problem in wax work. No fooling!