1/29/04 This is wire inlay. You may have seen some Bill Moran knives with wire inlay in the handle since he has made several of them. The process is fairly simply in concept, in practice it’s a bit harder than that. Draw a smooth curved line, take a tiny sharp flat piece of metal, push it or pound it in the length of the line to the depth of your wire, then convince the wire to go in the slot. I choose to tap in the line since this Maple is pretty hard. These chisels are made out of hack saw blade sharpened to a point and polished so they cut cleanly. As you chisel, you are forced to keep a smooth line while working quickly as the wood tends to close back up after a few minutes. Here you see a practice piece piece in the background and handle scale I am working on for my first engraved knife.
Here the initial vine has been slotted and I have started to work the wire into the slot. I will use three different sizes of sterling sliver wire on each side to give the inlay some life. The idea here is to match the inlay to the engraving on the spine, knife face and bolsters. I cut these pieces of Maple specifically for the sapwood which will take on a nearly three dimensional appearance when finished.
Here is a picture of 2 sizes of flat wire, one measures .015”x1.6m, the other measures .010”x1.5m and comes from Rio Grande Jewelry supply. The odd looking hammer is actually for hammer and chisel engraving but it works perfectly for this.
1/29/05 Here is the knife in trial fit just before glue up. The scales have been roughed to size and inlayed. The bolsters are attached, shaped and polished. The engraving, of course was done initially before heat treat. The blade shows many different colors from heat treat and cryo. Normally, this ‘scale’ is taken off after heat but I liked how it looked so I’m trying some thing different and I am going to leave it on. It will wear just like an anodized coating would but it sure looks cool now.
2-6-05 Super Bowl Sunday - half time. I finished the engraving on this one today. Here is a quick pic I took during half time dust and all. The blade keeps the heat treat patina, the handle has been inlayed with silver wire and the bolsters engraved. ( Patriots and Eages tied at the half 7up.)
2-6-05 This vine and thorn wraps along both bolsters, the face of the blade and along the spine.
Here is the back side. The square looking white spot on the blade is where the stainless steel foil toched the blade during heat treat. Gotta take the bad with good in this case. (Pats just score a touchdown. I gotta go.)
Mickley Custom Knives