Inlay tips

Ray Cover

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Nov 14, 2006
Here are diagrams of different ways to set up inlay channels vor wire inlay.

First let me say that in everything dealing with mechanical properties and the laws of physics there are trade offs. To gain in one area you often have to give something else up in another. That is why you have different people who prefer different approaches to this. We all have different strengths and weaknesses in our abilites and we all end up choosing methods that help overcome weaknesses and play to our strengths.

The first method is the method I generally use for line inlay. Here is my reasoning why.

I choose the 90 angle for two reasons.

1. it cuts deeper than the 120 when making the same width line. Also I find that the anlge of approach is better for making effective undercuts that grip tight yet still leave a strong opening to the channel to prevent collapse.

2. The corner "A" that is presented on a channel that has had the sides "squared up" on it is precarious at best. That corner is asking to be damaged and eventually you will get the graver into it and mess it up, especially on small tight radi. Whereas an angled side like on the 90 you you can scrape that and not do too much damage because you have a lot of meat that resits the graver edge cutting it. That doesn't mean you can't mess it up just that the mechanical set up is stonger and better resist dammage when we humans come along and do something stupid.:rolleyes:

I do use that last method but only on tiny things like dots or very small circles. The reason it is not my general choice is that this method displaces the metal. That metal has to go somewhere and following the path of least resistance it goes up altering the surface of the metal. This method will hold gold but I have two major problems with it.

1. When that displaced metal on the edges of the channel is hammered in with the gold wire, where does it go? The logical answer is, right back where it came from. Of course, not all of it goes back because you have gold in the way. However, since the gold is generally much softer than the metal it is going into it stands to reason that as the steel is punched back down it is squishing the gold back out of the channel. It can't push it all out but I wonder how tiny of a footing is left to actually hold the wire in.

2. Unless the gold is all squished back out of the footing there is still displaced metal left at the surface of the inlay. To make it worse, unless you have been very consistent in hammering things back into place you risk having a ragged edge at the top of the inlay. Now for most people this is not a problem on flat surfaces like practice plates. But on shperical or cylindrical forms it can be very dificult to make sure you are hammering everything down evenly and from a consistent angle.

Like I said these all work. Try them all and find the one that works best for you. Hopefully the drawing will be helpful in seeing how they are supposed to be set up.



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