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  #1  
Old 09-21-2009, 03:44 PM
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Default Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hey guys ... just finished this. Figured I would turn it into a brief tutorial and make a "constructive" forum contribution today (for a change ).

This is 24k gold lettering in a custom rifle action and barrel being built by Steven Cale of Scott Depot, West Virginia. This rifle will be one of three that Steve will be using to present to the ACGG for acceptance as full member. I am happy and honored that he asked me to come to his shop and help out.

It's a left handed action. Here, the lettering and flourishes have been cut. Some inlay has been done.



A scope shot of the next inlay to be performed .... undercut and ready.



Below is the undercutting tool which I have fabricated ... is basically a bulino graver with the bottom and top edges of the graver knocked off. It tapers to a small, offset, flat point. The offset allows you to get under the edge and displace the metal without damaging the opposite edge. For very very small inlay channels ... this is kinda important.




Below are two pieces of steel, polished, which I use to roll out the gold smaller after it has been drawn out to .26mm which is the smallest my drawplate goes. Rolling it out to approx. .20mm or under as necessary.



After pounding it in with a brass punch, shaving off excess gold with a #40 flat (with the corners dubbed off), I continue the process for the rest of letters. Some letters requiring multiple pieces as the thickness varies ...

These are Gesswein Moldmaker stones ... in 600 and 1200 grit.



The stones are used in lieu of sandpaper or a draw file as they achieve the desired level of polish while removing gold and steel at the same rate. Something sandpaper can not do. A final quick polish with 1500 grit paper and it is done ...



-------------------

For the barrel .... I used block letters for the caliber ... some computer font ... which was layed out just above the wood line.

Cut and undercut the letters and the whole process begins as before ... this time with wire drawn out to .45mm.





Stoning in progress .......



Final polish with 1500 grit paper wrapped around a block .... and it's done:




Hope that was helpful ... gotta shovel mass quantities of aluminum for M/C parts now. I think I like doing this gold work a little more!!
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2009, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Great tutorial I like the detail scope shots and the stones for sanding. Thanks Chris,

Kevin
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  #3  
Old 09-21-2009, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Great Chris, now come out of the buker get on the Old Lady for some RR...
Come on down... FL...
Jerry
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:09 PM
Eric Watson Eric Watson is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris that is absolutely beautiful, great tutorial. When the piece is completed don't be shy and give us a peek.
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  #5  
Old 09-21-2009, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Very nicely done Chris. I have to start on some big roman lettering pretty soon on the back side of an omega watch, Do I need to undercut only? No raising spikes or anything like that?

Jeff
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  #6  
Old 09-21-2009, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris...I have to agree with everyone on your tutorial. Have you ever thought about getting together with Steve and creating a template of your undercutting tool? Keep up the good work.

JJ Roberts
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  #7  
Old 09-21-2009, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Nice work.
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  #8  
Old 09-21-2009, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Thats one great looking job and tutorial Thanks Chris
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2009, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hello Chris! Well done and very informative! Congrats on landing such a fine project. That is quite an honor....at least in my book. I always enjoy all of your posts so don't change the way you think!

Best,
Dan
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  #10  
Old 09-21-2009, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

hi chris .. fantatic job , i was hoping that you would post it , you do great engraving and far better lettering job than i would have done .. ron p
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  #11  
Old 09-21-2009, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Nice crisp lettering Chris, things get interesting swinging that barrel around don't it?
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

I'm really happy I posted this. I almost didn't because I didn't think I took enough photos to actually make it informative. There's a lot of informative info and contributions made to this site, but I couldn't find any that actually addressed inlaid letters. Much of what I've learned has been freely passed on to me, so I have combined the best of that knowledge and have passed it on here.

---

Dan, it's good to know there are folks that find humor in my hopeless cynicism ... I'm a born & bred city guy livin' deep in the country - every day is load of laughs. If it ain't, then there's something really wrong.

Thank-you Dave and Barry ....

Hi JJ .. The undercutting tool is the same tool (and technique) that Ron Nott uses. I'm pretty sure it is similar to the tool that Roland already has a template for. I'll check with Steve to make sure we wouldn't be duplicating the same geometry. I think it's a great idea because without this type of undercutting tool, there's no way I could inlay the same fine lines that Ron does. The M42 graver is perfect for this because it can handle the tough arsenal grade steel of an action without bending or breaking as HSS or Carbide (respectively) would do under such conditions.

btw ... this is a Remington 700 action. No annealing necessary.

