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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting Started

The raw Hickory blank was one I purchased a few years ago, which was wax-dipped and about 11" in dia. by 2" thick. It was completely dry when I started. I mounted the blank from what will be the front with a faceplate ring and 6 screws. I think I used a 100 mm ring.

After truing up the blank, I cut the dovetail into the back for the chuck jaws to fit into. By the way, once I mount the piece into the chuck and start working on the front, it never leaves the chuck until the piece is finished (except for final buffing). This keeps the registration the same and provides a way to hold the piece in a vise for the inlay work.
Wood Hat Headgear Metal Art


I usually finish the back completely before starting on the front, including a coat of varnish for protection.
In this case, though, after I reversed the piece and began shaping the front, the large knot came loose and fell out, despite the fact that I had tried to stabilize it with CA glue. OOPS! Now, things get complicated quickly.

See the hole?
Wood Gesture Wood stain Hardwood Art

Brown Plant Wood Tree Trunk


The next thing I had to do was to decide if the piece was worth saving. Since I had paid for the blank and I HATE to throw pieces away, I decided to fill it. First, though, I had to plan the inlay around the hole. See the rough sketch.
Art Twig Font Plant Paper


I finished cutting the profile for the front of the plate, and sanded it to about 100 grit to give a smooth enough surface to start the repair.

To accomplish the repair, I backed the hole with tape, then partly filled it with a mixture of anthracite and mica, then added CA glue to stabilize it for the back. Then, I filled the front side with hickory sawdust and CA glue to provide a reasonably consistent (and strong) base for the inlay.
Insect Arthropod Wood Pollinator Pest


Once the repair was cured, I sanded back and front to probably 220 grit. I use mostly 3" wave discs and an angled electric grinder. It makes the whole project go faster, and the results are far, far better than hand-held sanding pads.

Then I drew the pattern onto the blank, and cut the groove for the frame on the lathe with a cutoff tool. I decided I wanted to use large chunks of green calcite for the frame, which are almost transparent. So, I typically smooth the groove to 220 grit or so, prime it, and apply gold leaf (or imitation gold in this case) to provide a mirror-like reflective base that enhances the color of the calcite and catches the light and sends it on a round-trip back to your eyes.

Once the gilding was finished, I began cutting the inlay with a rotary cutter. I use solid carbide down-spiral cutters for a clean edge. You must do this VERY carefully, since mistakes in the inlay cuts are almost impossible to hide (unless you change the design!)
Brown Wood Window Tints and shades Circle


Here is the piece with the trunks and branches cut in. Notice that I had not yet decided to put leaves in. The inlay cuts for leaves should be added later, after the trunks, branches, and frame is basically complete, in order to prevent the different colors of minerals from mixing where I don't want them.
Wood Art Circle Table Artifact


OK, that's it for now. I will show you how to start the stone inlay process in the next installment.
 

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2,604 Posts
Getting Started

The raw Hickory blank was one I purchased a few years ago, which was wax-dipped and about 11" in dia. by 2" thick. It was completely dry when I started. I mounted the blank from what will be the front with a faceplate ring and 6 screws. I think I used a 100 mm ring.

After truing up the blank, I cut the dovetail into the back for the chuck jaws to fit into. By the way, once I mount the piece into the chuck and start working on the front, it never leaves the chuck until the piece is finished (except for final buffing). This keeps the registration the same and provides a way to hold the piece in a vise for the inlay work.
Wood Hat Headgear Metal Art


I usually finish the back completely before starting on the front, including a coat of varnish for protection.
In this case, though, after I reversed the piece and began shaping the front, the large knot came loose and fell out, despite the fact that I had tried to stabilize it with CA glue. OOPS! Now, things get complicated quickly.

See the hole?
Wood Gesture Wood stain Hardwood Art

Brown Plant Wood Tree Trunk


The next thing I had to do was to decide if the piece was worth saving. Since I had paid for the blank and I HATE to throw pieces away, I decided to fill it. First, though, I had to plan the inlay around the hole. See the rough sketch.
Art Twig Font Plant Paper


I finished cutting the profile for the front of the plate, and sanded it to about 100 grit to give a smooth enough surface to start the repair.

To accomplish the repair, I backed the hole with tape, then partly filled it with a mixture of anthracite and mica, then added CA glue to stabilize it for the back. Then, I filled the front side with hickory sawdust and CA glue to provide a reasonably consistent (and strong) base for the inlay.
Insect Arthropod Wood Pollinator Pest


Once the repair was cured, I sanded back and front to probably 220 grit. I use mostly 3" wave discs and an angled electric grinder. It makes the whole project go faster, and the results are far, far better than hand-held sanding pads.

