The ends of the inserts need to be chamfered in order to ease them into the hole, but an uneven handmade chamfer will cause them to skew to the side. The brass also needs to be inserted very carefully. Hammering a brass insert into a hole can force it to one side, compressing the wood and causing gaps to appear.
The quickest and most accurate method for truing up and chamfering the brass rod is to use an engineering lathe.
|Chamfering brass inserts on engineering lathe|
Not many woodworkers have engineering lathes, but brass is a fairly soft metal to work with, so if there isn't an engineering lathe available, it is possible to do this with the brass held in a woodturning lathe, and using a file to do the shaping.
|Brass inserts - trued up and chamfered|
Once trued up, the brass needs to be inserted into the wood. This is best done using an even pressure in direct line with the hole. Ideally, an arbor press would be used, but a drill press will do this operation adequately. I still haven't got around to purchasing an arbour press. In the following picture, the brass rod is pushed into the wood by a length of stainless steel bar. The masking tape is used as a depth stop.
|Inserting the brass on a drill press|
And a finished example of brass even stars inserted using this method :
|Brass seven stars jian|