Any tips for inlaying brass?

RickNB

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Sep 15, 2021
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I am restoring this Gustav Becker Lancet clock. I have acquired some 18 ga. square brass wire for the inlay following the outline fo the case..

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The brass wire is a snug fit in the channel, but I am wondering what, if any, glue I should use. Are there any tips about inlaying brass into a mahogany case?
 

wow

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Jun 24, 2008
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I do not understand where the brass goes. Was there brass there originally? Can you show us the brass strips and where they are going?
 

RickNB

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I do not understand where the brass goes. Was there brass there originally? Can you show us the brass strips and where they are going?
The brass follows the outline of the case about 3/8" from the edge. Expand the thumbnail pic in the original post and you can see the channel. The brass was missing when I got the clock. I thought it might have had light wood stringing, but I found this model online and it had brass inlaid.
 
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bkerr

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As long as the brass was annealed I would thing it should go in fairly easy, maybe with a roller to set it in the groove. I have seen yew wood strips used which is a white color as well, not on this model but other cases.
 

demoman3955

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I looked up a bunch of them and i couldnt tell for sure, but they all looked like the recessed lines were painted like the black mantle clocks were
 

RickNB

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I looked up a bunch of them and i couldnt tell for sure, but they all looked like the recessed lines were painted like the black mantle clocks were
I can't seem to locate it now, but I found an identical clock online in a British auction and it was listed as having brass inlay.

EDIT: Found a similar one in a British shop. Listing:-

Another beautiful example of a clock by the World renowned maker GUSTAV BECKER.
The lancet top mahogany case is nicely French Polished with brass string inlay to the front and a birds-eye maple cartouche below the dial.The clock stands on 4 brass bun feet.
A 5" convex white enamelled dial with black Arabic numerals and a cast brass bezel with convex bevelled glass.
The 8 day movement has just been fully overhauled by our own BHI registered staff. It strikes on the half-hour and the hour.

1655989338983.png
 
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Thomas Sanguigni

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Nice work. I would imagine any glue you use would be a mess. If you choose one choose hide glue. However, if it is a tight fit, you should be alright. Have you thought of a veneer roller? Bkerr has a good point. You don't want to damage the door.
 

RickNB

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Job done. This clock was in poor condition when I got it - two moldings and brass inlay missing, black movement that wouldn't run, broken casework, missing back cover, etc. Happy with the outcome.

IMG_8739.jpg

It doesn't show in this pic, but the wagging pendulum seen through the bevelled glass is quite a sight. The gong spiral seems to be made of brass and it has a lovely tone for a gong, nicely mellow..
 

RickNB

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Real nice job! What was your method to install the brass?
First I made a scraping tool from a hacksaw blade and mounted it as a scratch stock with the depth of the scraper tooth the same as the thickness of the brass wire. I scraped the channel to a uniform depth then tapped the brass in. Then I used an ultra-fine pipette to apply water-thin CA to the surface of the brass. The CA wicked in along the edges of the brass and I quickly wiped away any excess before the CA set. For the most part, the 18 gauge wire fit snuggly, but there were a few spots where it really needed the CA.
 

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