Then I drew the pattern onto the blank, and cut the groove for the frame on the lathe with a cutoff tool. I decided I wanted to use large chunks of green calcite for the frame, which are almost transparent. So, I typically smooth the groove to 220 grit or so, prime it, and apply gold leaf (or imitation gold in this case) to provide a mirror-like reflective base that enhances the color of the calcite and catches the light and sends it on a round-trip back to your eyes.

Once the gilding was finished, I began cutting the inlay with a rotary cutter. I use solid carbide down-spiral cutters for a clean edge. You must do this VERY carefully, since mistakes in the inlay cuts are almost impossible to hide (unless you change the design!)
Brown Wood Window Tints and shades Circle


Here is the piece with the trunks and branches cut in. Notice that I had not yet decided to put leaves in. The inlay cuts for leaves should be added later, after the trunks, branches, and frame is basically complete, in order to prevent the different colors of minerals from mixing where I don't want them.
Wood Art Circle Table Artifact


OK, that's it for now. I will show you how to start the stone inlay process in the next installment.
Very good blog, but be careful wearing gloves while working on the lathe, heard some horror stories. I love your work.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL
 

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8,952 Posts
Getting Started

The raw Hickory blank was one I purchased a few years ago, which was wax-dipped and about 11" in dia. by 2" thick. It was completely dry when I started. I mounted the blank from what will be the front with a faceplate ring and 6 screws. I think I used a 100 mm ring.

After truing up the blank, I cut the dovetail into the back for the chuck jaws to fit into. By the way, once I mount the piece into the chuck and start working on the front, it never leaves the chuck until the piece is finished (except for final buffing). This keeps the registration the same and provides a way to hold the piece in a vise for the inlay work.
Wood Hat Headgear Metal Art


I usually finish the back completely before starting on the front, including a coat of varnish for protection.
In this case, though, after I reversed the piece and began shaping the front, the large knot came loose and fell out, despite the fact that I had tried to stabilize it with CA glue. OOPS! Now, things get complicated quickly.

See the hole?
Wood Gesture Wood stain Hardwood Art

Brown Plant Wood Tree Trunk


The next thing I had to do was to decide if the piece was worth saving. Since I had paid for the blank and I HATE to throw pieces away, I decided to fill it. First, though, I had to plan the inlay around the hole. See the rough sketch.
Art Twig Font Plant Paper


I finished cutting the profile for the front of the plate, and sanded it to about 100 grit to give a smooth enough surface to start the repair.

To accomplish the repair, I backed the hole with tape, then partly filled it with a mixture of anthracite and mica, then added CA glue to stabilize it for the back. Then, I filled the front side with hickory sawdust and CA glue to provide a reasonably consistent (and strong) base for the inlay.
Insect Arthropod Wood Pollinator Pest


Once the repair was cured, I sanded back and front to probably 220 grit. I use mostly 3" wave discs and an angled electric grinder. It makes the whole project go faster, and the results are far, far better than hand-held sanding pads.

Then I drew the pattern onto the blank, and cut the groove for the frame on the lathe with a cutoff tool. I decided I wanted to use large chunks of green calcite for the frame, which are almost transparent. So, I typically smooth the groove to 220 grit or so, prime it, and apply gold leaf (or imitation gold in this case) to provide a mirror-like reflective base that enhances the color of the calcite and catches the light and sends it on a round-trip back to your eyes.

Once the gilding was finished, I began cutting the inlay with a rotary cutter. I use solid carbide down-spiral cutters for a clean edge. You must do this VERY carefully, since mistakes in the inlay cuts are almost impossible to hide (unless you change the design!)
Brown Wood Window Tints and shades Circle


Here is the piece with the trunks and branches cut in. Notice that I had not yet decided to put leaves in. The inlay cuts for leaves should be added later, after the trunks, branches, and frame is basically complete, in order to prevent the different colors of minerals from mixing where I don't want them.
Wood Art Circle Table Artifact


OK, that's it for now. I will show you how to start the stone inlay process in the next installment.
To answer another thread here, where it is appropriate, Yes, woodworking can be art. Very cool process. Are you following a known process or making it up as you go along? Either way it's just great work.
 

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1,913 Posts
Getting Started

The raw Hickory blank was one I purchased a few years ago, which was wax-dipped and about 11" in dia. by 2" thick. It was completely dry when I started. I mounted the blank from what will be the front with a faceplate ring and 6 screws. I think I used a 100 mm ring.

After truing up the blank, I cut the dovetail into the back for the chuck jaws to fit into. By the way, once I mount the piece into the chuck and start working on the front, it never leaves the chuck until the piece is finished (except for final buffing). This keeps the registration the same and provides a way to hold the piece in a vise for the inlay work.
Wood Hat Headgear Metal Art


I usually finish the back completely before starting on the front, including a coat of varnish for protection.
In this case, though, after I reversed the piece and began shaping the front, the large knot came loose and fell out, despite the fact that I had tried to stabilize it with CA glue. OOPS! Now, things get complicated quickly.

