Guest ford hallam Posted April 17, 2007 Report Share Posted April 17, 2007 This is a series of close up views showing the process of Japanese Sen-zogan, or wire inlay. Step 1Here I have chiselled a “V” shaped groove into a mild steel plate. I used the corresponding chisel seen in the image. The groove is cut so that the width matches the diameter of the wire I want to inlay. The wire is fine, or pure, silver. The other chisel in this image is a shishiai-bori chisel; it’s useful in this instance for cutting the spiral of steel away cleanly. The silver wire is annealed and the steel rule in the corner of the image is marked in millimetres to give a sense of scale. There is actually a more efficient technique that would be more appropriate for inlaying wire of this thickness, and particularly for straight lines. I wanted to follow this particular method though, using thicker wire than I’d usually use, so that you’d be better able to see how it works. The other technique I mentioned will be the subject of another tutorial at some time. Step 2 Now, using a flat chisel, I’m pushing the inner face of the groove vertical. With the chisel at this angle, I placed the tip in the base of the “V” groove and tap the chisel so that it moves down and toward the edge. I’m not really trying to undercut the groove in this instance. Forcing the sides vertical like this also creates a slightly raised edge to the groove. When doing this be careful not to damage the opposite edge of the groove. Step 3 With both sides of the groove forced up, and outward, this view shows the wire in position prior to being tapped into the prepared channel. You’ll notice that the wire is slightly wider than the groove. It’s generally better to have too much metal to force into the channel than too little, as that would result in ugly gaps in the finished inlay. The tool seen here is a flat bottomed punch which I’ll use to work the wire into place. It has a lightly textured face to prevent any unwanted slipping. These punches, used like this, are called narashi-tagane in Japanese workshops. This texture can be applied simply by tapping the face of the punch with a coarse file. Once the first side is completed do the same thing to the other side. Step 4 I’ve begun to work the silver wire into the channel here. You’ll notice the excess material has spread over the edges of the groove. As I’m tapping the punch down onto the silver it is being forced into all the tiny crevices in the bottom of the channel, there may be a sleight undercut but I’m not relying on that. As I tap down on the silver the raised edges of the steel are also being pushed down and inward. This is what actually holds the wire in place. It is really important that the wire you’re intending to inlay be in its softest state, that way it tends to stick quite well in the first few taps as you gently work the metal in place. It’s important to start from one end and move steadily forward without coming back to rework earlier stages of inlay. If you do that, you’ll spread the silver further and if it has nowhere else to go it will eventually be forced upward and out. When working the silver down and into position it’s a good idea to stop before you begin to touch the steel surface with the punch. If you do accidentally mark the ground you’ll find that it takes a lot of effort to remove the marks when finishing. You’ll also notice that I left the end of the wire untouched, this would be important if you were going to join the end to further inlay, you’d lay the last piece in place and work the two ends in together. As in a border or a circle for instance. Step 5 Now the wire has been completely worked in and I’ve begun to chisel away the excess silver using the shishiai-bori chisel. You can also see the rough texture on the wire which the flat punch left. You could, of course, use a file to remove the unwanted material at this point but personally I find the chisel to be far more efficient and less likely to rip the wire out. Again, as with the punch work, try to stay just off the iron ground. This will again save lots of unwanted work later. Step 6 Here you can see that all the excess silver has been chiselled away. You’ll know when you’re getting close to the surface of the steel when you begin to cut into the raised edges of the channel. It’s best to stop at that point. You’ll also notice a few marks at the right hand end of the inlay. Try not to do that!, it just makes for more work later, but even monkeys fall out of trees. Inlay like this can be further levelled by using scrapers, I haven’t used any here as their use is really the subject of another tutorial. Step 7 The completed inlay. I’ve polished the surface level using only a Scotch stone, ( Water of Ayre ). Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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