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Stone inlay, tips needed for a starter

Hello there,

My name is jan-peter. A Dutch guy living and working as a
jeweler for a japanese firm in Japan. More and more I would like
to develop my own designs;independently. Recently I have got an
interest for using stone-inlay techniques but am completely new
with this. I would like to ask you all to help me with anything
you know. To be more concrete:

- about cuttingtools
- about glue's
- about levelling and polishing

and about anything you think I should know about. I know I ask
you a lot but it would be very appreciated.


hi Jan-Peter, Your question is one thay would be better answered by
reccomending a book maybe someone has a reccomendation) , however,I
have been doing inlay for about 25 years and I will tell you how I go
about it. First, about the inlay channel, it should be at least 2mm
in depth ay its shallowest point and the walls of the channel should
be as straight up and down (perpendicular to the surface) as possible
the corners should be sharp and crisp. Anything that will impede the
fitting of the stone into the channel should be removed in wax to the
extent possible and with a burr if necessary after the piece is cast
or fabricated, you can even undercut the channel starting 1mm under
the surface of the piece, this will help in getting a tight fit when
the stone is cut. For most inlays I use a 180 grit diamond disc to cut
the stone into a very slightly wedge shaped to fit into the channel.
Try to sneak up on the fit so you dont go past it, if you do make a
little too small cut it back from the bottom of the stone piece you
are fitting and the slight wedge shape will cause it to fit tighter as
it drops further into the channel.Did that make sense?.Any irregular
contours,convexes or rounded edges can be done on a foredom with mizzy
wheels and sanding discs after you get as colse as possible with the
big wheels. When you are fitting the piece hold it into the channel
and use a very fine mechanical percil to draw a line around the stone
at the surface of the channel this way you can check how far the stone
is dropping in.Use your mizzy wheel for final fitting, the best way to
think about this - remove any part of the stone that is keeping it
from dropping in keep dropping it in until you achieve a tight fit .
When you achieve good fit and good depth make sure the stone and the
piece are clean (very important) use a 2-part epoxy to glue the stone
into the channel, its a good idea to make the epoxy cover about 2mm of
stone extending out of the channel to prevent chipping during cutting
down. Let it cure comlpetely. To cut down I use 180 grit diamond till I
am very close to my final surface then a 280 grit diamond till I am at
the surface of the metal from there 600 corundum,1200 diamond then
polish. Anyway there it is in a nutshell, of course, this basic method
is adjusted in many different ways for the many freaky ways inlay jobs
vary.DONT FORGET- if you are inlaying close to other stones diamond
wheels cut everything and corundum cuts everything but diamonds, you
dont want to scratch your other stones. It’s a big subject and
difficult to handle in a short answer,but I hope this is helpfull if
you have any need of more clarification ,post again and I will try to

Scott Empey -Prism Designs ,Reseda California

Hi Scott Empey,

Please , what is a foredom, and what are mizzy wheels? Is this a case
of different countries using different names for things?

Thank you, Christine

Christine, “a foredom” is the brand name of a flex-shaft; the Foredom
Flexible Shaft Machine.

A “mizzy wheel” is a hard, round, square-edged grinding wheel that is
available in various diameters, thickness and grits. They come with
a center hole for mounting on a mandrel for use in a flex-shaft.

Charles Heick

Hello,Christine and others unfamiliar with U.S. product names: Foredom
is the brand name of a very popular and reliable flexible shaft
tool.Other manufacturers make similar tools , but satisfied Foredom
owners use the brand name as a generic word for a flexible shaft
tool. A Mizzy wheel is a small grinding wheel usually used with a
flexible shaft tool to do exactly what a large grinding wheel does,
except on a small scale. Dee.

Thanks for the clarification of terms. Some of the names and terms
used in other countries leave me smiling but puzzled ( e.g. navel
jelly- mentioned a while ago), a lot I can guess, and some just leave
me totally bamboozled. Christine.

Hey just to let you know in case everyone else hasn’t. Navel jelly is
actually used to stop and remove rust on metal, it’s real!

Some of the names and terms used in other countries leave me smiling
but puzzled ( e.g. navel jelly- mentioned a while ago),  

Christine…Actually, the label on the bottle reads “Naval
Jelly”…it’s a pink gelatinous substance applied to metal surfaces
in order to remove rust (does a good job, too) and its name is
associated with maritime (not umbilical) application. Dee