See the hole?
Wood Gesture Wood stain Hardwood Art

Brown Plant Wood Tree Trunk


The next thing I had to do was to decide if the piece was worth saving. Since I had paid for the blank and I HATE to throw pieces away, I decided to fill it. First, though, I had to plan the inlay around the hole. See the rough sketch.
Art Twig Font Plant Paper


I finished cutting the profile for the front of the plate, and sanded it to about 100 grit to give a smooth enough surface to start the repair.

To accomplish the repair, I backed the hole with tape, then partly filled it with a mixture of anthracite and mica, then added CA glue to stabilize it for the back. Then, I filled the front side with hickory sawdust and CA glue to provide a reasonably consistent (and strong) base for the inlay.
Insect Arthropod Wood Pollinator Pest


Once the repair was cured, I sanded back and front to probably 220 grit. I use mostly 3" wave discs and an angled electric grinder. It makes the whole project go faster, and the results are far, far better than hand-held sanding pads.

Then I drew the pattern onto the blank, and cut the groove for the frame on the lathe with a cutoff tool. I decided I wanted to use large chunks of green calcite for the frame, which are almost transparent. So, I typically smooth the groove to 220 grit or so, prime it, and apply gold leaf (or imitation gold in this case) to provide a mirror-like reflective base that enhances the color of the calcite and catches the light and sends it on a round-trip back to your eyes.

Once the gilding was finished, I began cutting the inlay with a rotary cutter. I use solid carbide down-spiral cutters for a clean edge. You must do this VERY carefully, since mistakes in the inlay cuts are almost impossible to hide (unless you change the design!)
Brown Wood Window Tints and shades Circle


Here is the piece with the trunks and branches cut in. Notice that I had not yet decided to put leaves in. The inlay cuts for leaves should be added later, after the trunks, branches, and frame is basically complete, in order to prevent the different colors of minerals from mixing where I don't want them.
Wood Art Circle Table Artifact


OK, that's it for now. I will show you how to start the stone inlay process in the next installment.
Great description, and looks like your doing it right, look forward to your next showing.
 

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Premium Member
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25,661 Posts
Getting Started

The raw Hickory blank was one I purchased a few years ago, which was wax-dipped and about 11" in dia. by 2" thick. It was completely dry when I started. I mounted the blank from what will be the front with a faceplate ring and 6 screws. I think I used a 100 mm ring.

After truing up the blank, I cut the dovetail into the back for the chuck jaws to fit into. By the way, once I mount the piece into the chuck and start working on the front, it never leaves the chuck until the piece is finished (except for final buffing). This keeps the registration the same and provides a way to hold the piece in a vise for the inlay work.
Wood Hat Headgear Metal Art


I usually finish the back completely before starting on the front, including a coat of varnish for protection.
In this case, though, after I reversed the piece and began shaping the front, the large knot came loose and fell out, despite the fact that I had tried to stabilize it with CA glue. OOPS! Now, things get complicated quickly.

See the hole?
Wood Gesture Wood stain Hardwood Art

Brown Plant Wood Tree Trunk


The next thing I had to do was to decide if the piece was worth saving. Since I had paid for the blank and I HATE to throw pieces away, I decided to fill it. First, though, I had to plan the inlay around the hole. See the rough sketch.
Art Twig Font Plant Paper


I finished cutting the profile for the front of the plate, and sanded it to about 100 grit to give a smooth enough surface to start the repair.

To accomplish the repair, I backed the hole with tape, then partly filled it with a mixture of anthracite and mica, then added CA glue to stabilize it for the back. Then, I filled the front side with hickory sawdust and CA glue to provide a reasonably consistent (and strong) base for the inlay.
Insect Arthropod Wood Pollinator Pest


Once the repair was cured, I sanded back and front to probably 220 grit. I use mostly 3" wave discs and an angled electric grinder. It makes the whole project go faster, and the results are far, far better than hand-held sanding pads.

Then I drew the pattern onto the blank, and cut the groove for the frame on the lathe with a cutoff tool. I decided I wanted to use large chunks of green calcite for the frame, which are almost transparent. So, I typically smooth the groove to 220 grit or so, prime it, and apply gold leaf (or imitation gold in this case) to provide a mirror-like reflective base that enhances the color of the calcite and catches the light and sends it on a round-trip back to your eyes.

Once the gilding was finished, I began cutting the inlay with a rotary cutter. I use solid carbide down-spiral cutters for a clean edge. You must do this VERY carefully, since mistakes in the inlay cuts are almost impossible to hide (unless you change the design!)
Brown Wood Window Tints and shades Circle


Here is the piece with the trunks and branches cut in. Notice that I had not yet decided to put leaves in. The inlay cuts for leaves should be added later, after the trunks, branches, and frame is basically complete, in order to prevent the different colors of minerals from mixing where I don't want them.
Wood Art Circle Table Artifact


OK, that's it for now. I will show you how to start the stone inlay process in the next installment.
Thanks for taking time to do this.
 

