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 Newbie Inlay Beginning

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Kentucky Colonel
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PostSubject: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 17th 2017, 10:26 am

I tried my hand, finally, at doing a silver wire inlay on wood today. 
I have the wire in the wood and its soaking in spit and water to lock it in 
as I write this.

It took me quite awhile to gather tools, ideas, and confidence enough to try. 
But, those darn inlays on stocks are SO purty. I knew I had to give it a go and 
see if I had any potential at all.

So, this is kindergarten, baby steps... If you really know your stuff? Please, 
don't laugh. But, I can't be the only unskilled BP lover here so someone might 
be interested in the remedial level.

I decided to work on the shooting block I made using only a furniture scraper, drill, 
and a nice piece of walnut I bought as scraps from Clay Smith. For 15 bucks, he'll 
send a box of nice hard wood scraps from his rifle making. 

Nice Box of Rifle Stock Scraps From Clay Smith

I got walnut, cherry, maple, and oak to play with. I have been using these pieces to test stains, 
new carving skills, grits, and now inlays before daring to touch a real rifle blank.

I found a couple videos on Youtube made by Paul Hamler that I found helpful. 
If I can follow them, you can be sure they are good for the beginner. I am using a mix 
of newly purchased and borrowed tools. My friend Herb loaned me some of his.

Once I knew I was ready to try, I had to select a design. I wanted to pick something related 
to my family roots. I needed to keep it really simple. A lot of the nicer stuff goes way beyond a 
simple uninterrupted line of wire. Finding a good design was more difficult than I anticipated.

After a while, I settled on an ancient symbol carved into stones in Ireland. I have traced roots to near 
the the location these were found. I avoided some of the more complex celtic designs. This is what I 
based mine on.

Ancient Irish Stone Carvings

Below is a pic of the wood as I wait for the wire to lock in. 

A Beginner's Inlay Based on Ancient Irish Stone Carvings

I learned quite a bit doing this and am quite confident that my next effort will be more under my control. 
The selection of such a forgiving design was a very helpful thing for me. The lines did not need to be perfect 
for it to remain valid. This allowed me to learn, accept, and move more surely.

If you use the video? I had to use light mallet strikes to go deeply enough into the wood. I could not simply 
use my hand strength like Mr. Hamler did. I also did not make my own tools like Mr. Hamler did. So, that might 
be the difference.

If there is an interest, I will show the result. I still have work to do.

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over the good fortune of others." 
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Last edited by Kentucky Colonel on August 21st 2017, 10:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 17th 2017, 12:36 pm

Walnut is quite a hard wood. It might be easier learning with a piece of pine or poplar. The groove might be able to be done in those woods without using a mallet.?

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BrownBear



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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 17th 2017, 12:50 pm

Wish he was still alive (for lots of reasons), but especially to weigh in. A once-upon-a-time bud was a master knife builder, right down to having his own furnaces and hammer forges. Master stock maker too, and he brought the two together in his decorative work on knife woods.  Worse yet, I never bought one of his knives!  Egads.

But I spent time with him in his shop as he worked on several occasions, one of which was when he was doing wire inlays.  Wish too, that I remembered more of what he had to say. But one recollection stands out.  He made all his own inlay tools, and they were quite a bit smaller, and especially shorter than yours.  He felt that long inlay tools added to mistakes, so his were only about 3" long. And he always used a mallet.  None of his blades were as wide as your biggest two, either. He said that especially for harder woods, wider blades forced you to use waaay too much force. He also use larger stock than your tools are made from, feeling the extra weight helped limit or eliminate any tendency of the tools to bounce when struck by a mallet.  He also had an array of mallets ranging from small to large, swapping between them depending on the wood hardness. He always used a mallet, but didn't want big hammer swings while still accomplishing each press into the wood with a single hammer strike.

His work was often very finely detailed with lots of turns, twists and points, so maybe that had to do with is preference for narrower, shorter tools. Many of his points were "fine tuning" beyond what you're doing there, but might be useful as you move forward.

Just food for thought as you go forth. You might explore some of his insights.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 17th 2017, 3:45 pm

I enjoyed hearing from both of you. 

Bob, walnut is denser... and more brittle/chippy. I need to use hard woods that match the density I will be carving. Pine is too soft to let me 'feel' how much difference there is- going with the grain and across the grain. If I practiced on pine, I know I would goof up harder wood later.

BB, that rings true from the little I have done. I had already decided I needed sharper tools. I used a sharpening stone while working on this one. I already decided a needed a smaller chisel. The video I watched also told how to make your own tools. Hmmm...I enjoyed your memories of your friend. They were helpful. 

I finished the inlay. 

I did not own a Dremel. I went to buy one at Walmart and found a much cheaper option. So far, it is doing the job. I only paid 18 bucks
 for it. It has a cord, is variable speed, and came with attachments. I saved a lot compared to a Dremel. It is made by Hyper Tough.

So, I ground the silver down slowly being careful not to let it get too hot. I used the wrong attachment once and recovered from the slight problems with a return to the right Hyper Tough attachment, the finest grade sandpaper I have, and some 0000 steel wool. Each time I got impatient, I caused myself a slight problem. Once I slowed down, it was all good.

