Accurate and right selection of wood from Sasso tree (Sheesham wood) Teak wood , Rose wood, Serean Resin, Abnoy and Babool is the foremost requirement for inlay work. Traditional Inlay work in Hoshiarpur (Punjab) is being carried out on Sasso wood (Sheesham wood) having an age of atleast 50-60 years old with a circular shaped diameter of 7ft to 10ft.
Selected piece of stem of Sheesham wood is seasoned keeping it dipped in a water for five to six months which is a natural process of wood seasoning. In this process, the outer layer and raw wood layer of the twig become extremely soft and these layers are separated from the hard inner layers of main piece of wood. Residual piece of wood is kept for drying in natural way for approximately six months. Subsequently the size of the seasoned piece of wood is prepared as per specifications of the product with the help of an electric wood cutting machine. From this log of wood, round as well as flat pieces of wood are further cut and left for drying in the atmosphere for six months more so that the moisture contents available in the wood is dried completely. In this way the piece of wood is finally ready for engraving and inlay work.
Then the material to be used for inlay work is chosen. In the earlier period, for inlay work ivory material was popular for decorating and designing the selected piece of wood but due to prohibition and imposition of ban on ivory in the year 1975, various other substitute materials such as camel bone, shallow shell, oyster shell, gold, copper, aluminium, marble and acrylic plastic sheet, etc. are being used for inlay work.
As inlay is the practice of incising a design onto a hard usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it, so we rely on hand drawing skills, images and common design elements while creating the elegant design of the proposed artwork. Just before commencing inlay creations, the work to be carved out is lightly scribed and engraved on the surface with the help of patterns, pharmas (stencils) using few specialized tools like chisels and hammer due to hardness and temperature requirement. By drawing outlines with the chisels, required portion is carved for inlay filling. Afterwards 8-10 motifs of acrylic plastic in different sizes and designs are made with the help of hand tools like files and thin saw and inlay work on the wood is done according to the size and shape of the wood. The engraved surface is filled with the best quality acrylic plastic and wooden sand with the help of glue and pasting material. This step is the most crucial technique to create a seamless and flawless appearance of the creations on the piece of wood. Adequate time is allowed to the glue and pasting material for its setting before removing it so that the joints may cure to its full strength. After filling the wood powder, it is allowed to be dry and the extra deposits of wood sand and other material is wiped away by applying sharp edged blade carefully and the product is allowed to dry before waxing and sealing. Then application of variety of spray lacquers and finishing techniques are applied to seal and protect the work from exposure to atmospheric elements and time and then buffing is done with a piece of cotton cloth. Resultantly a fine and antique piece of handmade art work is made ready.