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1,475 Posts
Getting Started

The raw Hickory blank was one I purchased a few years ago, which was wax-dipped and about 11" in dia. by 2" thick. It was completely dry when I started. I mounted the blank from what will be the front with a faceplate ring and 6 screws. I think I used a 100 mm ring.

After truing up the blank, I cut the dovetail into the back for the chuck jaws to fit into. By the way, once I mount the piece into the chuck and start working on the front, it never leaves the chuck until the piece is finished (except for final buffing). This keeps the registration the same and provides a way to hold the piece in a vise for the inlay work.
Wood Hat Headgear Metal Art


I usually finish the back completely before starting on the front, including a coat of varnish for protection.
In this case, though, after I reversed the piece and began shaping the front, the large knot came loose and fell out, despite the fact that I had tried to stabilize it with CA glue. OOPS! Now, things get complicated quickly.

See the hole?
Wood Gesture Wood stain Hardwood Art

Brown Plant Wood Tree Trunk


The next thing I had to do was to decide if the piece was worth saving. Since I had paid for the blank and I HATE to throw pieces away, I decided to fill it. First, though, I had to plan the inlay around the hole. See the rough sketch.
Art Twig Font Plant Paper


I finished cutting the profile for the front of the plate, and sanded it to about 100 grit to give a smooth enough surface to start the repair.

To accomplish the repair, I backed the hole with tape, then partly filled it with a mixture of anthracite and mica, then added CA glue to stabilize it for the back. Then, I filled the front side with hickory sawdust and CA glue to provide a reasonably consistent (and strong) base for the inlay.
Insect Arthropod Wood Pollinator Pest


Once the repair was cured, I sanded back and front to probably 220 grit. I use mostly 3" wave discs and an angled electric grinder. It makes the whole project go faster, and the results are far, far better than hand-held sanding pads.

Then I drew the pattern onto the blank, and cut the groove for the frame on the lathe with a cutoff tool. I decided I wanted to use large chunks of green calcite for the frame, which are almost transparent. So, I typically smooth the groove to 220 grit or so, prime it, and apply gold leaf (or imitation gold in this case) to provide a mirror-like reflective base that enhances the color of the calcite and catches the light and sends it on a round-trip back to your eyes.

Once the gilding was finished, I began cutting the inlay with a rotary cutter. I use solid carbide down-spiral cutters for a clean edge. You must do this VERY carefully, since mistakes in the inlay cuts are almost impossible to hide (unless you change the design!)
Brown Wood Window Tints and shades Circle


Here is the piece with the trunks and branches cut in. Notice that I had not yet decided to put leaves in. The inlay cuts for leaves should be added later, after the trunks, branches, and frame is basically complete, in order to prevent the different colors of minerals from mixing where I don't want them.
Wood Art Circle Table Artifact


OK, that's it for now. I will show you how to start the stone inlay process in the next installment.
Yea, thanks for posting this. It is certainly very interesting.
Looking forward in the next installment
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Getting Started

The raw Hickory blank was one I purchased a few years ago, which was wax-dipped and about 11" in dia. by 2" thick. It was completely dry when I started. I mounted the blank from what will be the front with a faceplate ring and 6 screws. I think I used a 100 mm ring.

After truing up the blank, I cut the dovetail into the back for the chuck jaws to fit into. By the way, once I mount the piece into the chuck and start working on the front, it never leaves the chuck until the piece is finished (except for final buffing). This keeps the registration the same and provides a way to hold the piece in a vise for the inlay work.
Wood Hat Headgear Metal Art


I usually finish the back completely before starting on the front, including a coat of varnish for protection.
In this case, though, after I reversed the piece and began shaping the front, the large knot came loose and fell out, despite the fact that I had tried to stabilize it with CA glue. OOPS! Now, things get complicated quickly.

See the hole?
Wood Gesture Wood stain Hardwood Art

Brown Plant Wood Tree Trunk


The next thing I had to do was to decide if the piece was worth saving. Since I had paid for the blank and I HATE to throw pieces away, I decided to fill it. First, though, I had to plan the inlay around the hole. See the rough sketch.
Art Twig Font Plant Paper


I finished cutting the profile for the front of the plate, and sanded it to about 100 grit to give a smooth enough surface to start the repair.

To accomplish the repair, I backed the hole with tape, then partly filled it with a mixture of anthracite and mica, then added CA glue to stabilize it for the back. Then, I filled the front side with hickory sawdust and CA glue to provide a reasonably consistent (and strong) base for the inlay.
Insect Arthropod Wood Pollinator Pest


Once the repair was cured, I sanded back and front to probably 220 grit. I use mostly 3" wave discs and an angled electric grinder. It makes the whole project go faster, and the results are far, far better than hand-held sanding pads.

