How to inlay silver wire in wood

Written by sue stepp
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How to inlay silver wire in wood
Inlay silver wire into jewellery and other wood items creating one-of-a-kind designs (solder wire image by naolin from Fotolia.com)

People inlay silver pieces or silver wire accents in items made from wood as decoration. Inlaying silver into wood is simple and uses basic woodworking and jewellery making tools.The tools for inlaying silver are inexpensive, but the silver's price varies depending on the size and pattern of the wire. Silver wire is available in flat, round, half round, square, twisted and decorative patterns. Purchase the preferred wire online or at a jewellery making supplier.

This project is recommended for adults only. The tools are extremely sharp and dangerous.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Heavy leather gloves
  • Wood carving tool set
  • Silver
  • Sponge
  • Bowl
  • Sandpaper

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place all of your materials on a flat surface. If you want wire inlayed into an instrument or jewellery, go for 14- to 16-gauge wire because the wood is thin. If it is for a large wood table or desk, any of the sizes work because the wood is thicker.

  2. 2

    Draw the design on the wood with a pencil, such as a swirl or filigree design. Inlaying the silver into either design is easy. Don't worry about the pencil lines. You won't see them when you are done.

  3. 3

    Trace the pencil design with the wood carving tools, cutting thin, shallow lines for the silver wire. Cut the lines carefully. You want the grooves slightly narrower than the wire you use.

  4. 4

    Lay the wire on top of the design. Shape the wire so it fits the grooves. If there are a lot of swirls or filigree designs, use several pieces of wire for recreating the design.

  5. 5

    Slide the wire into the grooves. Lightly tap the wire into place using a rubber mallet. The silver squeezes into the dips and grooves, forming a stronger bond.

  6. 6

    Wet a sponge and dampen the wood around the wire. The wood will swell and hold the wire in place.

  7. 7

    Sand across the metal until you have a smooth surface. If the wood has any rough spots, sand them carefully.

Tips and warnings

  • Any size, pattern or shape of wire is acceptable for silver wire inlay. Remember, wire sizes work differently from other products. Large numbers on wire mean smaller wire, and small numbers on wire mean bigger wire.
  • When using wood cutting tools, always cut away from your hands and body. Never aim the blade toward your hand or stomach. If it slips, you could end up at the hospital. Wood cutting tool blades are extremely sharp and dangerous.

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