View Full Version : Runes

05-14-2003, 11:10 AM
Hi everyone.

I would like to make a seax style knife and include some 'runes' or some other patterns. From what I understand, the runes/pattern are chiselled out to make grooves then copper or brass wire is hammered into the groove . Is this correct way of doing it?

Should the copper/brass wire then be heated with flux to melting point so it flows into the steal or is it just hammered into place?.....Anyone have any experience of doing this type of thing.


05-14-2003, 12:05 PM
I understand it's just hammered in like you say, not heated or melted. I think pewter was melted, as handle inlay for example, on some pieces but that this was more commonly done during colonial periods and later, and was also done on rifle stocks. I think I've seen a Viking axe with silver wire inlay on the blade but I can't remember where I saw it. I think the idea with the wire inlay is to raise a burr on each side of the groove, then burnish the burr over the edges of the wire. I'm guessing it may require a soft body metal like wrought iron; with annealed steel, you would want to be cautious on heat treating not to oxidize or melt the inlay metal.

Anyway, great topic, those are my guesses but I'm hoping someone who has actually done these techniques will speak up.

Chuck Burrows
05-14-2003, 12:09 PM
Trail Angel remember Dr Gene? Well he had a thread going in fine embellishment on this same topic. Do a search for member name 'Gene' or just scroll back through the Fine Embellishment forum and you'll find it. It was named something inlaying, etc.

J.Arthur Loose
05-14-2003, 12:51 PM
...The trick to the inlay lies in the composite construction and resultant heat-treating effects, btw. (I'll throw that freebie out there for lurkers...) Generally the spine on these pieces was wrought iron and a high-carbon edge was welded on. Phosphorus in the wrought-iron damascus spine helps inhibit carbon migration from the edge to the spine during final forging and heat-treat.

A modern approach would be to differentially heat treat or to draw back the spine, although with modern engraving tools you could inlay a fully hardened piece.

They are indeed chiselled with an undercut and hammered into place. Entire plates could be inlaid this way as well, as in the case of pieces that have elaborate niello / gilding.

Be sure and show us what you do! I had a 18" composite I was going to inlay but the L6 from Admiral cracked down the middle... every single piece from that shipment! Grrrr...

05-14-2003, 05:07 PM
Thanks for the replies guys....Yes I do remember Dr Gene (how could anyone forget him!......) I will do another search and see what I can turn up.
I guess its going to be challenging to try to accomplace...

Is anyone able to tell me at what temperature copper or brass melts?..(thinking in terms of heat treating).


Chuck Burrows
05-14-2003, 05:38 PM
Copper - 1981F
90/10 brass (gilding metal) - 1931F
70/30 brass - 1750F
90/10 bronze - 1850F

Brass is copper with zinc (sheet brass is usually 70% copper and 30% zinc.) Bronze is copper alloyed with tin.

Hope this helps

05-14-2003, 06:23 PM
Thanks beat me to it. I have just finished reading the thread that Dr Gene started on a similiar subject, and within the thread I found the answer to my previous question.

It seems that inlaying wire takes considerable skill (even more admiration of our ancestors!)

I saw a demonstration last year by Ryan Johnson of RMJ Forge who was forging a tomahawk. I remember that he stamped a mark in the tomahawk then laid some silver balls into it...put it all back in the forge till the silver melted and fused into the tomahawk....I seem to remember this was done before HT...

I am going to experiment with different techniques on test pieces and see what happens....If I ever get to finish a knife with inlay then I will post it (but dont go holding your breaths!).


05-14-2003, 06:36 PM
I also found this in the forums.....

Mike McRae made a beautiful Dirk with brass inlay......I am thinking along these lines.