Then I drew the pattern onto the blank, and cut the groove for the frame on the lathe with a cutoff tool. I decided I wanted to use large chunks of green calcite for the frame, which are almost transparent. So, I typically smooth the groove to 220 grit or so, prime it, and apply gold leaf (or imitation gold in this case) to provide a mirror-like reflective base that enhances the color of the calcite and catches the light and sends it on a round-trip back to your eyes.

Once the gilding was finished, I began cutting the inlay with a rotary cutter. I use solid carbide down-spiral cutters for a clean edge. You must do this VERY carefully, since mistakes in the inlay cuts are almost impossible to hide (unless you change the design!)
Brown Wood Window Tints and shades Circle


Here is the piece with the trunks and branches cut in. Notice that I had not yet decided to put leaves in. The inlay cuts for leaves should be added later, after the trunks, branches, and frame is basically complete, in order to prevent the different colors of minerals from mixing where I don't want them.
Wood Art Circle Table Artifact


OK, that's it for now. I will show you how to start the stone inlay process in the next installment.
To answer Paul M's question. I first learned about how to do this by visiting Steve Hatcher's site. His art is way beyond mine, but the basic process is the same. This is the sort of process whereby everyone comes up with their own tips and techniques.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
Awesome blog, I am looking forward to the follow on… I have done very little inlay, and this seems to be a very beautiful alternative to traditional inlay.
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
Thanks for the Great Blog!!
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
What a great blog with new ideas (for me!) and great photos.

What do you mean by -'you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6'. What is that refering to, the density of the stones. If so how do you know what that is for each stone?
Also thanks for the health and safety tips. Sometimes coming in new to something like this you wouldn't think of those things until you start to have problems.
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
Thanks for posting and the tips about toxicity of some stones. I'll be watching for the next one.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
Thanks for the blog - this is something I hope to do one day. I especially appreciate the safety warning. It makes perfect sense, but I had not considered it. I am looking forward to the rest of the story! Thanks for sharing.
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
I'm really enjoying your blog and your work. Can't wait for the next installment
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
Great Lookin Job
 

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Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
Awesome- this is essentially the same process I use, just more exact, and well explained!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Playing with Stones

Welcome to the second installment!

I had some pieces of leftover marble from a flooring project the former owner of our house had left behind. Just a word here on minerals and stones. I never buy pre-crushed stones. They are too uniform for my taste. I use a very large granite mortar and pestle to reduce the raw stones and minerals before sifting. I also use bonsai soil screens to sift into six or seven general sizes and hand-pick the pieces I want. For an overview of minerals in the correct range of hardness, visit "http://www.greatsouth.net/"

The picture here shows the mortar and the screens I use, along with a sampling of stones in the shop. The final step is to create a fine dust in the mortar to use as a binder between the larger stones.

Table Dishware Drinkware Desk Serveware


Table Food Cuisine Ingredient Dish


Technology Basket Circle Wire Wood


Food Ingredient Cuisine Dish Shipping box


Once the inlay is prepared, I typically start experimenting with different stone sizes, mixtures, and patterns. In this case, I already knew I was going to use white marble (with some gray streaks) for the trunks. I also referred to pictures of birches (and walked out to the front yard to look at my river birches) to get an idea of how the branches want to grow out of the trunks. While I didn't shoot for botanical accuracy by any stretch, I wanted the trees to be recognizable for this piece.

Wood Serveware Circle Art Jewellery


In general, it is best to place the larger pieces the way you want them. Then, fill the voids in-between them with finer and finer grades of stone or even mixtures of different stones to get the effect you want.

Here, I wanted the thinner branches to be a darker brown/black than the white trunks, just like in nature. So, I mixed up several minerals: black mica, anthracite, aragonite, limonite, spar gypsum, and probably a few others I have forgotten. Note that for inlay into wood, you must stay below a hardness of 5 or 6 or the resulting inlay will be too hard to grind and sand flush. This does limit the choices you can incorporate, but there are a number of really beautiful minerals you can choose. Below, you can see the darker mix I used for the thin branches and to fill in between the larger pieces in the trunks. I use artists brushes, dental picks, toothpicks, spoons; any number of things to assist in moving the stones and minerals around.

Brown Wood Yellow Cuisine Insect


After the bulk of the stones were in place for the trunks and branches, I laid in the calcite rim in a similar fashion. I use water-thin CA glue to cement the stones in place in any number of steps, depending on the nature of the piece.