Jeff, there are a number of ways to undercut & inlay gold. The small cuts in the script are "V" cuts made with a square graver. In a very narrow inlay (-.2mm) , undercutting the sides is really the only way to go. When getting into the wider inlays, you have a couple of choices. On the block letters here, I chose to undercut the sides and smooth out the bottom flat. This allowed the wire to spread out across the bottom and grab the undercuts. I could have made undercuts in the bottom only and used gold sheet or flattened wire to achieve the same result. The size of your inlay will dictate what method you finally decide you use. As gold work hardens, I prefer the method that I illustrate here for wire which has been drawn down to around .5mm. The other thing to consider on a project is if you have the luxury of stoning flat the raised edges. On some projects, you may not be able to raise edges so raising burrs on the bottom is your only option.

In choosing the method I used here, I drew out 1 inch of .39 inch diameter wire to .45 millimeters. That was enough wire to inlay the caliber on the barrel and I still had about 1/2 inch of that drawn out wire left. Minimal waste/scrap.

Hi Eric, thank-you ... I'll be back at Steve's gun shop tomorrow and I'll snap a few pictures of the rifle and the progress it has made so far. The customer is a pastor here from West Virginia. In the mid 90's, he made a pilgrimage to Turkey where he was able to appropriate some beautiful Circasian walnut. I figure the project will be completed about 2 more months.

Here in the forum we have the privileged to see a lot of work by already established gun makers and engravers. I think it is really something special to see work produced by a regular guy, today, who (I believe) will someday take the place of one of the big guys. That goes for everyone in the forum here who is producing such outstanding engraving work and making every effort to be the best he/she can be.

Hey Jerry ... I sure wish I could get outta here!!! There's a bunch of great people I still need to visit .... long over due too. Gotta get the work while it's hot.

Kevin, it's all in the stones!!!! The Moldmaker and Moldmaker Plus stones conform/wear to the shape of the object being stoned. (thank Jason M. for that priceless tip)

Hi Ron ... you're the man!! The inlay tool and undercutting is all your tutoring my friend.

Hey Tim, you're not kidding. Good thing my chair has wheels so I can slide out and in when the muzzle swings by.

----

Catch ya'll later ... time to go get a Big Mac and take my Lipitor.
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  #13  
Old 09-21-2009, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris,

Thanks so much for a great tutor on inlays and lettering.

Really is comming out great. I didn't see many of your bike parts but this work is just outstanding.

Thanks for sharing this and all the great hints on doing these types of inlays.

AirAmp
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  #14  
Old 09-22-2009, 12:42 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Dude! Awsome thread!

Very informative and excellent inlay work!

Thank you for sharing your project and process!
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  #15  
Old 09-22-2009, 03:05 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris,
Thanks for posting this. I have been wrestling with gold(well, copper for now) inlay for the last couple of weeks now and after I read this post here, I went back to the bench and had a little breakthrough moment. Thanks again
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  #16  
Old 09-22-2009, 06:19 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

VERY cool Chris. The inlays and lettering look great! You are definitely on the right path to achieve your goal from what I see.

You have a LOT of talent(and I like your sarcastic style of humor too!),

Peter
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  #17  
Old 09-22-2009, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris,
You are just a super guy who makes doing the hardest engraving task look ever so easy. As for your humor....don't ever change it, the chuckles are as fun to read as your engraving is to see.
Ya, you need to get to Florida and get some sunshine. Living in those mountain bunkers limits the sunshine way too much!
Gail
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  #18  
Old 09-22-2009, 12:43 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris:
You did a great job on this step by step, I know what a pain it is to do fine script, especially when so many diameters of wire are required, I did a custom rifle floorplate with the owners name enlayed in script, very time consuming. Thanks for your thread, I'm sure it will help new upcomming engravers showing what it takes. GREAT JOB

J.R.French
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  #19  
Old 09-22-2009, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Great work Chris! Thanks for showing
Amazing how you get the lettering so crisp. I have trouble just getting engraved letters nice like this, specially the roman letters.
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  #20  
Old 09-22-2009, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Very nice lettering Chris!

I appreciate the how to. I have shied away from that type of undercutting, but I may have to try it. Good tip on the tool steel vs. carbide...

Thanks!

Tom

PS Be who you are! That's how we like you! ( besides, if you don't, someone else will have to!)
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hi Chris
nice work, did you say Ron P did that for you??????
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  #22  
Old 09-22-2009, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Nicely done Chris!
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  #23  
Old 09-22-2009, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Ha ha .... very funny David.

I'm happy that this was helpful to all.

Peter, Doug, Daniel ... many thanks guys.


Tom, You'll get a feel for this type of undercutting. There's always the possibility of undercutting/displacing too much which will distort the crisp, sharp edges of the letters. As long as the metal is lifted up rather than pushed to the side (under the scope), all is good. It kinda looks like crap until all of the stoning is completed. Of course, the deeper the letter, the less material will get raised. The little bit of raised material along the edges make scraping away excess gold super easy.

