View Full Version : Pauls Gold Inlay submission

09-26-2008, 09:51 AM
(If you would like to comment on this submission, you may do so by posting a reply in this thread (http://www.engravingforum.com/showthread.php?t=2234). Thanks! Kaitlin)

Hello all

I am back after my break ( ha ha ) with the knee injury.

I have been thinking long and hard about engraving on a gun, is it just me or is it most engravers wish to try to produce for themselves some of the fine art that we see in this forum.

Now most who have been following me, know I am just a new beginner, and being in the jewelry trade my ethics have always been never to devalue an object. Its amazing to me how a customer will spend hundreds on a fine watch , then dremell his own name on the back to save a few dollars,

Also in the trade its very hard to take back any bad work you perform ,I will spent extra time to make a job as good as I know I can make, now thats not to say I am the best in the trade, but I will keep trying on every job to improve, and give my customers my very best performable work. I will also only perform new types of service myself, only after much practice, and skill level achieved.
I have seen enough bad work out-there and dont want to add and of my own.

The inspiration and confidence I have for this submission is from previous tutorials from both Mike Dubber and Barry Lee Hands, its from both of these generous people I feel I can achieve something like this, so in advance thanks guys, all credit to you, except the mistakes which will be mine.

The gun I wish to try some simple inlay on is my own Ruger security-six, which I use for service matches. Now this is nothing special Its a VERY used 3rd or 4th hand gun, its best feature ( for me ) was its previous owner had a very good trigger job performed on the gun, more than the gun was worth? so lucky me.

The Gold inlay I want to try is something simple on the back strap of the gun . Its still to be decided with help from the forum but I was thinking maybe some roman wording RUGER and maybe the ruger symbol , I would also like to inlay the RUGER SECURITY-SIX lettering on the side frame.

As before I welcome advice and help so feel free to reply

Yours Paul

10-05-2008, 08:14 AM
Hello All

Well Its time I started this Tutorial and I thought it best to practice a few of the techniques I have only read about.
One of the things I like about the inlaying it seems to be a very mechanical type process, I am hoping that if I follow the steps I should be able to achieve a good result.
For practice I thought I would inlay with copper wire on some scrap steel to reduce practice costs.
I obtained some flat mild steel which I cut into usable lengths, I didnt worry about the quality and it ended up taking about on hour just to get a very average finish on both sides, next time I will try to buy stock that is in much better condition, the condition also affected the inlay a bit so lesson one is to have your surface as well prepared as possible for good results, I dont know how I will go with the ruger as its finish is fairly poor, time will tell.


Next I drew down the wire into a few different sizes as I am unsure what wire to use for a certain width inlay, If there is a formula that members use I would love to hear back on the forum, I also annealed the wires and cleaned them up in a pickle solution ready to use.


Now the cutting part, AS most of the lettering will not be that wide, I cut a line with a lindsay detailing graver that gave a final width about .6mm wide. I then used a flat graver against the lines edge to undercut both sides of the line, I am unsure just how much undercutting is required, in the end I ran the graver along the cut until I could see the edge lifting just a little.


To punch the metal down I used a broken drill bit that I had filed down and roughened the end on some sand paper.
I have read where people use a copper or brass punch and wonder of the differences or advantages of this over a steel punch ???


As the line width was about .6mm I used a wire .6mm to inlay into the groove and with the classic quite quickly hammered the wire down


Next to level the surface. I have seen people use both flat gravers and OR just files, so half the line was leveled with a flat graver and the other half was just filed with a mini fine diamond file. The filing was much easier and quicker, but i guess you can only do this on certain surfaces.


I have seen that to contrast the inlay it can be useful to engrave a border line and ink it , I made the mistake of going to close to the copper and the graver ran off track, the wobbly line didnt help either, something to be careful of in future.


Now truth time, pull it apart, It did take some effort to dig out a end with a graver and there was a satisfying resistant when trying to pull the wire out,


Not a bad start, a bit rough on technique and finish but for a first try i just wanted to see if I understood some of the methods

Also learnt quite a bit, have to have a good surface, I will have to try different wire sizes for different width inlays, I will have to make up some finer flat gravers for the undercutting, and to be careful not to damage the opposite edge when doing this

I also have some questions like the right wire size for a line?, What punches are best, also is it better to punch the wire in with a hammer, ie in one go rather than using the classic, I worry about work hardening the metal before it gets under the undercut?? dont know if this could be a problem.
I also now worry about inlaying such small lettering, without a border as it doesn't stand out, no contrast, but i dont know if its possible to engrave a border around each letter as well. All things to work out as I practice before I attempt the real Deal.

Yours Paul

10-10-2008, 06:48 AM
Hello again

Found time for some practice today, I also ground some more gravers using lindsays sharpening system, I ground up a smaller flat and a knife edge to use for the undercutting in some of the fine lines, The bottom graver is the detailing graver I are using.

Pic 8http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o399/pjlee66/Inlay-8-1.jpg

Today i thought I would practice some different wire sizes from .4 .6 .8 and 1mm ,to see how I handle cutting them and see if they hold.
I cut several lines of varying widths using the detailing graver, however when it came to the 1mm line I used my new flat graver to square up the channel and make up the width as the v graver was starting to have to cut quite deep, I think I have found the comfortable limit with lines using the detailing graver( I wonder how a 120v would go ?? )

Pic 9http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o399/pjlee66/Inlay-9.jpg

The three smaller sizes were hammered in as before with the punch in the classic, however it seemed to struggle with the 1mm wire, I guess I could have increased the pressure to the graver however I just used the punch and a small hammer, and the wire went in quite easy.
This was then leveled back with a fine diamond file.

