The Flintlock Shop
Tutorial on Silver Wire Inlay Part 2

This part of the tutorial will show you how to inlay wire into a design that is a little more complicated than straight lines. The main difference is that you need a variety of gouges to match up to that curves that will be in your design. This is where having a lot of gouges with different size radius will come in handy. Do not attempt to cut the curves with a knife, it will come out kinky. If there is one kink in the wire, your eye will be drawn to that spot every time you look at it.

To begin, match up a gouge with your design as shown in the picture.

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Use a round rod of some kind to bend the wire around and get it as close to the shape of your design as possible before trying to install it into the cut. I use a tapered rod so that I have many sizes to choose from without changing rods.

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Lay the wire into the cut before cutting it to the right length.

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Use a smaller gouge to cut the smaller curves. If there are several small pieces that are the same size, you can cut them all at one time as long as they do not touch each other.

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Here I am using a small drill nit to bend the wire around.

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Use tweezers to handle the very small pieces of wire.

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When installing a very wiggly line, be sure to bend the wire as close as possible to the design. If you put a small drill bit against the wood when bending the wire you will get a nice smooth curve. Leave the wire long until you have laid most of it in the opening. Once you have it just barely in the opening, place a flexible piece of metal over it and gently tap it into place. If it doesn't go in without bending, don't bother trying to straighten it out. Pull it out and start all over again.

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Leave the wire a little higher than the surface of the wood, about .015 or .020 of an inch, you will file it down later.

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When putting in loops, of course they do not cross over each other, so do one circle at a time. When cutting the end of the wire, cut it on a little bit of an angle so that it will actually cut into the piece that you are joining. Make sure that when you continue the circle the line is perfectly lined up with the last piece or you will not get the effect that you are looking for.

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Now that the entire design is inlaid, wet it with water, this will make the wood swell and tighten around the wire. I just use a q-tip around the immediate area. After the wood is thoroughly dry, file down the excess wire, using a file or piece of emery paper. Remember, leave the wire a little high so that the finish you put on the wood will not cover the wire.

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If the wood becomes dirty after filing or sanding, just use a pencil eraser and rub the dirt off.

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Now rub the whole design gently with 0000 steel wool to smooth everything out and to polish the wire.

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Now do the same thing to the other side and you are ready for the stain and finish. The stain will really make the wire stand out, the darker the stain, the more contrast you will have.

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The finished product! Now that wasn't really that hard, was it?

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View additional photos of the Gun Makers Hall Rifle.

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The end of wire inlay part two.

Part three will be cutting out and inlaying tiny leaves, flowers and vines.

Silver Wire Part 2