How to Make a Silver Inlay

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Adding silver inlay to wooden pieces in your home, such as furniture or pipes, is a unique way to give them added appeal. The process to make silver inlay is straightforward and simple, but mastering it is something that takes years of practice and work. However, even a novice can get satisfaction out of making silver inlays with patience and a steady hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Chisel hammer
  • Chisels of various sizes (1/8 inch to 1 inch)
  • Soldering Iron
  • Silver solder wire
  • Sandpaper
  • Draw the design on the wooden object you selected. Use a pen or pencil to create any picture, line design or lettering desired.

  • Determine the width of the inlay lines and choose the chisel to work with based on the artwork drawn. Use small chisels for detail work such as fine lines or lettering.

  • Chisel the lines, creating a trough or groove for the silver inlay. Keep the chisel steady and chisel slowly to make the width and depth as consistent as possible.

  • Light the soldering iron by pressing the self-igniting button. It may take several attempts to ignite. (If after five attempts it doesn't ignite, be sure that the soldering iron has butane and the butane valve is open.)

  • Melt the silver solder wire by touching the flame to the wire and holding it over the grooves that you chiseled. Be careful not to allow too much too drip as it is difficult to remove it without removing major sections of the inlay. If the soldering iron is too hot, a lot of silver will drip. If this happens, reduce the heat of the soldering iron.

  • Allow the silver to cool and harden.

  • Sand away the excess gently and smooth the top to create a flat cohesive surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • An optional way to finish the piece is use a clear epoxy over the wood and silver.
  • Be careful when working with a soldering iron; its flame, which obviously melts alloys, is extremely hot.

References

  • Photo Credit Mark DeCou Studio
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