Thursday, September 5, 2013

Inlaying Wire into Wood

Wire inlay experiment #1, Melissa Cable
Brass, sterling silver and reclaimed wine barrel

I am completely enamored with Andrea William's work. Her inlaid beach stones have been haunting my brain. I love jewelry that makes me go "how did they do that!" I let it rattle around in my head for a while and find, almost always, it inspires me in some way. This exercise was born of that inspiration.

I have been playing with wood on and off this year and thought I'd take a stab at inlaying wire into wood. My kids are back in school so once again between the hours of 10am and 3pm I can get some uninterrupted work done.

1. I used a cross cut bur from my favorite bur assortment to carve out lines in the wood, which was a slat of reclaimed wine barrel from the Stikwood assortment I recently ordered. I tried the round, cylinder and flame burs but the cross cut seemed to work best for lines.

2. I flattened 16 gauge wire using a chasing hammer.

3. I inserted 1/8" brass brads (mini hobby nails) into a solderite block and flowed some solder onto each head.

4. I soldered the flattened wire on top of the brads.

5. I used a hammer to gently flatten the nails to harden them and then hammered the wire into the carved slots in the wood.

6. I used 240 grit sandpaper all the way down to 600 to sand the wires flat.

7. The silver dots were made by using a jewelers tap and die and turning 14g silver wire into screws that were inserted into smaller pre-drilled holes in the wood. They were cut short and then the tops hammered flat.

8. The stone is actually a leather compression rivet to fill a hole where I had unsuccessfully tried to inlay a 4mm bezel-set stone. I tried to countersink the bezel but did not leave enough wood for the nail that was soldered onto the back of the bezel.

9. I set an eyelet in the corner to hang it from a chain.

I learned a lot through this process. The wood I chose had a deep, pronounced grain and it cracked at the end of the small wire inlay. It was easily glued using wood glue but I know next time to choose a more compact wood or to stay further from the edges. I also wish I had used 14g wire for the inlay based on the size of the bur I used. While that would mean more sanding, it would have filled the carved lines better. I'm quite sure this is not the last time I'll play with this. One of the things I like best about Andrea's work is the fine lines...they are the perfect contrast to the heavy stones. I'll likely order a smaller cross cut bur and practice being more precise at carving so I can do some finer work. 

But first, it inspired me to spin this into another experiment... inlaying wire into leather. I plan to carve some leather and solder tube rivets onto wire and inlay it into the leather...good thing school has started!

Creating recklessly in a quiet house,


1 comment:

  1. very cool, I hadn't thought of the rivets on the back which now makes my brain think in a new direction! It will be crazy cool on leather, can't wait to see it...