Ingredient Tableware Dishware Serveware Wood


Note that the leaves were not inlaid yet. The next step was to start the grinding process. I use an air driven die grinder for the rough grinding, starting with 60 grit, then to 80 grit. Once the high spots were cut down to manageable levels, I began the sanding process using the slower electric sander shown below, getting the surface to about 220 grit.

A few words on safety. You MUST USE A CHEMICAL AND DUST RESPIRATOR WHILE GRINDING AND INCORPORATE SOME TYPE OF DUST COLLECTION!!! A DUST MASK DOES NOT CUT IT!! The minerals and stones often contain toxic substances. For example Malachite is toxic, lapis can be very toxic, and on and on. The dust you will create is extremely fine and will irritate you lungs (at best) or sicken you (at worst) if you don't take proper precautions. Also, I wear nitrile gloves during grinding for the same reason.

Saw Tire Wheel Automotive tire Concrete saw


Here is a closeup of the rim area before the first grinding step.

Natural material Wood Cuisine Terrestrial plant Dish


Okay, that's it for now. I will leave you with a last shot of the piece after the first set of grinding and sanding steps. Still lots of filling in to go!

Wood Trunk Natural material Circle Terrestrial animal
To answer a question; the hardness mentioned above is called Moh's scale. It is the measure of hardness used in geology that describes the ability of a harder substance to scratch a softer one. The higher the number, the harder the material. In our case, a hardness of 6.0 is just below quartz which has a hardness of 7.0. The hardest stones I have used successfully are sodalite and lapis (both are 5.5 or so). The calcite used in the plate above is at about 3 (soft but easily polished). The marble I used was pretty soft, but can range from 2.5 to 5.
 

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Finishing the Piece

Hi, all, and thanks again for reading.

We left off with the piece having had its "first" grind. The idea at this stage is to get the stone almost, but not quite, flush with the wood. This reveals unfilled voids in the inlay that have to be filled. This is where the finer material, especially the powder, comes in. The trick is to fill in the gaps and voids with the powder, then carefully fix it in place with water-thin CA glue. I have found applicator tips to be a must-have for this. The standard tips that come with CA glue are not controllable, and you can end up with glue everywhere.

Gas Wood Satellite phone Heat-shrink tubing Event


Another safety tip:
CA glue is a very chemically active substance. It bonds skin instantly. It will wreck your eyes. The fumes are dangerous. If you use a lot of it at once as you must in doing inlay, the curing process can suddenly get very hot; hot enough to burn skin. (Believe me I know!). Nitrile gloves are a must as is good eye protection.

So, please use extreme caution when using the large quantities of CA glue needed for this type of inlay. I use a respirator, and I use a fan to blow clean air across the work area, directed toward a large exhaust fan so the fumes are carried off. You will probably also need to use some curing accelerator from time to time. It really stinks and is very flammable and toxic. Just stay on your toes, use appropriate safety equipment, and go slow! This is not a process for children!


Now, the void filling process can take many steps of fill/sand/fill/sand. It will be up to you how perfect you want the surface to be. You can fill pinholes and depressions in the surface with a medium viscosity CA glue that stays in place. Once the holes are filled to satisfaction, progressively sand through at least 400 to get the inlay smooth and flush.

As you might imagine, you can really go through a lot of glue. Resist the urge to buy the mega bottles, though. I have had to throw out lots of glue that cured in the bottle before being used up.

In this case, I decided to leave the trunks "proud" of the surface rather than perfectly flush. It is very difficult to capture with a camera, but they really stand out. The trick was to sand the stone smooth without making it flush. All I can say is that it took awhile to carefully sand it without eating away too much wood at the edges.

Once I had the trunks, branches, and rim pretty much sanded smooth to 320 or 400 grit, it was time to inlay the leaves. At this point, I experimented with sprinkling some small chips to simulate the effect. I wasn't sure I wanted leaves until I did this. I decided the leaves gave the piece more dimension and "pop." I liked the mix of mostly malachite, with a few yellow leaves in sulfur.

Tableware Dishware Wood Plate Serveware


Here you can see that the leaves are completely in powder carefully placed into the impressions and fixed with CA glue.

Wood Sleeve Twig Pattern Jewellery


Here is a shot of the carbide down-spiral cutters and the hand-piece I use. Note that I added an air hose to the hand-piece to blow away the sawdust. This really helps during the inlay process, since the details are very small. The cutter I used for the leaves is the 1/32 size. tiny!

Product Writing implement Office supplies Font Material property


Now, the rest of the process is about finishing. You have to carefully sand the mineral inlay to at least 2000 grit before adding wood finish. This is quite laborious, but when you hit 600 to 800 grit, the minerals start to shine up and it gets pretty exciting. By the time you hit 2000, the stuff is like glass!

Twig Branch Wood Plant Tree


Once the sanding was done, I used a tung oil/varnish mixture (cut with naphtha). I use a high quality marine varnish with good UV inhibitors to protect the wood and 100% high quality tung oil. These pieces look best in fairly bright light, so the UV filter is important.

