Inlay very small dots technique

Golabekrafts

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Joined
Oct 25, 2021
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30
First Id like to thank anyone who reads this and can offer me any suggestions.

I recently became interested in engraving as I'm working on a wakizashi sword, and after making some menuki using small files and one flat chisel I had made a while ago, I wanted to attempt some engraving on the tsuba. Primarily the part I'm not sure of how to approach is making small dot inlays for a constellation pattern inlay I'd like to do. The material the tsuba is made of is wrought iron, which from my extremely limited experience seems to work well. I'm wondering what would be the best way to form the hole for the inlay material to go into, the dots will be about 1-3mm in diameter, and will be inlaid with either gold, bronze, or silver depending on how my practice piece goes and what color Id like.

From the reading I've done it seems there might be two ways, but I havent seen any explanations or videos of this type of inlay shape yet.
1. punch with a very small flat round punch an indentation for the inlay, and then with another small punch form a bead around the edges of the hole
2. with some kind of very small graver cut a hole, and then undercut the sides.

How should the tooling for either of these be made? or is there a better method? I've attached an example of my first inlay attempt with wrought iron and phosphor bronze, and a picture of the pattern im planning. The picture is just one version, and its not the complete drawing, which has a few changes, but it gets across the part that im wondering how to do best. I'm going to do practice with the exact same materials as the final piece before doing it so that I'm confident in my skills.
 

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PS_Bond

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Jan 5, 2007
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The way I know - ostensibly traditional:

Punch with a larger pointed punch to the diameter of your wire.
Use a narrower point to undercut the punched indent in 4 directions.
Cut wire to length. Seat & form with a concave-faced punch (like a beading tool, but larger...).

If that doesn't make sense, I'll blow the dust off the scanner & post the page in my notebook.

If you're less bothered about traditional methods, I'd use a drill and/or a ball burr for the first part.
 

Golabekrafts

Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
30
Ah perfect, I wasn’t exactly sure of the tooling needed, now it makes sense thank you! I’ll post my project on here once it’s done :). I’d like to do it traditionally.
 

John B.

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There are many ways to do this.
Looks like you are already getting good results by your enclosed pictures.
So I suggest that you stay with that technique.
One thing that you may find helpful.
To form a ball for inlay hold your wire in a vertical position.
Apply the flame of a propane torch to the bottom of the wire.
It will form a ball and with practice and manipulating the flame heat, you can form the various sizes of balls.
Best of luck with your interesting project. please post pics of the results.
 

DanM

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Nov 15, 2006
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186
Location
Minnesota
Zogan inlay,drill correct size hole,insert correct size wire,clip off wire approx.1mm above hole, hammer top of wire with brass rod flush.
 

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