Inlay Metal Powder in Wood Using Super Glue

The use of various metal powders in woodworking is one of the more creative and newer methods that is allowing woodworkers to make incredible works of art. Woodturners often inlay metal powders in different wooden objects such as pots, small tables, and even pens. These are just to name a few. If you are also looking to join the trend, here is a step by step guide to turning your ideas into reality.

inlay powder

Cyanoacrylate, which is commonly referred to as CA glue, is one of the more better options out there when it comes to inlaying projects. When it comes to inlaying metal powder, CA glue will helps make it look real metal. You have a good amount of choices when it comes to metal powders. Choices range from copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, nickel, iron, and gold if you’re looking to create something really fancy.

Step 1: Choosing the type of Metal Powder You Want to Use

The first thing to do is to select the metal powder you will use for your inlay. For those with experience, settling on a metal powder is easy because they know exactly what works best for their project. If you are a beginner and is just starting out, here is how you can get the best results. Purchase different kinds metal powders and try them on a piece of wood that is similar to the one you will be using for the inlay and see which one will look the best on that type of wood.

The testing trial of the different metal powders may be costly since these products are not that cheap. You may, therefore, need to go according to your own personal preferences. You could go for the gold or aluminum powder options to add shine to your item. If you want to go with more of a mellow option that does not have a lot of shine, nickel or bronze powder may be more suitable. The colors of the powders may vary according to the supplier. The finer the grain size of the metal powder, will make for the best inlay.

You don’t have to just stick with one type of metal powder. You can mix different variations together to get unique blends for more eye-popping designs.

Step 2: Selecting the Right Cyanoacrylate

ca glue

The second most important item you then need is a bottle of cyanoacrylate. Cyanoacrylate, which is popularly referred to as CA glue, is heavily used in inlays. CA glue comes in a wide variety of viscosities from thin glues to thick glues. When it comes to inlays this is a primary factor to consider since you will need a cyanoacrylate that will penetrate fairly easily. The CA glue you need has to be as thin as water.

It is recommended to use a thin super glue. This particular product is water-like and will soak into the metal powder with ease.

There are quite a lot of advantages when it comes to a thin CA glues. It sets at a much quicker rate, cutting down on the time used during the woodworking process. Also, it’s able to penetrate the wood at a much deeper level and having your wooden inlay reach greater results than thicker CA glues

However, there is a small downside when it comes to this water-thin CA. Thin CA sets at a much faster rate. This can result in overheating, which can cause some release of fumes. In this case, it may need to be dapped with some tissue paper. Deep penetration may not occur in some types of woods that are more dense and oily. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator mask. Also, add rubber gloves and eye goggles to your list of safety precautions.

Step 3: Filling in the Inlay Area with the Metal Powder

Now that you have everything that you need, you may begin the inlaying process. Fill in the area, the cracks or grooves, you want to inlay with the metal powder that you have chosen. If no cracks or grooves are present, you can create your own using a carving tool to carve some out on your wooden item.

Metal powder is not that cheap, and therefore, the filling needs to be carefully and correctly done. In the case you are dealing with larger cracks or holes, you can fill the voided area with another material first, like sawdust, before proceeding to add the metal powder on top. This can save you on the amount of metal powder that is being used.

Step 4: Applying the CA Glue into the Metal Powder Inlay

After filling the inlayed area with the metal powder, the next step is to apply the same area with your thin CA glue. Make sure to flood the cyanoacrylate into so it soaks into the entire inlayed area. Remember this thin CA sets very quick so do this step in one sitting so the glue can fully penetrate. Make sure to be careful to not have the glue overflow all over your wooden item, whatever that may be. Just add enough to where it only targets the inlayed area.

The benefits of using CA glue in woodturning is the fact that they’re durable. These instant adhesives dry almost instantaneously which makes it perfect for all your woodworking projects. After successfully flooding the wooden inlay with thin cyanoacrylate, it is time to proceed to the final step of the wooden inlaying process.

Step 5: Applying the Finishing Touch

At times, the product looks good enough even without a finish applied to it. However, to give it that smooth look and feel, you will need to apply a finish. There are several methods you can choose from when it comes to this last step. Thin super glue, not only works well in infiltration, but also works well as a high gloss finish. This thin adhesive will help create a glassier look when several coats have been applied. If you use this finishing method, make sure to wait a minute or two in between coats so it can dry more efficiently before the next coat. When it’s all applied and done, let your finished product out to dry. A full cure takes about 24 hours. When it comes to inlaying a wooden item and then finishing, you can really kill two birds with one stone with this fantastic product.

It is highly recommended that you use a micromesh cloth to apply the finish that you have chosen for the best results. This will leave your wooden inlayed piece looking extremely shiny. Shop towels are a good substitute if you’re looking for something cheaper. Metal burnishing liquid is another option you can go for when it comes to finishing. It focuses on bringing out the natural shine of the inlayed metal powder which enhances its aesthetics.

However, exercise caution when using these products because they may not work well at first with certain types of metal powders and may result in black stains. Inlaying different types of products into wood takes patience and practice. It is vital that you carry out inlay sample test on a similar scrap piece of wood first. This is to find out if it will be a successful inlay or not. Inlaying any type of powder into wood using thin CA glue is a fun and easy process once you get the rhythm of it down. Remember, this process can be tedious and takes time. Select the right metal powder and cyanoacrylate and the results will look great.