Introduction: Easy Metal Inlay on Hand Carved Stone Heart
Nothing says love quite like inlaid metal in a hand carved stone heart. This piece is far from refined but that is exactly what I have grown to love about it. It looks like something a school boy would have carved in to a tree to express his affection for his first crush.
Originally this was going to be something else but alas the stone didn't want to be what I wanted it to be so instead it is a heart. I made this as a gift for my wife, what better way to express your love and devotion than to carve it in to stone.
I'm not sure what type of stone it is but it seems like a sand stone maybe; I got this stone from a neighbor that was having a pool built. He had several pieces of leftovers and had no use for them and said I could have them as long as I took all of them. So I loaded them all up in my truck bed and took them home.
Hammers - Various Types
Stone Chisels - Various Types
Masonry Drill Bits
Small Wood Carving Chisels
Originally I wanted to try and carve a triangular shape that could stand up straight unsupported. But as I point out in the second pic I had a large chunk of the rock blow out which ruined the straight edge I was working on. So I had to come up with plan B. After looking at the rock from different angles I noticed it kind of resembled a heart shape, it just needed some more shaping. So I drew some heart shaped guidelines to help guide me.
This time I decided to drill several holes following my pattern which would allow for a more controlled carving. I have never tried to carve stone before so I am learning as I go. I used a cold chisel to start chipping away at the stone, the chisel is from a cold chisel and punch set. They are not a meant for masonry work per se but they worked well enough on the stone.
I found that going slow and not being aggressive worked best to chip away the stone. I could tell this time the stone was happy to become a heart it was very cooperative.
Next I wrote our initials on to the face of the stone. I used a small punch to try and create a V groove channel for the lettering. This was not as neat as I would have liked but in the end I was happy with the results.
I wasn't sure if this was going to work but I decided to try and melt some heavy gauge soldering wire in to the channels I had carved. I held the soldering wire above the carved letters and melted it with my blow torch. The soldering wire sort of dripped and filled the channels. The initial melting of the wire in to the channels looked very messy but once it was all filled I ran the torch over the letters and that re-melted the soldering making the lettering look neater and more uniform.
I thought/hoped the solder would stick to the stone and be embedded but the letters were easily popped out. So I got a small wood carving chisel and used them to define the lines a little better and make the V grooves a little deeper. Then I placed the letters back in to the spots and re-melted them hoping the deeper grooves would help lock them in place. It didn't work.
Instead I decided to epoxy the letters in place but first I cleaned them up with some sand paper and metal files. I wasn't going for perfection I just got rid of any obvious bumps or defects.
In order to epoxy the letters in place I brushed out any loose dust in the letter channels then mixed up some 5 minute epoxy and applied it to all the channels in the stone. I pushed the metal letters and the plus sign in to their respective channels.
Before the epoxy dried I took some 80 grit sand paper and worked the areas around the letters to create a stone dust which I pushed against the edges of the letters to soak up any epoxy squeeze out. This worked really well to give the final piece a more finished look and got rid of any gaps there may have been.
I mentioned earlier the satisfaction I felt while making this piece. There is just something about working with your hands at this primitive level that just feels so good. Its not easy work but it is very rewarding. I hope to one day get a larger stone and carve something bigger and more ornate in to it.
I hope this Instructable can be an inspiration to try new things. Thanks for reading!
Participated in the
Stone, Concrete, Cement Challenge