Awards & Engraving

August '19

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A&E AUGUST 2019 • 13 Routing out the material takes a little patience and a steady hand, and I recom- mend first testing out this process on a scrap piece of wood before working on the final product, as I did. Although I used a Dremel and depth guide (Figure G), a small router and wood carving bits should work also. With a c-clamp and wood shim holding the wood in place, I set the initial depth of my Dremel guide to be quite shallow, just enough to mark the surface (Figure H). With that done, I increased the depth by increments of 1/32 inch for each pass in the river until I had reached about 1/8 inch deep. Then I engraved a narrow but deeper trench (about 1/4 inch) in the middle of the river. This was to ensure the solder had a deep surface to help anchor it. I used a sanding block with a medium-grit sandpaper to remove the wood fray along the edges of the river. Added nails in the trench my not have been needed to help anchor the solder, but I did it for reassur- ance (Figure I). A pair of dykes were used to hold the small nails in place, and the hammer and punch finished driving them in the trench. Tip on engraving tips: If you try to engrave too deeply and/or too quickly, you may see smoke and scorching. Over- heating the engraving bit can make it dull quickly. Carbide and cobalt tips do a good job of disseminating and tolerating heat, but they are usually more expensive than other tip options. With the river trench dug, it was time to apply the metal inlay. Solder has the lowest melting point for metal and is the reason I chose it over other metals. I used a few different methods of applying the solder before landing on the drip method — using a propane torch to the solder feed while hovering over the trench. This technique gave me the most control and the solder responded quickly to the direct heat. I applied the solder liberally. A pair of wood shims and wood clamps were used to block both ends of the river to prevent the solder from spilling over the Fig G Fig H Fig I

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