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Thread: Turquoise Inlay

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Turquoise Inlay

    I have been wanting to try filling voids in bowls with Turquoise, but I am unsure how to do it. Do you epoxy it in and then turn it round, or do you sand it flush. If I turn it, won't it tear up your tools? I use a Glaser bowl gouge. I don't want to destroy it. Do you use a junk gouge just for it? Can I get some ideas. I have the Turquoise. I just need the technique.
    Thanks
    RP

  2. #2
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    Robert,
    I have not had a tool that Turqquoise will not dull immediately. So I put the Turquoise in the void then soak with CA glue and sand off starting with fairly coarse sand paper, it will take a while so be patient. Not the only way but the way I have done it in the past.

  3. #3
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    If you have one of those T-shaped diamond tools for truing a grinder, that may work also. I had the same problem with some lapis lazuli...
    Retired - when every day is Saturday (unless it's Sunday).

  4. #4
    it won't ruin your gouge..dull it, yes, but ruin it? no.
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  5. #5
    I iuse a lot of turquoise, and the method I use is to put it in the void, then soak with CA, using a finer and finer grind as I go to fill voids. At the end, I will use a contrasting color of epoxy for any final voids. I use my bowl gouge and yes, it will dull your tool quickly, but nothing a trip back to the grinder won't fix. I don't start out trying to sand it flush. That may work for some, but for me, that is a lot of sandpaper, and a lot of heat generated that I don't want to do. I will also sometimes use my Easy Wood carbide tool to get it flush. Carbide handles it well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    there are several videos on YouTube that demonstrate the technique. I finish all of my gouge and chisel work before I glue down the turquoise. CA seems to work very well (let set overnight). Then you can sand it level. Yes, it does take a lot of sandpaper. If you find that you have a shallow area when you get done sanding, repeat the process and add a little more turquoise and CA, (again...overnight), then repeat. I sand up to 2000 grit, and the effort is worthwhile. Here is a little toothpick holder made from walnut. Use the THIN CA glue. If you have the HOT STUFF brand of CA, it is the red bottle. Don't use the accelerator and just be patient with it. I leave the piece on the lathe and just do a little at a time with the void pointing upward. If you are trying to do a rim, finish all your sanding, then use a rotary sander while the piece is on the bench. If you have to fill a void because the granules were not small enough, you need to add powder turquoise (finer grit) into the void to fill out those spots. The turquoise bowl had to be done on a bench after all sanding on the lathe was completed.

    WalnutStarTP.jpg CherryTurquoise.jpg
    Last edited by David A. Peterson; 02-11-2014 at 8:25 AM.

  7. #7
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    Okay, Thanks for your responses
    RP

  8. #8
    My local woodturning club January meeting had a demonstration by a person who carves and glues stones into the work. He frequently uses turquoise. He mentioned the range of hardness which he found to work, something about 3.5 - 4.5, I forget the scale.

    I was expecting the stone would be easily turned with sharp tools or carbide. The one consideration I did not appreciate was that if the wood is too soft, or like curly maple some areas softer than others, then when the work is being sanded, the wood can be sanded more than the stone.

    The demonstrator had a large diameter gorgeous platter of curly maple with a complicated celtic knot pattern he carved and filled with turquoise. When it got to the sanding part he remembered about the difference in hardness of the curly maple. He ended up with wavy curly maple and a piece with over 130 hours invested which he said he could not sell.

  9. #9
    Sanding must be done with caution. The turquoise is much harder than wood. If you are not careful, the softer wood will be remove more rapidly than the harder turquoise. Result is that the turquoise remains proud above the wood. Use tools to get the turquoise turned down to near even with surrounding wood. And then finish with sandpaper. - John

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    A lot of us Arizona turners use turquoise. I've used it quite a bit. Reading the posts, my method seems to be a bit different. I mix the ground turquoise with epoxy. I apply the mix to the voide using an artist's spatula. The next day I carefully grind down the excess turquoise using a drill and 80 grit. The final grinding is done with a much finer grit. Works very well for me.

    A tip....Go to a craft store and get some blue glitter. Adds some sparkle to the turquoise.

  11. #11
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    And your current source for turquoise is…?
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  12. #12
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    I just finished my first piece using turquoise, and I used the same method that Wally does. One thing I was taught by Larry Fox (Foxy Woodz) during a demo he did for our club is to use a Diamond sanding disc. Diamond doesn't care if it's sanding wood or turquoise, it treats them the same - meaning that it will sand both equally and not leave a wavy surface. A 2" Diamond disc is $20, but it lasts fairly long. Another alternative if you don't want to spend the money for Diamond is stock up on lots of cheap 80 grit sandpaper because the turquoise will dull Aluminum Oxide very quickly.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Paine View Post
    My local woodturning club January meeting had a demonstration by a person who carves and glues stones into the work. He frequently uses turquoise. He mentioned the range of hardness which he found to work, something about 3.5 - 4.5, I forget the scale.
    Another thing to consider is that most turquoise is stabilized before it is made into jewelry. This makes it considerably harder. If you can find a source of unstabilized turquoise, then it will work much better as an inlay.

    Steve

  14. #14
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    Robert all good responses. I usually inlay using a carving vise I made as it is much easier to orient the bowl with this. One thing I don't think was mentioned is to spray void and surrounding areas with shellac before using ca, as it will stain and is difficult to sand away. I usually sand turquoise down almost even with wood while stationary on vise, then move to lathe to finish it up. I hadn't heard of the diamond sandpaper, but sounds like a good investment. By the way the bowl on the carving vice is 1-1/8x1/4 the same as my lathe spindle.carving.vice.2014.jpg

  15. #15
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    Gem & mineral show comes to Tucson every year so we can buy it by the buckets full. 8-)
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