Don't worry about getting varnish on the inlay. Between varnish applications, rub the surface with 0000 steel wool and allow the final coat to cure.

Now, the final steps! To get the really great finish these pieces need, I use the three-part Beall buffing system. The first compound (brown) will remove any varnish from the minerals. The white diamond compound will shine it up, and the final carnauba wax will make it breath-taking! Don't skimp on the final sanding and finishing. The final hours are where the real payoff lies!

Circle Wood Jewellery Art Font


Well, that's it! I know there are a lot of tips and techniques I have developed that I forgot to mention. So, feel free to send a message or comment on the post if you have questions.

Below is a shot of the next piece coming along. It is a buckeye burl vase with a lapis lazuli inlay.

Wood Gas Automotive tire Cylinder Machine


I have found stone inlay can add incredible depth, color and texture to my artwork. Give it a try!

Blessings,
John
 

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6,840 Posts
Finishing the Piece

Hi, all, and thanks again for reading.

We left off with the piece having had its "first" grind. The idea at this stage is to get the stone almost, but not quite, flush with the wood. This reveals unfilled voids in the inlay that have to be filled. This is where the finer material, especially the powder, comes in. The trick is to fill in the gaps and voids with the powder, then carefully fix it in place with water-thin CA glue. I have found applicator tips to be a must-have for this. The standard tips that come with CA glue are not controllable, and you can end up with glue everywhere.

Gas Wood Satellite phone Heat-shrink tubing Event


Another safety tip:
CA glue is a very chemically active substance. It bonds skin instantly. It will wreck your eyes. The fumes are dangerous. If you use a lot of it at once as you must in doing inlay, the curing process can suddenly get very hot; hot enough to burn skin. (Believe me I know!). Nitrile gloves are a must as is good eye protection.

So, please use extreme caution when using the large quantities of CA glue needed for this type of inlay. I use a respirator, and I use a fan to blow clean air across the work area, directed toward a large exhaust fan so the fumes are carried off. You will probably also need to use some curing accelerator from time to time. It really stinks and is very flammable and toxic. Just stay on your toes, use appropriate safety equipment, and go slow! This is not a process for children!


Now, the void filling process can take many steps of fill/sand/fill/sand. It will be up to you how perfect you want the surface to be. You can fill pinholes and depressions in the surface with a medium viscosity CA glue that stays in place. Once the holes are filled to satisfaction, progressively sand through at least 400 to get the inlay smooth and flush.

As you might imagine, you can really go through a lot of glue. Resist the urge to buy the mega bottles, though. I have had to throw out lots of glue that cured in the bottle before being used up.

In this case, I decided to leave the trunks "proud" of the surface rather than perfectly flush. It is very difficult to capture with a camera, but they really stand out. The trick was to sand the stone smooth without making it flush. All I can say is that it took awhile to carefully sand it without eating away too much wood at the edges.

Once I had the trunks, branches, and rim pretty much sanded smooth to 320 or 400 grit, it was time to inlay the leaves. At this point, I experimented with sprinkling some small chips to simulate the effect. I wasn't sure I wanted leaves until I did this. I decided the leaves gave the piece more dimension and "pop." I liked the mix of mostly malachite, with a few yellow leaves in sulfur.

Tableware Dishware Wood Plate Serveware


Here you can see that the leaves are completely in powder carefully placed into the impressions and fixed with CA glue.

Wood Sleeve Twig Pattern Jewellery


Here is a shot of the carbide down-spiral cutters and the hand-piece I use. Note that I added an air hose to the hand-piece to blow away the sawdust. This really helps during the inlay process, since the details are very small. The cutter I used for the leaves is the 1/32 size. tiny!

Product Writing implement Office supplies Font Material property


Now, the rest of the process is about finishing. You have to carefully sand the mineral inlay to at least 2000 grit before adding wood finish. This is quite laborious, but when you hit 600 to 800 grit, the minerals start to shine up and it gets pretty exciting. By the time you hit 2000, the stuff is like glass!

Twig Branch Wood Plant Tree


Once the sanding was done, I used a tung oil/varnish mixture (cut with naphtha). I use a high quality marine varnish with good UV inhibitors to protect the wood and 100% high quality tung oil. These pieces look best in fairly bright light, so the UV filter is important.

Don't worry about getting varnish on the inlay. Between varnish applications, rub the surface with 0000 steel wool and allow the final coat to cure.

Now, the final steps! To get the really great finish these pieces need, I use the three-part Beall buffing system. The first compound (brown) will remove any varnish from the minerals. The white diamond compound will shine it up, and the final carnauba wax will make it breath-taking! Don't skimp on the final sanding and finishing. The final hours are where the real payoff lies!

