Reviews: Practical Joining

Jewelry Artist magazine
Linda Kaye-Moses

Practical Joining: A Bench Reference for Jewelers is a manual designed for ready access to methods for joining many of the materials jewelers use. Author Tim McCreight suggests that no book on joining methods for jewelers can ever be considered complete, since the development of these methods is an ongoing process. The physical structure of the book, an easy-to-clean glossy cover with concealed spiral binding, and its small scale, add to its usefulness as a benchtop manual. The book is organized in chapters (Cold Connections, Hot Connections, Adhesives), each beginning with introductions and/or summaries, and is then divided into subsections devoted to specific methods.

Cold Connections covers tabs, staples, bezels, threaded connections, rivets, and other. Although bezels and some of the types of staples described are generally associated with a soldering process requiring heat to join them to the backplate, McCreight has chosen to include them with Cold Connections because the end use of a bezel or soldered staple requires them to be moved/burnished to secure the element being set. Since he deals with soldering in a subsequent chapter, it is a little awkward including these connections in this section without a reference to the later chapter. However, the information furnished is thorough and clear. While in some instances there is a need for more in-depth descriptions, this chapter does contain a number of interesting variations of the connections described. The sections on rivets and threaded connections (containing several screw and tap charts, and a description of the process for making threaded parts using metal clay) are particularly thorough.

Hot Connections deals with soft soldering, brazing, clean-up after soldering, and welding. Each method is discussed in detail, informative for the beginner and rich with data for the experienced jewelry maker.

Adhesives, more a summary than in in-depth exploration, describes the properties of the various types of these materials available historically and currently, without delving into specific applications. These discussions include natural glues, drying glues, thermosetting adhesives or epoxies, and specialty adhesives.

McCreight also includes an appendix, an abbreviated list of materials suppliers, and an index. There are three charts in the appendix: Equivalent Numbers; Melting Points; and Temperature Conversions - all pretty standard for most jeweler's manuals, though always useful for immediate reference.

Throughout the book, each method is accompanied by numerous illustrations. Suitably for a bench manual, there is no gallery section or images of finished pieces of jewelry. What is shown are images that clarify the information presented in the text. As always with Brynmorgen publications, the text is sometimes light hearted and always informative, making this bench manual notably user-friendly. It will be a perpetual reference tool for the processes of joining and connections for jewelry making.