Arg! So much for ability for epoxy to stick to anything. The sample brass/wood/brass sandwich popped right apart when lightly smacked with a hammer. I don’t know if it was improper surface prep (I sanded (150) and cleaned with acetone), crappy epoxy (30 minute Bob Jones) or what but I sure don’t feel good about it. So, go old school and nail the infill in. The most important place is above the wedge as there is a lot of force there trying to remove the infill. I’m using 1/8” low fuming bronze brazing rod (the stuff you get at the welding store to braze steel with).
Pros: it is 0.001” over size so it will be a nice fit in a 1/8” hole. It is a different color from brass so you see, and admire, the pleasing pin placement and amazing craftsmanship it took to put them there (half serious – I do like to see construction details (like dovetails or finger joints).
Cons: harder than brass, crumbles if you try to mushroom it too much, visible. This bronze really isn’t an ideal material for the pins – it doesn’t mushroom as anywhere as nicely as 360 brass. Use only if you like the color.
Addendum: I epoxy’d two pieces of brass together and they are one. Color me confused.
Addendum2: Further testing shows that that cutting off the corners generated enough heat to caused the glue failure. I use a small power bandsaw to free hand the corners and gets the brass hot enough even though I don’t wear gloves (however, the cut area is too hot to touch). In my test, the failure was complete – the brass detached from the wood (in the glue) while being sawn. This article on West System epoxy indicates the epoxy I’m using can’t take the heat (unlike some epoxies).
– Drill holes and lightly ream with a tapered reamer. You want a shallow taper (maybe half way through the side) that the pin can expand into and wedge. Too big and you’ll never fill the hole.
– Cut some pins a little over 1/16” too long. Too much longer and and you’ll never be able to smash them all the way back to the sides. Lightly chamfer one face (the driven face).
– Tap in the pin, center it, lay it on the anvil and smack the pins a couple of times on each side to start the mushroom. Use a belled (curved) face hammer (less dent damage if you miss). The Japanese style hammer pictured has a flat face and a belled face (showing).
– Center punch the pin and then punch in a ring around the center. Don’t punch the edge or the punch will slip (or the pin edge will break) and you will dent the plate (really – a flaked edge leaves a crater). Use a rounded over or blunt punch – pictured is a el cheapo punch that I actually tried to use as a punch, which flattened the end and now I have a nicely rounded punch.
– Smack the pins with the hammer a few more times for good measure.
– File. Be surprised at how far away from the pin the brass has swollen, about one diameter.
– *NOTE* you don’t need much force. Control is your friend; miss and it creates a hell of a mess. Use shields (such as real thin washers). Use an anvil / big chunk of steel or you’ll just move the pin back and forth.