Circle Wood Jewellery Art Font


Well, that's it! I know there are a lot of tips and techniques I have developed that I forgot to mention. So, feel free to send a message or comment on the post if you have questions.

Below is a shot of the next piece coming along. It is a buckeye burl vase with a lapis lazuli inlay.

Wood Gas Automotive tire Cylinder Machine


I have found stone inlay can add incredible depth, color and texture to my artwork. Give it a try!

Blessings,
John
A great blog! Informative and a fantastic peice for an example! Thanks for sharing.
 

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Finishing the Piece

Hi, all, and thanks again for reading.

We left off with the piece having had its "first" grind. The idea at this stage is to get the stone almost, but not quite, flush with the wood. This reveals unfilled voids in the inlay that have to be filled. This is where the finer material, especially the powder, comes in. The trick is to fill in the gaps and voids with the powder, then carefully fix it in place with water-thin CA glue. I have found applicator tips to be a must-have for this. The standard tips that come with CA glue are not controllable, and you can end up with glue everywhere.

Gas Wood Satellite phone Heat-shrink tubing Event


Another safety tip:
CA glue is a very chemically active substance. It bonds skin instantly. It will wreck your eyes. The fumes are dangerous. If you use a lot of it at once as you must in doing inlay, the curing process can suddenly get very hot; hot enough to burn skin. (Believe me I know!). Nitrile gloves are a must as is good eye protection.

So, please use extreme caution when using the large quantities of CA glue needed for this type of inlay. I use a respirator, and I use a fan to blow clean air across the work area, directed toward a large exhaust fan so the fumes are carried off. You will probably also need to use some curing accelerator from time to time. It really stinks and is very flammable and toxic. Just stay on your toes, use appropriate safety equipment, and go slow! This is not a process for children!


Now, the void filling process can take many steps of fill/sand/fill/sand. It will be up to you how perfect you want the surface to be. You can fill pinholes and depressions in the surface with a medium viscosity CA glue that stays in place. Once the holes are filled to satisfaction, progressively sand through at least 400 to get the inlay smooth and flush.

As you might imagine, you can really go through a lot of glue. Resist the urge to buy the mega bottles, though. I have had to throw out lots of glue that cured in the bottle before being used up.

In this case, I decided to leave the trunks "proud" of the surface rather than perfectly flush. It is very difficult to capture with a camera, but they really stand out. The trick was to sand the stone smooth without making it flush. All I can say is that it took awhile to carefully sand it without eating away too much wood at the edges.

Once I had the trunks, branches, and rim pretty much sanded smooth to 320 or 400 grit, it was time to inlay the leaves. At this point, I experimented with sprinkling some small chips to simulate the effect. I wasn't sure I wanted leaves until I did this. I decided the leaves gave the piece more dimension and "pop." I liked the mix of mostly malachite, with a few yellow leaves in sulfur.

Tableware Dishware Wood Plate Serveware


Here you can see that the leaves are completely in powder carefully placed into the impressions and fixed with CA glue.

Wood Sleeve Twig Pattern Jewellery


Here is a shot of the carbide down-spiral cutters and the hand-piece I use. Note that I added an air hose to the hand-piece to blow away the sawdust. This really helps during the inlay process, since the details are very small. The cutter I used for the leaves is the 1/32 size. tiny!

Product Writing implement Office supplies Font Material property


Now, the rest of the process is about finishing. You have to carefully sand the mineral inlay to at least 2000 grit before adding wood finish. This is quite laborious, but when you hit 600 to 800 grit, the minerals start to shine up and it gets pretty exciting. By the time you hit 2000, the stuff is like glass!

Twig Branch Wood Plant Tree


Once the sanding was done, I used a tung oil/varnish mixture (cut with naphtha). I use a high quality marine varnish with good UV inhibitors to protect the wood and 100% high quality tung oil. These pieces look best in fairly bright light, so the UV filter is important.

Don't worry about getting varnish on the inlay. Between varnish applications, rub the surface with 0000 steel wool and allow the final coat to cure.

Now, the final steps! To get the really great finish these pieces need, I use the three-part Beall buffing system. The first compound (brown) will remove any varnish from the minerals. The white diamond compound will shine it up, and the final carnauba wax will make it breath-taking! Don't skimp on the final sanding and finishing. The final hours are where the real payoff lies!

Circle Wood Jewellery Art Font


Well, that's it! I know there are a lot of tips and techniques I have developed that I forgot to mention. So, feel free to send a message or comment on the post if you have questions.

Below is a shot of the next piece coming along. It is a buckeye burl vase with a lapis lazuli inlay.

Wood Gas Automotive tire Cylinder Machine


I have found stone inlay can add incredible depth, color and texture to my artwork. Give it a try!

Blessings,
John
Good blog series, thanks for posting.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL
 

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