Pic 10http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o399/pjlee66/Inlay-10.jpg

All finished and level.
Then I picked the wires out again to see just how well they seem to be holding. The wire seems to be filling the undercut and is holding in quite tightly.

Pic 11http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o399/pjlee66/Inlay-11.jpg

I am Quite happy with how the wires are holding in the the channels, However I am still touching the other side of the channel when undercutting and this results in an uneven line, maybe I need to hold the graver at a greater angle, or just be more careful, or use a different tool, dont know??.
Think I will try joining wires next time, then maybe filling some letters.

Till next time


10-11-2008, 09:57 PM
Hello again

Today I cut a inlay channel that varied in width to practice joining wires from .4mm to 1mm, I used the small flat I had made to undercut.


When it became obvious the wire was to small I would cut the wire off with a flat, lift the end of the wire up in the channel, then insert a larger wire and continue to hammer down. When I came to the 1mm wire I did turn up the preasure to the classic graver, but found it was still easier to punch the wire in with a punch and hammer, I think the copper wire is hardening too quick and wants to spread rather than push into the channel, I dont think I would have the same problem with gold or silver wire as its a lot softer, and you can work it more before it becomes hardened.


Filed and finished, I noticed a few punch marks on the metal, Its so easy to punch the wire in with the classic I became a bit careless and over punched the wire.
I pulled the wire out and all seemed well except one spot near one of the joins, A bit of metal from the smaller wire must have squeezed into the undercut where the larger wire was then punched down and so was not locked down, it was only a small section but will look out for this in future, same for the over punching.


Not to bad a result and some more lessons learned.

Yours Paul

12-01-2008, 06:35 AM
Hello all

Work has been conspiring against me to find any time for this project and with christmas around the corner, its unlikely to get any better.
I can see I wont be engraving the ruger any time soon. A week ago I did try my hand at engraving some letters (similar to the side of the ruger and to scale ).
The lack of practice and the size of these letters proved to be very difficult for me, and I am not very happy with the result.
But here it is Warts and All.

First the lettering was reversed acetone onto some practice metal


This was cut with a lindsay detaling engraver. I found the whole scale of engraving difficult, especially exiting the cut and trying to end the cut sharp


All the letters were undercut with a very fine flat, There was a very fine line between undercutting enough and starting to distort metal near other cuts.


Finally the cuts were filled with .45mm wire and sanded back.


And the result, mmmmmmmmmm, dont know what to say.
On this small lettering the finest engraving error is very visible, Also have to watch out with the punch, I hit the plate again in a few spots ( near both the R )


To add contrast I thought I would try just adding shadow lines as compared to fully engraving a border. Again I am having trouble with the scale ( under 2mm )
If i was to engrave away from the copper metal It would enlarge the letters too much, but If I engrave too close the engraver wanders into the copper

Pic 20 http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o399/pjlee66/Inlay-20.jpg

I just dont know if I can engrave this fine
I think apart from actually engraving inconsistent lines, when I undercut I am changing the openings and this results in different thickness inlays, I am not sure how to correct this, apart from practice???, and I am not sure I am going to like the result even if I get it right.

Till next time


12-05-2008, 05:51 AM
Hello all

I really want to achieve some progress on the practice of my inlaying, I am resigned to the fact I will not be engraving the ruger, but I would like to have at least started the other inlaying practice pieces.

Today I made up a larger lettering plate, This is what I would like to have on the back strap of ruger, the letters are about 5-6 mm high in a bold copperplate lettering using the acetone transfer method.


I was not sure how to go about removing the metal, but I started with a fine flat and and engraved the sterif ? lines then went around the boarders with a detailing engraver.


Then the centre metal was removed with a small flat, the edges were also tidied up.


next went on to under cut all the edges with the small flat graver.


The 1mm copper wire was punched in by hand, I found that the copper hardened too quick when using the airgraver on this thicker wire, where as one good hit with the hammer would set it in better, I dont think you would have this problem with gold.


I lifted the edges when joining the wires to give a better bond.


The letter was filed back with a fine diamond file.


the final result.


I have only inlayed the first letter, but I already see it was a lot easier exercise than the smaller letters I have been practicing on. I will finish the other letters when time permits and engrave a border to highlight them but this may be after the deadline.
Before that ends I would like practice inlaying a solid area in the shape of the ruger logo.

Till next Time


12-08-2008, 07:42 AM
Hello all

Today I practiced inlaying a solid area, using the methods I saw from a Mike Dubber submission using the wire inlay method

First I outlined a small oval


I then proceeded to engrave parallel lines across the oval to gauge depth when I removed the bulk with a flat.


I used a flat to undercut the edge .


I used the flat gravers edge to engrave parallel lines across the oval in several directions to create sharp undercuts and hooks. This was not as easy as it looks, the graver kept wanting to go in different directions. I dont know if this was me or the flat graver I was using??


Strips of copper were hand hammered into the oval


This was then punched together and leveled with the airgraver.


The plate was filed with a fine diamond file and sanded a little bit.


The finished inlay


I think this turned out OK.

I will experiment with a few other shapes like stars ect and it may be a good idea to pick at the copper to see just how well the wires are held in.
I may not have achieved quite what I set out to do, But I think I have made some steps in the right direction.
This just needs to be followed up by lots and lots of practice.

This may be my final post in this submission so thanks for looking, hope it helps someone else even if its HOW NOT TO DO IT.

Yours Paul