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  #1  
Old 08-15-2009, 10:56 PM
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Question Anyone know how to inlay silver?

I am working on a very fancy knife and want to try inlaying silver, I was thinking of carving the stuff I want, fancy scroll looking work with a very sharp V-tool and then melting and pouring silver into the grooves then file it smooth.

Has anyone ever done something like this? and have any tips on how to do it?
Thanks.
Carl
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

Carl worked for a designer who made very nice jewelry in my younger years. We made the wax designs, they would be molded in plaster... and then sent them to metal shop to have them poured normally in gold, they was sent back to us...to finish. It is a lot of work and you have to have the right tools. But I do not think that I would be pouring silver fluid that I believe is around 1,650 degrees into wood. And I could be wrong, it just seems to me that you have to make your metal piece first and then inlay into your wood the same as you would wood or other kinds of inlay. You can get silver clay and have it fired in someones jewelry kiln? Put I have never used it... I know this is not answer as you would have to talk to someone who pours silver..also do research somewhere in the back of my old brain is saying you do not put silver and wood together because of the silver reaction to the wood?...which may mean you need to coat the inlay part of the silver, do not quote me on this as I do have CRS alot...(can't remember sh.t) .. smile Di
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

Carl.. I have a gal I talk to on MSN alot and she was just telling me there is a clay now thats 99% sliver (other metals too) for jewelry making. I can try to get more details for you if you want.
I 'think' you make your design with the clay and then its fired or heated up. The binding in the silver burns away and yoru sliver stays put. And the idea of you just pressing this clay into your design and maybe ??? using a heat gun to burn out the binding would have your sliver down into your design? I"m just shooting in the dark here.. but its something to look into.

Marcia.
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:41 AM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

I would think that pouring molten silver on wood would burn the wood so bad that the adhesion wouldn’t be very strong. But I never tried it.
A friend inlayed pieces of copper into a walnut handle and he did it by cutting a grove with a very small, Dremel size, dovetail bit. He then annealed the copper wire so it was very soft and pounded it into the routed groove and sanded it flush. If the inlay you want to make is small I would think you would need to cut/chisel a groove in the pattern you want and then fit annealed silver into by pounding. If it doesn’t want to stay you might need to epoxy it in. Old time gunsmiths, and maybe more modern ones, cut their pattern out and then traced it on the gun stock and recessed the shape with knives and chisels. Then they either glued or using countersunk screws fastened it to the recess.
Another way might be to use coarse paper and sand enough silver filings to mix with epoxy and fill a groove, then sand it flush.
Good luck, Ed
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

Having made silver jewelry many years ago, I can tell you that trying to pour molten silver into a groove in your wooden handle would be disastrous. The best way would be like Ed (dryheat) suggested and take silver wire and either anneal it into the groove or epoxy it in if the pounding doesn't work. I'd say a little research would be in order. Most likely you would find your answer from someone who does jewelry.

However you get it done, please post some pictures of your work.

Ed
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

Carl, I haven't inlaid silver but have inlaid copper....not anything too fancy, but it worked. I used copper sheet and cut it to my pattern with a jewelers fret saw. If you check at a good jewelers' supply,such as Santa Fe Jewelers Supply, you can find silver sheet in various thicknesses, and the fret saws..they also have literatrure on working silver in sheet, wire and casting.

The cut out is then placed on the wood and the outline traced with a sharp pencil. Then it's just a matter of carefully incising the pattern and removing the material inside the cuts to the depth of the metal sheet. I epoxied the insert in place, but there may be other methods.



By the way, the melting point of sterling silver is 1640 F and pure silver is 1761 F. The pour point for these metals is actually several hundred degrees higher than that so to obtain a good pour you will be dealing with temps up near 1900 degrees. Thats enough to smoke any wood you will be using.

Al

Last edited by AlArchie; 08-16-2009 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:42 AM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

Carl here's something that might be of use to you. Although I personally haven't used it, I have seen the finished results in fancy muzzleloading rifles. This same company has instructions in their catalogue for inlaying this wire. If you're interested I'll see if I can find my copy and scan it for you.
Heres the link:........Track of the Wolf - Wire inlay, fine silver

Hope this helps;
Wayne
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

I knew the temp for liquid silver was up there but didn't think it was that high, that pretty much knocks that idea out of the race but pounding in soft silver wire sounds like an idea I might give a try. I have seen copper slices inlaid in that way, Thanks for all the quick responses and Wayne that link is a lot like what I am looking to do.
Carl
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I know and can see clearly exactly what, I want to carve.
But on the long journey from my head through my arms,
So much is lost before it gets to my fingers and tools
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R.I.P Cliff Letty. June, 17 1937-Jan,8 2009


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Old 08-16-2009, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

hey carl, if you want to inlay silver into wood, you have to use annealed fine silver, and hard wood. sterling is too hard and will not seat. if you undercut the channel slightly (like with a reverse cone bit) you can tap an over sized piece of silver into it. experiment to see how much stress the wood can take before it breaks the channel...
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Anyone know how to inlay silver?

Thanks for all the help I went ahead with the knife and mixed brass fillings with epoxy and filled in what I wanted. It's looking alright not very bright but when the sun hit's it it looks like glitter.

I am currently looking around the internet for silver wire on the next knife I will give it a try.
Carl
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I know and can see clearly exactly what, I want to carve.
But on the long journey from my head through my arms,
So much is lost before it gets to my fingers and tools
.


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R.I.P Cliff Letty. June, 17 1937-Jan,8 2009


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