Wired for Beauty

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A rotary tool, hammer and a few shop-made tools are all it takes.

by Don Williams
pages 32-36

I recently had the opportunity to explore a concept that has been rattling around the dark recesses of my cranium for almost three decades. It was inspired first by a spectacular pair of curly juniper boards (also known as aromatic red cedar) I bought way back when “just because” that were still awaiting their final purpose, and a cheesy Anglo-Indian carved teak box I use to hold my favorite “fussy” tools used for inlaying, engraving and marquetry.

The idea? Inlay wire into the presentation surface to enhance the already eye-catching beauty of the swirling grain pattern. The beauty of the technique is that it can be used for just about any kind of metal wire that fits the project – copper, brass, silver, pewter, aluminum, steel and even gold – and employed for any type of artistic expression, whether linear accents, scrollwork or free-form.

The use of inlaid wire has long historical precedence, perhaps nowhere more noteworthy than in the filigree inlays of exquisite antique firearms such as elegant dueling pistols and hunting long guns from centuries past. While the delicate accents of these artifacts were achieved through a skill developed during a long period of trial and error, by following the steps here, you can be up and running quickly because the scale and materials are more suited to both the modern shop and the task of furniture making.

Web site: Visit the author’s web site.
Web site: Discover Woodworking in America 2015, where Don Williams will be presenting the keynote address.
To Buy: The author’s latest book, “Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley” (Lost Art Press)
In Our store: “Creating Veneer, Marquetry & Inlay,” a collection of technique videos.

From the June 2015 issue

Buy it here

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