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Old 04-22-2006, 05:41 PM
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Steve Lindsay Steve Lindsay is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Kearney, NE
Posts: 4,503
Default Re: How to make a punch for gold inlay?

Ray, do you use a hammer and punch for even the small wire work? Seems like it would be slower... although like you say if you use a larger 3/16" punch you wouldn't have to hit it too many times and it would be fast. The .040 dia. faced punch I've been using almost has to be used in the airgraver because it is such a small surface area that it would take forever to hit it that many times to hit it evenly everywhere. I get the tool running with the punch under the scope and just run it down a gold wire and it is in. For texturing the little punch, I hold it against 220 sandpaper and run the airgraver.

I use an xacto knife to cut the wire off at the ends. When cutting the end of the wire with an xacto, hold the wire down with the blade and raise and lower the tail end of the wire. This works better than trying to push down hard with the knife to cut it.

For positioning a larger chunk of gold I'm using scotch tape to hold it in place. I hit it with a hammer and punch (or a sheet of brass for even a larger piece of gold) to set the gold in well. I then pull the tape off and use the airgraver with the little brass punch under the microscope to go around the edges to make sure they are seated at the edges and everywhere... and let it mushroom out all over. Although, I should say this is for a flush inlay. For raised gold I'll only use a larger punch to try not to let it mushroom it out so bad.

Something to watch out for when using a hammer and punch is that we have to use more force with the larger inlays to get the gold to seat. When inlaying on a folding knife, if it is hit too hard it will lock up (the blade won't move or is tight). Since the smaller punch has a smaller surface area, we don't have to hit it so hard but we have to hit it a lot of times to cover a given area. On the other hand, in order to seat a larger inlay we have to use a large punch and bigger hammer. If the gold doesn't seat almost right away it will squish, work harden, change shape and won't physically fit the pocket it was cut out for.

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