How to glue on a bail

How to glue on a bail

                     My technique for attaching bails to cabochons

Supplies needed:

A battery operated Dremel drill, which can be purchased at hardware stores. 

Diamond drill bits, these can can be purchased from Lapcraft.com or Riogrande.com. Ameritool.com or Harbor Frieght has a complete inexpensive set of bits that start with 1 mm.

A glue on bail, these can be purchased at just about any wholesale or retail lapidary supply shop.  Riogrande.com has a nice varied supply.

2 part quick drying Epoxy, I use the HFT epoxy from Harbor Freight.

And of course a cabochon, if you don't have one, check out the Cabochons we have in this shop, if we don't have it we can probably make you one.

Start by roughing up the back of the bail.  I use a Dremel with a diamond pointed bit.

Glue on the bail:

Mix a 2 part quick drying epoxy, use equal drops and mix well for 1 minute (this is extremely important, 1 minute, it has to be well mixed).

Apply small amount to the bail, position it on the cab and press and hold it for a minute.

Give it several minutes to set then clean the excess glue off (use nail polish remover or acetone).  Within 2 minutes of placing the bail on the cab you can re-position the bail if it has moved, this is the last chance to do this before it hardens.

My final step, leave the piece set for 24 hours for maximum strength.

After a 24 hour drying period you can clean away any excess glue, use a razor blade to carefully cut it away.

I find when using the above procedure it is very hard to remove the bail once dried.  You can experiment by trying to force the bail off with a thumb, pushing on the bail.  I have broken cabs doing this and I have removed bails with a lot of force.  If they come off easy, you didn't mix the glue properly, the glue was old or you didn't press on the bail for at least 1 minute after gluing it on.  I think that dropping the cab on a hard surface may shock the cab enough to separate it from the bail, I haven't tried this.

Experiment and make several pendants and you will or should become an expert. 

A tip on the glue.  Throw away any glue that has been open for some time. I discard my tubes after several months.  During that time if I want to use them I squeeze out several drops before using the glue.

If you find that you can improve on this procedure, please send me a note.

Good luck.