Opal inlay on played components

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May 16, 2019
I’d been wanting to do a synthetic opal inlay on the mistral and/or gent. I’ve done these on silver components before and it’s pretty easy. Fill up the void with opal and CA and then sand it flush. Can’t do that on plated components though or you will ruin the plating.

So here’s what I did.

I first measured the diameter of the opening. Then drill a hole about 1-1.5mm wider in a piece of scrap. Try to drill the hole as perfectly in the center as you can. You might even chuck it up and use the tail stick center as a center finder of sorts. The less accurate you are in drilling perfectly in the center, the wider a hole you will need to drill.

Next, fill the hole with a bit of medium CA and hit with accelerator. This will give you a smooth bottom and seal the wood.

Fill with your opal (or other) inlay material. Gently tap on a surface to make sure everything settles and there are no voids.

place one drop of thin CA over the inlay. Tap to help it filter down. Repeat until the CA doesn’t soak in. Work quickly so that you’ve completely flooded the opal with Ca before it dries.
Chuck it up and turn it down until you just hit the opal cylinder. Then carefully turn to the final diameter, shape and sand and polish. Cut it off with a fine tooth saw, flatten the bottom on a diamond file, and glue it in place. Quite pleased with how this turned out.

I opened up the components for a recent mistral and the cabachon had a very noticeable gash in it. Figured it was the perfect time to give this a try.


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