After Removing the Proud Silver

When I was satisfied, I hit it with one coat of Tung Oil. Below, you can see the results. 
(I did not use the bigger chisels in the picture below. They were just out) 


Walnut Wood With Tung Oil Sits On Walnut Wood Without Tung Oil

I really enjoyed this. (This could be dangerous.) I did exactly what I intended to do. 
I am satisfied with the results. It feels great to the touch. You'd never know it was there 
from feel. I learned a lot from doing it. I know I can do it easier and better the next time. 

This seems to come easier to me than some things do and it is exciting to imagine 
the possibilities. I'll look for another design to try.

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"One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy 
over the good fortune of others." 
― Robert Heinlein


Florida Muzzleloaders Association 
Central Florida Muzzleloaders 
Green River Rifle Works Collectors Association
NMLRA
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 17th 2017, 5:56 pm

Do you know a dentist (I hope so!). Ask him for a catalog from his supplier, Schein is the one I got. 

Many years ago dentists actually did lab work themselves, some still do. Dental instruments are very small and they have slow-speed burs in all shapes, chisels too. Ask your dentist. He may even have some left over from Dental School and I'm sure he never used them again after he got out. 

A slow-speed dental engine is WAY better than any Dremel. I got one second hand and it helps me with lots of repairs and lightening trigger pull, etc.

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 17th 2017, 6:37 pm

That turned out very well!  Lots to be proud of.  Never even considered doing it myself, but now you have me thinking about loading blocks. And maybe a knife or hawk handle.  Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 18th 2017, 6:22 am

Pretty tedious operation but beautiful when complete.  Looks to me like you're doing great!

When I went down to Alabama for my muzzy rifle build class I took a picture (poor camera man) of Jim Parker's rifles with the wire inlay.  He did some beautiful work:



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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 18th 2017, 9:03 am

Beautiful rifles! I couldn't shoot one of those without boogering it up somehow.

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 19th 2017, 3:27 pm

Joe, your pics got me thinking so I went looking...

I like these two patterns. Light, elegant, and simple silver lines. I will likely use them for inspiration. 




Points for who can ID the maker. HINT: I am betting BB has a better than average chance of guessing. 
This rifle has a name. Liberty's Hammer.

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"One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy 
over the good fortune of others." 
― Robert Heinlein


Florida Muzzleloaders Association 
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NMLRA


Last edited by Kentucky Colonel on August 19th 2017, 3:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 19th 2017, 3:52 pm

You have to start somewhere.  Keep on practicing and let your imagination take over!

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Semper Fi……..

Pennsylvania Fowler Flintlock .62 Cal (46" Oct to round barrel)
Isaac Haines .54 cal. (38" swamped, 1:66 twist barrel). Build in progress
Investarm Hawken .54 cal. Percussion
CVA Accura MR nitride .50 cal. - 2-8x32 Nikon Monarch 3
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 19th 2017, 4:13 pm

A little of Doc White's craftsmanship at age 82 years young.







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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 21st 2017, 10:44 pm

A minor correction. I already changed it at the top. Clay Smith rifle wood scraps are only 15 bucks. I misremembered the price. 


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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 23rd 2017, 6:21 am

You,,,, You.... You forgot what you paid.... affraid   Rolling Eyes

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 23rd 2017, 11:51 am

I don't think I'd have the patience for all that snazzy stuff lol. Good luck kc, that's really fine work. As with everything, practice makes perfect.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   August 23rd 2017, 1:10 pm

@Kentucky Colonel wrote:
Clay Smith rifle wood scraps are only 15 bucks.

Smith sounds like a smart guy.

A few years back I was camped at Zion NP, and a family moved in across the road.  Each night they'd pull apple boxes of wood scraps out of their rig and have a nice fire.

When they were packing up to leave the guy asked me if I wanted their leftover "fire wood."  I accepted and next thing I know he and his teen-age son arrived with two more apple boxes.  I about shat my pants!  Each box was full of hunks of highly figured maple and walnut, plus a bunch of cherry and others I couldn't begin to identify.  Turns out the guy was a high-end pro furniture builder and they saved his scraps all year for their annual camping trip.  If your $15 is per hunk I acquired something close to $2k worth.  Of course that meant the 4 boxes they burned translated into $4k worth of campfires.  Egads.....
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   October 8th 2017, 5:35 am

How's the project going KC ??? Question

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   October 8th 2017, 7:26 am

conner wrote:
How's the project going KC ??? Question

Pretty steady and interesting for me. I tried a new method and ran into some problems that I over came. 
Look at the thread "An Accidental Powder Horn." That is where I have been discussing the latest inlay stuff. 
Go toward the bottom for the inlay stuff.

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"One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy 
over the good fortune of others." 
― Robert Heinlein


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NMLRA


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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   October 8th 2017, 9:38 am

You GO, KC. I've never attempted inlay or carving. Probably never will. Too chicken.

   -Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie Inlay Beginning   October 8th 2017, 9:54 am

Agreed, too busy with other things.... Laughing

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