Help, please: Copper Inlaying techniques

Ryan138

:::Pledge Member:::
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
97
Hello everyone! I hope you are all reading this healthy and happy. I come today looking for help in setting up my plain for inlaying.
I have watched some videos on the topic and still am having trouble getting my desired result of the soft copper to actually “inlay”.

If anyone would mind explaining to me the technique you guys use to achieve this it would be greatly appreciated.
 

monk

Moderator
Staff member
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
10,169
Location
washington, pa
i have only inlaid copper into hobo nickels. only very small pieces were needed. very few, light hammer blows were used to clinch the inlays. one problem that can occur with copper inlay is "eork hardning". the more you hammer, the harder the copper becomes. my tiny inlays were done in undercut channels. i didn't hammer directly, i used smal brass punches to force the copper into the desired channels. how large are the pieces to be inlaid? you have to thoroughly annea the copper, or you'll likely have problems.
 

Ryan138

:::Pledge Member:::
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
97
i have only inlaid copper into hobo nickels. only very small pieces were needed. very few, light hammer blows were used to clinch the inlays. one problem that can occur with copper inlay is "eork hardning". the more you hammer, the harder the copper becomes. my tiny inlays were done in undercut channels. i didn't hammer directly, i used smal brass punches to force the copper into the desired channels. how large are the pieces to be inlaid? you have to thoroughly annea the copper, or you'll likely have problems.
Thanks for responding monk! It is actually for hobo nickels. I believe it’s 28g dead soft copper. I have a tool made for inlaying that a good friend made me but thinking about what you’re saying I am probably hitting it to hard and too much as it flattens fast. I think my biggest issue is my channels but I’m having a hard time grasping at how deep, and style I should approach to make them more beneficial. I haven’t found many videos explaining how but just showing the inlay so I’m really grabbing at straws in terms of what exactly they are doing.
 

jerrywh

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,032
Location
Baker City , Oregon
With copper it depends to a large degree on the size of the inlay. Copper will take teeth if the mother material is hard enough for the teeth to stand up but it usually isn't. The option to use for a copper inlay much larger than 3/16' in diameter is to do it in sections and alternate depths. Vertical walls for the cavities are best. The more shallow sections can be anchored to the deeper ones. One option is wire in a depressed section.
Consider that I am used to working on softer steel than most modern engravers are.
 

MoldyJim

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2015
Messages
181
Location
JUNCTION CITY OREGON
I have had some luck inlaying copper into softer metal. Not a pro by any means so take this for what it's worth...
Good undercuts are best, I didn't have a lot of luck making only toothed type inlays.

The copper has to be as soft as possible. The less alloy in it the better. Phosphor bronze work well, it's basically copper with phosphor added to drive off oxygen. Not really metallic alloy IIRC.

A firm first hit helps, locking the copper in place and not moving it again makes it easier to make it stick.
A textured punch to keep it from slipping is important.

I have a 1/4" punch with a fine checkering on the face. The material flows more on the side away from the punch. Seems to keep the top from expanding and focuses the expansion in the undercuts.

I have a small jewelers hammer with straight checkering on one end and diamond checkering on the other, it also works well to set inlays.

I'll see if I can find some picks to post later.
 

Dave London

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
1,717
Location
Colorado
Under cut the channel make the channel about 3/4 depth of wire diameter. anneal the wire just before use, copper just sitting around can be come hard MTC YMMV
 

Scottyd

Member
Joined
May 21, 2010
Messages
57
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
On larger pieces of copper or brass inlay on nickels I have cheated and used a little piece of low temperature solder in the channel to make sure it stays in. Please don’t beat me up as I realize it is blasphemy but I can only stand so much failure.
 

Benny

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2012
Messages
5
hey guys i also have a question about copper inlay. I have 0.8mm copper wire (brass). I would like to invest this in two numbers. Does anyone have experience with this? Which engraver should I use etc .....
 

Latest posts

Sponsors

Top