Japanese Inlay Technique.

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May 17, 2018
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#2
Looks like he's using a straight liner stamp sharpened, and hardened, coming in angled and from varying directions to create undercut teeth over the work area. The steel has got to be very soft to allow it to be burnished down in that manner after the gold has been applied. Even so, I imagine he has to stop from time to time to sharpen his liner stamp.

The artist makes it look easy, but I'll bet it takes years to learn to do well

Very cool. I especially like the rust and tea bluing technique.
 
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highveldt

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#3
I viewed this video some time in the past. The final product was very lovely, but the durability of an inlay using this method did not impress me as being something that would withstand much use such as on a firearm. This being said, Japanese metal workers are masters of metal crafting (and I admire them) using techniques that have been developed for centuries and maybe I am missing something in this inlay technique as to durability.
 
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DanM

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#6
The technique has been used on firearms for centuries,if it wasn't durable I doubt anyone would be using it. Maybe the "Western" term of Damascene would be more recognizable. I attended a 5 day class at Revere Academy Masters Symposium for Zogan Inlay a number of years ago.Two days of lectures of history,tools and making the tools.Two days of practicing the techniques and a day to make final project. Photo of 2X2 inch practice piece using mild steel. nunome.jpg

nunome.jpg
 

highveldt

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#8
Dan;
I am pleased that you responded as you can answer my question of the durability (really the staying in place of the gold) of the inlay in this method. What I could not see in the video was how was undercutting of the incisions done to hold the inlay into place when the gold was hammered into the surface--hence my comment on maybe I was missing something. Please comment on this. Also in your workshop did the instructor use a antler horn punch to force the gold into the incisions?
 

DanM

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#11
The chisel is held at around a 60 degree angle and the cuts are diagonal,vertical and horizontal with a count of 16 per millimeter. The Higo inlay uses a thicker metal than most of the other Zogan Nunome in most of Japan. We did not use antler,we used a piece of bamboo chopstick with the end slightly hammered to loosen the fibers.

https://kogeijapan.com/locale/en_US/higozogan/
 

highveldt

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#14
The chisel is held at around a 60 degree angle and the cuts are diagonal,vertical and horizontal with a count of 16 per millimeter. The Higo inlay uses a thicker metal than most of the other Zogan Nunome in most of Japan. We did not use antler,we used a piece of bamboo chopstick with the end slightly hammered to loosen the fibers.

https://kogeijapan.com/locale/en_US/higozogan/
Dan;
Thank you for the link( Kogeijapan.com) above. "The Hammering to tighten" (Step no. 8) from the "General Production Process" instructions explains away what I did not understand from the video: that further hammering tightens/fixes the gold into the incisions to secure it firmly. This step no. 8 dismisses my concerns about durability.
 

DanM

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#17

allan621

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DanM

I went looking around the momokoya link and found the chisels. But they were blank, without lines cut into them. Do you put the lines in yourself and if you do how?

Allan
 

DanM

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#19
DanM

I went looking around the momokoya link and found the chisels. But they were blank, without lines cut into them. Do you put the lines in yourself and if you do how?

Allan
Lines... what lines? It is a chisel like a wider flat graver,look at the video you posted at around 45 seconds.
 
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#20
What is interesting to me in the video is that the artist seems to be using a very light hammer, and lots of very light strokes to create cross cut undercuts in the very mild steel he seems to be using.

Thinking about it, it seems to me that if the bedding metal is simply checkered deeply enough at a steep enough angle, embedding the gold (or copper, fine silver, etc.) might be accomplished by simply laying the overlay into the desired position and hammering down at varying angles to fishhook and interlock the upward facing 'spikes' into the softer applied metal.

That being said, if someone approached me with the project (gold over steel appliqué), I'd just hand solder it down and call it a day ;)
 
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