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  1. #1
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    Default Inlay- To undercut or upset.

    I'm working on a SAA that has a ton of inlay in it. This is the first piece i've done with this much gold and it got me thinking. I'd like to hear what others prefer when it comes to inlay. Particularly in line work and small lettering.
    To upset or undercut. That is the question. I'm experimenting now with both in various situations but I'd like to hear from those with more experience if there is a preference of one or the other in a particular application. Excluding large panel inlay. I'm concerned mainly with the tiny stuff.

  2. #2
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    i always undercut.
    Mitch Moschetti

    MRM ENGRAVING
    www.mrmengraving.com

  3. #3
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    Default

    mauser 243.jpg
    For real small areas I'll use series of very small punches on the sides, essentially an undercut.

  4. #4
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    The problem is always keeping a smooth edge of the gold inlay. Undercutting with a chisel must be carefully done so that the upraised metal does not form a jagged line. This is most easily done when the cavity has vertical walls as opposed to the angled wall of a V cut.

    When possible (most of the time) I prefer to use a scribe and scribe or scratch in the undercut so as to not disturb the surface edge. When doing a larger inlay that will have clean flat metal right up to the edge of the inlay I use the scribe to very good effect.
    TOS
    (The Other Sam)

    FEGA LIFE
    ACGG LIFE
    Guns, Guitars and Old Cars
    A.I.E.

    Cravingravin=a chronic malady that afflicts some of the world's nicest people...TOS

  5. #5
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    There is no question that my friend Sam Welsh (TOS, the other Sam) gets fantastic results using the scribe method.
    But for those who prefer the traditional upset undercut method there is no problem with the upraised metal if done correctly.
    With flush lettering or line work the raised metal is removed at the time the the inlay is flush sanded down.
    And it in fact acts as a good guide that everything is flush and level when the outside shadow line disappears.
    Upset undercut does not work as well for engravers that prefer to shave off the raised surplus gold with a steel or bronze flat.
    I prefer to sand and save the gold sanding dust. Even if you shave the surplus first, you still have to do a final sanding or stoning.
    With a figure or animal type inlay using the upset undercut method it is best to undercut the perimeter outline first and flush down the raised metal and blow out the debris before raising the internal bur field.
    For raised lines or letters using the upset undercut. Sand down the raised metal and clean the channel before inlaying the precious metal.
    Just my way, to each his own and there is certainly more than one way to skin a cat.
    John B.


  6. #6
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    When doing small (inside) curves with the upset method do you grind a radius on the face of the punch or will a small flat raise the edge without distorting the curve?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmace View Post
    When doing small (inside) curves with the upset method do you grind a radius on the face of the punch or will a small flat raise the edge without distorting the curve?
    The smaller the curve the smaller the face. And I always slightly radius the face for inside curves.
    For extremely small radius such as the figure 8 or the & on small Smith & Wesson I just use a tiny point punch at N-S-E and W.
    This avoids any chance of the little steel center being totally undercut and falling out.
    John B.


  8. #8
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    Ok I get it. I usually use undercutting chisels, Like Sam says I am very careful not to scar the edges of the letters or design. I have some very small undercutting Chisels that I sharpen under the scope.
    If you have a upset that is too big punch it back down some.
    Last edited by jerrywh; 08-11-2017 at 05:46 PM.

  9. #9
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    The first inlay I did on this current project was undercut. The issue is of course scarring the opposite wall if not careful. And the graver has to be relieved so much that there's very little left to resharpen or touch up if a tip is broken. I switched to a .25mm flat chisel made from old .30mm carbide round bur shanks. It doesn't take much to get a nice groove and I've had minimal surface bulging. So far this has been my favorite method.
    John, If you are reading this, you did a seminar a few years back in Vegas on inlay. I've lost those notes. I'm about to do some raised Airplanes on the sides of the SAA barrel. Any idea what a preferred gauge would be for the sheet. Gold is steep these days so saving money is always in the back of my mind but not at the risk of cutting corners. This will be inlay, not overlay.
    Thanks for sharing the info guys.

  10. #10
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    Layne,
    Please check your PM. Thank you.
    John B.


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