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Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:14 am
by Kriev
I will be doing a class on inlay with Tom. I read about the process from a previous event posting on the main website. I'm wondering what the tool faces will be like to chase the groove, make the bottom a square, and then chase the to form an undercut channel. Can anybody clarify the process a little more to someone who doesn't know a thing about chasing.

I did watch some of Ernie Dorril III's demo in 2014 so I'm somewhat familiar with some of those tools.


Re: Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:06 am
by Martin Pansch
Hi Kriev

Tom taught the inlay class for the Guild a few years back. For straight lines he uses three different chisels to cut the grooves. The first two are almost identical chisels maybe 3 1/2" long and the working end closer to hot cut like geometry vs a cold chisel. They only differ in the fact that one is sharp and one is blunt (maybe 1/32 of an inch for chisels for inlaying about 18 gauge wire). The third chisel is thinner, sharper, and beveled on only one side.

The first chisel is used to score the initial line you intend to inlay. It might take more than one pass to get the depth you want. The second blunt chisel is then used to go over the same line. This will flatten out the bottom of the groove and drive the burr up a little more on both sides. Both these are held straight up in relation to the material being inlayed. The third chisel is used to make an undercut, essentially making the groove into a dovetail. The chisel comes in at a sharp angle from either side of the groove with the goal of cutting where the bottom meets the wall of the groove.

You'll also need one that is essentially a small flatter for helping drive the wire in to the groove.

For sharp curves you can do the same just using matched curved chisels for chisels one and two.

A sharp and flat center punch were used to do the same for "dots" except you don't use a third tool for making an undercut. Instead you are relying on driving the raised burr back down to form the dovetail and lock the soft inlay material into place.

If you need it I can try to get some photos for you when I get home.

Re: Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:43 am
by Stephen Olivo

Re: Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:10 am
by Kriev
Wow! Thanks these replies are super helpful!

Re: Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:30 am
by Keith
Stephen olivo ,
thank you ,thank you for sharing your photos.

Re: Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:13 am
by ZachC
Reading Martin's description, I was totally lost as to what the process would look like, but those pictures were amazingly helpful in understanding what was written. Thanks to Martin and Stephen for both the pictures and the description. It makes me want to go out and try it myself!

Question on the process though, was everything done cold, including the groove work? Is it possible to do this one a piece of hardened steel or only on mild steel?

Re: Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:32 am
by Martin Pansch
Sorry the article was not clear. It was essentially the class handout so was supposed to be accompanied by demonstrations and supervised practice. I’m glad Stephen’s photos helped clear it up.

It was all done cold. Doing it in hardened steel would present enough technical challenges that would make it very difficult (e.g. your tools would have to be harder than the receiving steel, hardened steel chipping, etc). One could try cutting all the grooves when annealed, then heat treat in a controlled atmosphere (e.g. wrapping it in stainless foil) so as not to mess up the grooves, then set the wire and drive the burrs down in the tempered steel. It would have to be a pretty mild temper though.

Re: Tom Latane Inlay

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:40 am
by ZachC
Thanks Martin.

Mild steel would be much easier as you indicated, looks great with done either way. Once I finish getting everything setup I'll have something new to try. :)