Author Topic: Wire Inlay by Taylor Sapergia  (Read 32017 times)

Offline Acer Saccharum

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19295
    • Thomas  A Curran
Wire Inlay by Taylor Sapergia
« on: May 25, 2014, 01:18:40 AM »
While I was in the process of inlaying the wire on this Lehigh rifle, I took a series of photographs for my own files.  I think they'd make an interesting tutorial though you'll find the job is very simple and satisfying once you give it a try.  I give credit and recognition to Buchele's and Shumway's Recreating the American Longrifle as that's where I gained the knowledge to do this kind of work.  Since then, I have used the technique on  several rifles and pistols, using the same stamping chisels I made in the beginning.  It would be worthwhile for anyone who has not done so, to purchase the book and read the chapter.  I imagine there are other works too that go into the details.  But I know how much I like seeing others photographs and how to's, so here we are.The tools are very simple.  The last 2 1/2 or so of each end of a hack saw blade provides the steel to make the stamping chisels.  The word chisel is a little misleading since you do not remove any wood.  You simply plunge the tool straight down into the wood with help from a hammer.  The one end of the blade already has a hole for hanging them up for storage, and the other end is ground to make the incision.  I use a nylon headed hammer both to cushion the blow and to avoid glacing off the blade, as will occur with a ball peen hammer.  There are three pliers that are useful - a needle nose, a needle nose with round jaws, and a specially ground pair of side cutters.  I'll show them later.  You need snips to cut the sheet into ribbons, a smooth sharp single mill bastard file, and I use a fine triangular file ground safe for scoring the ribbon.

The blades are ground into two basic shapes...narrow and wide flat ended and narrow and wide curved.  On the flat ended blades, the edges are relieved (rounded slightly) so that it's easier to follow the line around a curve.  The grooves are cut into the curved blades using various sizes of chain saw files, and then the backs are ground to follow the hollow curves.

The silver stock I used for this project wasw .016 thick.  I cut ribbons about 5/64 wide from the 5 1/4 long strips with tin snips just by eye.  I cut my lengths that dimension so they'd store easily in the trays of my parts cabinet.


Having straightened the strips with my fingers and some light taps with a smooth faced light hammer, I annealled the silver on fire brick with a propane torch.  Just bringing the silver which in this case is 999 silver, to dull red and letting it cool for a couple minutes produced soft enough material with which to work.

I cut a straight shelf near the edge of my rifle support (2 x 4) and filed a bit of a knife edge on the strips.  You do not have to get it sharp, but it is easier to align with your inlet if the bottom edge is thinner than the top edge, and it ensures accuracy when tapping it down into the cuts


These strips have been filed, anneallled and pulled under the edge of the three sided file to create longitudinal grooves in the silver.  This holds the ribbons in the cuts.More later...called for supper.

...a magnification of the previous shot shows the longitudinal scratches in the ribbons.

...and a little closer yet

This ends the first part...all I have time for tonight.  Part II tomorrow morning...Part IISorry I got a little ahead of myself - pressed the wrong button.  Having drawn the design on the stock in pencil, I have taken in this case a medium wide (1/8 approx.) stamping chisel and with light blows of the hammer have followed the design creating a groove about 5/64 deep.  When I got to the tighter curve I changed to the larger of my two curved stamps and continued to the end of the design.Rather than go to the next section of the design which is a repeat of the first in this project, I now took a piece of silver in hand.  Where the ribbon butts against the butt plate is not 90 degrees, so I filed the end of the ribbon to the same angle of the junction of the plate and stock.  Now I forced the ribbon a little into the groove and against the butt plate and with my fingers bent the ribbon to conform to the curve of the design.  In the tighter curve, I continued to bend the ribbon around to match the curve, and when I cameto the end, I cut it off with the side cutters.

Once the ribbon is curved to match and cut to length, I also filed the end of the curved end to match the dot pin that I installed.  I'll show this in a future step.  Then the silver ribbon is placed into the groove and tapped down with a smooth faced ball peen hammer.  It will never come back out.  When the stock is whiskered, the water will swell the fibres of the wood in the groove which have only been compressed, and lock the ribbon into the groove.

This shows the next section stamped and the ribbon bent and placed in the groove ready for seating.  Not that the curved end has been filed on the outside of the curve so that the flow where it ajoins the dot will not be interrupted.  Too, the other end is filed into a taper so that it joins smoothly to the previous ribbon.

The ribbon has been tapped down and the undersized hole drilled for the stud that creates the dot.

...to be continued.Here we go again.This silver nail was cut from sheet stock, filed cylindrical, and roughed up using a special pair of side cutters.

The side cutters have been ground and filed sharp.  The bottom is ground smooth.  By squeezing the silver nail gently and very closely together, I created a series of notches all around the pin that help to hold the nail in the wood.


Now the side cutters clip off the nail about 3/16 long.  Note that it is cut off cleanly and square, while the remaining nail has a taper where it was severed.  This taper is all that is needed to start the next nail into the next predrilled hole, though a couple passes with a file puts four facets on thestud rather than two.

...nail started ...

...tapped flush.

...and on with the next section.  I put the silver in as I go so that I do not leave wood unsupported in curves and thin corners.  the silver fills the groove and supports the wood so the chance of having a chip come loose is lessened.

Now having completed a section of the wire inlay, I rewarded myself by dressing the wire down to the wood with a new, small, single cut mill bastard file.

And this is the final shot.  Thanks for looking - hope this is of some use.

More examples of wire inlay...An Andrew Verner rifle...


A Dickert...

Another Lancaster...a Haines lefty

...and a German wheellock in ebony.


***Created by
D. Taylor Sapergia ( ) on 02/26/2007***

On your very first practice piece, you will soon get a feel for how hard to hit the chisel to get the depth you need.  It doesn't matter if you go in a little shy or a little too far.  I must go in about 1/8 or a little less, because my ribbon always goes in flush when I seat it.  If you are using thinner silver, as when decorating a European arm, the ribbons will be a little narrower too, so you shouldn't go as deep.  And on hard brittle wood, like ebony, you don't need to plunge more than 1/16.
I aways file in the direction of the grain of the wood, with the file on an oblique angle to shear off the silver.  Don't file across the grain or you'll be spending more time removing those marks with abrasives.  Be sure to back your abrasive paper with something other than your finger or the ribbons will stand proud.  In other words, the silver and wood goes down together.
If you choose brass, you can cut ribbons from brass shim stock in all kinds of thicknesses.  It needs annealling for sure.  I have some photos of other examples of wire inlay I'll dig up and post, just for fun.

D.Taylor Sapergia

***Created by
D. Taylor Sapergia ( ) on 02/28/2007***












« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 05:55:58 AM by D. Taylor Sapergia »
Tom Curran's web site : http://monstermachineshop.net
Ramrod scrapers are all sold out.

Offline Acer Saccharum

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19295
    • Thomas  A Curran
Re: Wire Inlay by Taylor Sapergia
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2014, 11:27:42 PM »
In the wire work below I have threads converging that can present problems with wood chipping away.  I dealt with that by keeping my tools razor sharp and stabbing in the lines in several steps.  However, one trick that helped was I left the inletting of the converging wire until after the other wires or wires were completely finished and filed flush.  Then I added the new converging wire.  The installed wire helped to strengthen the wood when stabbing in the new wire and having filed the old wire flush, I was able to see what was happening with the wood more clearly as I merged the new wire.

dave

« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 05:59:00 AM by D. Taylor Sapergia »
Tom Curran's web site : http://monstermachineshop.net
Ramrod scrapers are all sold out.