Pin-Vise a.k.a. “Mini, Setting-Clamp”

by Gerry Lewy on August 15, 2012

Instead of using shellac and its inherent cleaning problems, there is another little item you can find in any jewellery supplier. It’s a pin-vise; this essay details all of it’s many capabilities. As you can see, I used a wooden handle for easier holding, or clamping of items!

Some time ago I was inundated with scores of little pendants to do some diamond setting. There would have been a waste of time to use shellac or any other less secure holding method. I went to my favorite tool supply house and noticed a pin-vise. It had a such a rudimentary metal, thin handle not made for the long hours of holding.

I bought this item removed the steel handle and transferred it with a tapered wooden handle, the kind that is similar to bedroom mattress legs. Now came the top section that was looking for detailed modifications. I drilled out two holes on its top of the jaws, and fitted little soft steel nails to accommodate the holes being drilled out. I had my jewellery friend to “brass solder” for full security, these two pins into the holes.

Not finished yet! I grooved out little notches in the steel pins to actually hold a little pendant. Tightening the “adjustable screw” it worked. I found out that over-tightening the screw could leave marks and disturb the finish of the gold. So I delicately rounded off the sides of the two grooved pins. I used a sanding disk (fine texture) and even Pumice wheels of #180 grit. It finally worked, and it has been “my friend” for many years!

I use it for “double gallery, earring studs”, unusual shaped pendants and earrings.

I noticed after that the “screw earring pin” does not come in any contact to any part of the mini-clamp.

Gerry Lewy

Gerry Lewy

With over 42 years experience as a stone setter, Gerald N. Lewy, president of Gemz Diamond Setting, is known throughout the diamond setting community as 'Gerry the Cyber-Setter'. Gerald Lewy started his 9-year apprenticeship with a jewellery manufacturer and tutored by a gentleman 'setter', in Haddon Gardens, London England. Gerald has redeveloped himself into more than a master setter; his purpose is now to be a teacher of the art as well. If you have any questions on Diamond / Stone Setting you can contact him through this blog

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

nabilo August 16, 2012 at 4:03

very interesting setting climp.
Thank you

Elliot Nesterman August 15, 2012 at 4:03

Really nice modification.
FWIW, this is listed in most catalogs as a hand vise, not a pin vise. Pin vises are either collet chucks on a handle or mini jacobs chucks on a handle, designed for holding small diameter rod and tubing.
Just saying,
If folks are looking for this little vise they’ll do better to search for “hand vise” than for “pin vise.”

Gerry Lewy August 15, 2012 at 4:03

Oh so many thanks for your genuine interest. Of course I do private instructions and also class-room teaching. In fact, I was in Kingston, Jamaica only 3 weeks ago..write back to me at “[email protected]” anytime you wish…Gerry Lewy!

Guy August 15, 2012 at 4:03

Cool customization!
I’ll try to find that type of pin vise too

silver August 15, 2012 at 4:03

What a real treat having a blog from you. A couple of months ago, I mentioned to friend who sponsors and gives classes, your name and the fact you doing setting classes. I can now refer her to your Blog to further peek her interest. ?????

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