I also have a tendency to over-engineer this sort of inlay as these areas are typically exposed to shock and heat. But then again, a hunting rifle will probably see most of the rounds put through it at the range during sight-in and never reach the temperatures that a skeet shotgun will.

Jason ....duuuude ... those stones rock. It is I that owe you a huge thanks for all of your help.

Hi JR, letters and inlay of varied widths sure make it interesting. I should have taken more photos. The "C" in Cale's took three pieces. I suppose we can leave a little of the planning and blanks to be creatively filled by the new folks that would like to give this a try at home.

Chapi, I think some gold on a tat machine would be fantastic. Better wait for the price of gold to drop a little though. It's over $1015 bucks!!

Gail, I'll give you call. Many thanks.

Mike ... Maybe I'll do a short show and tell on some motorcycle engraving. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye. Got a primary cover here which is getting the works for a custom builder. My kind of customer too ... sparing no expense.

As promised, I took this photo of the stock in Steve's gun shop today. He's excited because he can finally blue this and assemble it. I'm looking forward to seeing how the stainless barrel turns out blued. Never seen that done before.

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  #24  
Old 09-22-2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hi Chris, Great work! I'm curious about the "bump" pattern I see on the edges of the inlay area. I can see that there is basically a straight edge but the bumps make me wonder how you end up with a straight edge starting with the bump pattern of raised undercuts. Are those bumps where you take the flat tool and punch intermittent undercuts just at those points? I haven't tried this approach and am curious why you don't start with a consistently pushed up edge. My instincts would tell me this could cause a bumpy finished edge but I see that is not the case. Very curious about the exact details of that bumpy edge pattern and how it finishes so clean. I know with stone setting that starting clean means you'll end up clean but the bump pattern seems to defy this theory. Thanks, Jim
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  #25  
Old 09-23-2009, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hi Jim,

An excellent question which I am glad you brought up.

Under the microscope, the raised "bumps" tend to look a little higher than they actually are. Probably due to the scope's ring light and halogen lighting around it.

To recap .... The undercutting tool is used to make an indentation under the top edge and provide a place for the gold to "grab" as it is expanded into the channel. The force of the undercutting tool will move/displace metal in the only direction it can go ... which is up. Pushing the undercutting tool in just enough to give the gold an anchor point will raise some material but not too much to compromise the edge.

To answer your question .... The tool is plunged in and under the raised areas only. I stagger these undercuts, on each side, so that the gold does not slide through (and out the ends of) the channel as it expands - but rather force it to continue to expand wider and deeper into the undercuts. For the ends of the small flourishes and small ends of of each of the script letters, this is particularly helpful as those areas are the weakest points of the inlays. Time is also an issue, on real small inlay channels, I want to use enough anchor points. I could run the undercutting tool along the length but on a shallow channel (or "V" cut channel), there's the risk of the tool jumping the edge and marring the surface.

Because the stones remove metals of dissimilar hardness and density at the same rate, the raised areas disappear along with the excess gold leaving a perfectly planed steel and gold surface.

When you're undercutting a small inlay and you've got the microscope turned up to full magnification, you really see and get a feel at far you can push the tool in without distorting the top edge in such a way that it will compromise the inlay after stoning. Again, I may be over-engineering this procedure but if I can help it, I don't want work that passes through here to have to come back and be re-done in my lifetime.

Here's an illustration which I think will help ....

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  #26  
Old 09-23-2009, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

chris , to those who are worried about the bumps you have to remember that when inlaying the gold you are punching the gold down into that chanel along with the raised steel , so that bump is flatten out in the process .. great job chris .. ron p
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  #27  
Old 09-23-2009, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Nice work Chris, some day i hope to be able to do work like that.
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  #28  
Old 09-23-2009, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris,

Good to see the process to go with the finished work picture you posted in your gallery. Now it makes sense how it is done!

Great job and great explanation of the process.

How did you get the "gremlin-faced" beast to leave you alone long enough to do it?...

-vern
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  #29  
Old 09-23-2009, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Beautiful work Chris, I wish I had your engraving skills.

Colin
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  #30  
Old 09-23-2009, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

super classy looking work, and an excellent tutorial presentation. thanks for showing this !!
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  #31  
Old 09-24-2009, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Alright guys .... go inlay some gold!!

When I can bang out a cased Colt with accessories in 4 days or a H&H in two weeks then maybe .... just maybe I'll believe I'm starting to get pretty good at this engraving thing.


Hey Vern ... no, I did not take the ex back ...... not ever!

Catch ya later guys ...

