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Blown out brass

Posted by Jonnycake White on Saturday, September 12, 2009

I attempted a brass inlay in ebony for the Kirtland banjo heel cap.  The inlay is a set of three old fashioned keys on a ring.   I chose brass for a couple of reasons - first, there will be a couple of pieces of brass hardware - the tailpiece and a neck bracket; and second, I thought the brass would be less delicate to cut out such narrow little pieces.  I got the inlay cut out and set into the wood just fine.  Then I leveled it with sandpaper and took it down to 1500 grit.  Then I began to engrave the details.   All went fairly well, literally until the last line.  This was at the end of the third key, the line to delineate between the key shaft and the key head.  My graver dug in and pulled the key out of the recess.  It seems that in levelling, I had sanded this area down to the thickness of foil.

I have three alternatives to fix this:  one, pull the brass out and redo the whole inlay; two, pull out this key and cut it off near the ring, and just redo this one; and three, chuck it all and make the heel cap from brass plate with the key design engraved rather than inlaid.  Right now I am strongly leaning towards the third alternative as it will match the tailpiece and the neck bracket.  Let me know your opinions.



2 comments on “Blown out brass”

PruchaLegend Says:
Saturday, September 12, 2009 @10:45:45 AM

Here's my opinion since you asked. You wanted to have the "keys" inlay in brass when you started. Do you still want the "keys" inlay? If so, then either of your first to options may work; although, I'd go with the first one because I don't know if the other two keys may react the same as the one that came out. You now have a lot of experience with the brass. I know it sounds like a lot of work now, but if it is what you wanted and you settle for something less, you will always be dissatisfied with your second choice.
Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you decide to do.

PruchaLegend Says:
Saturday, September 12, 2009 @10:46:39 AM

Here's my opinion since you asked. You wanted to have the "keys" inlay in brass when you started. Do you still want the "keys" inlay? If so, then either of your first two options may work; although, I'd go with the first one because I don't know if the other two keys may react the same as the one that came out. You now have a lot of experience with the brass. I know it sounds like a lot of work now, but if it is what you wanted and you settle for something less, you will always be dissatisfied with your second choice.
Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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