Some folks like to remove the head or figure on a coin before engraving
, leaving a nice flat area, but I tend to leave the extra metal for more sculpting. Leaving the figure does tend to make things a little confusing, though…
Above, I used a small flat graver and have finished cutting back all of the various levels of the elements. I’ve also finished smoothing and sculpting the Koi with a small steel punch. Next, I’ll have to do the same for the waves. I’ve also added the gold inlay for the eye – I sometimes tend to jump the gun on the eyes – they’re the window to the soul, and I like to see the life emerge by detailing the eyes…
In antique Japanese metalwork with wave motifs, you often see little round bits of gold inlaid into the surface, so I’ve decided to add them too. Here I’m adding little dot inlays of 24 karat gold to the waves. I used a beading punch to make little circles, removed their insides with a tiny carbide bur and undercut with a tiny flat graver. These undercuts will allow the soft 24 karat gold to flow down into them, becoming trapped so the inlay can’t come out.
I find it convenient to melt a small ball of gold in the tiny 28 gauge wire I like to use for inlays. This gives me a little more gold and conveniently allows a single piece inlay, rather than the multiple parallel wires I normally use for larger area inlays.
Above is an enlarged image of the little circular pocket (lower left corner) and the little ball of gold I’ve melted on the end of the gold wire. In the top center you can see a completed gold inlay, with the excess gold flowing over the edges of the pocket. I’ll scrape this excess off and then use an abrasive stone to really flatten and refine the gold inlay.
Thanks for Looking!