C.
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  #32  
Old 09-24-2009, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Awsome man! Very cool
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

hey Chris .. you did great but even i cannot bang out a cased Colt set in 4 days ,, i havent been able to get past 5 days but i am working on it .. but any way , your work is great ,you are doing engraving just as good as i can or any body else .. so keep them coming .. ron p
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  #34  
Old 09-25-2009, 07:31 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Handsome work Chris your cutting is very clean; thanks for the tutorial.
You steps are clear and well photographed. Makes me want to jump in.
cassie
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  #35  
Old 09-25-2009, 07:48 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

"Here in the forum we have the privileged to see a lot of work by already established gun makers and engravers. I think it is really something special to see work produced by a regular guy, today, who (I believe) will someday take the place of one of the big guys. That goes for everyone in the forum here who is producing such outstanding engraving work and making every effort to be the best he/she can be."

Chris you've got the gift and you are well on your way to being one of those guys.
Your answers to questions are clear and concise. Thanks for your time in sharing this.
It's inspirational.
cassie
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  #36  
Old 09-25-2009, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hey Chris,

Man, that script is georgous.

A Monk with a calligraphy pin could not have done better.

Nope, you not regular
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Old 09-25-2009, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris, if you don't mind what graver did you use for the script?
Thanks
cassie
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  #38  
Old 09-25-2009, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hi Cassie, you are waaaay too kind.


That's a great question ...

I used a 105 degree graver made with Steve's 105 template. That allowed me to go wide in parts of the letters without going too deep. If the letters were larger, I would have used a Universal.

After I got the width just right, I went back over the edge of the letters to square up the walls of the inlay channel. I used a square graver for that.

--------

Charlie ... some fun on that other site Now that we know what the "poverty line" for engravers is, I know I'm in pretty darn good company!!

Speaking of spell check ... I don't know if it is supposed to be "inlayed" or "inlaid".
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  #39  
Old 09-26-2009, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Thanks Chris, I no longer have any excuse not to give it a try.
You've covered everything.

If my efforts are not a total mess I'll post.
cassie
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  #40  
Old 09-27-2009, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Beautiful work. Question, after you have undercut, inlaid the wire, when you pound the wire into the inlay, are you trying to push the upset metal back into place or, are you just trying to get the surface as even as possible and using the stone to bring the surfaces level? How do you get the edges so straight after upsetting the edges? Thanks for sharing. The idea of using two polished plates in lieu of a rolling mill is a great help.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Chris as I was going through the steps one more question came up.
Are you using power with the undercutting tool or doing it manually with something like a chasing hammer?
cassie
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  #42  
Old 09-27-2009, 07:03 PM
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WVEngraver WVEngraver is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hi Cassie,

Yes, I'm using power but there is no reason why a hammer wouldn't work.
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:43 AM
SEngraver SEngraver is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hi Chris,
I was looking at the diagram of the inlay tool and I wanted to ask is the tool blunt at the tip(diagram) or should it be sharp and what is the width of the tool you used.Great drawing !
You and Steve Lindsay must make a sharpening template of that ?
SG
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

SG,

The tip is tapered to a tiny, blunt screw driver like tip. The width measures at .02" on my digital caliper. If it is sharpened to a fine, lethal point it with either break or bend over depending on the hardness of the steel being undercut and the type of material that the graver is made of (HSS etc.).

The size (width) of the tip also depends on how small of an inlay you are doing and how tight of a turn you need make when inlaying scroll, flourishes or script. A wider tip is better for straight inlays as it requires less plunges into the channel. That saves time of course.

You'll have experiment a little ... that's the fun part . I use Steve's template for a 90 degree square graver to rough hog a graver to shape then a dual angle sharpener to fine tune the tip and knock off the bottom edge of the "V". So .... you can either knock off the bottom "V" edge of a bulino graver or flip a regular square graver upside down and knock off the top "V" edge.

Have fun .....
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:38 AM
SEngraver SEngraver is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Thanks Chris I will definitely give it a try....please show us a picture of the rifle when it is done...Appreciate.
SG
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:07 AM
ddushane ddushane is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

I'm going to give it try too Chris, Thanks for the great tutorial!!!!!!

Dwayne
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  #47  
Old 10-10-2009, 04:41 PM
Curtis Wilson Curtis Wilson is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Really great tutorial for all to use. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Curtis Wilson
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hey guys!! For all those who wanted to see this custom rifle by Steven Cale of West Virginia finished ... here it is. The barrel is blued stainless. Checkering is 22lpi and once again ... this is a left handed action built on a Remington 700.

There ain't much in the way of engraving but why be distracted when there's so much to behold in both fit n' finish!!

Enjoy ... Chris.












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Old 01-30-2010, 04:20 AM
SEngraver SEngraver is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Absolutely beautiful ! Thanks for posting it.
SE
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:28 AM
DGrub DGrub is offline
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Default Re: Gold inlay script and block lettering on a custom rifle

Hello Chris! What a georgeous rifle! Thanks for posting the finished pic's of it. Great work by both you and Steven. Hope all is going well for you and will talk soon!

Best,
Dan
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