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Couple of questions about inlays

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Drop1, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    I am not happy at all with my Abalone inlays.
    How hard are they to remove neatly ?

    Second, I'm considering removing those and doing a multi colored, peal, swirled epoxy pour.

    Anyone done something like this? Any reason not to? I dont mind sanding and re oiling the fret board.
  2. Pics of neck?
  3. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    Basic Ibanez sr neck with oval inlays. No special finish.
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    The inlays are just lightly glued in. Apply a soldering iron to them, and they should pry right out.

    Cast-in-place resin inlays are a common technique. A few tricks to it, but not real difficult. You can also make your own sheets of crazy swirly stuff away from the instrument, then trim them to size and inlay them.
    Beej likes this.
  5. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    I like the idea of making them always from the neck. I've found sutaible, pre made, material.
    My issue is they are oval. I tried shaping a single inlay out of abalone. I could not get it small enough. Also, it become too difficult to get the correct shape due to small size. Pouring then sanding seems much more my speed.
  6. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    A trick for shaping small oval inlays: Make up a wooden handle. A block of wood, shape the end into an oval that fits into the recess in the fingerboard. Then double-stick a small rectangle of the inlay material onto the oval end of the block. Now you can hold onto it as you gently file the perimeter to match the perimeter of the block.
  7. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    never done oval inlays, just regular 6mm standard size ones on my fenders...I'd imagine there will be lots of sanding and shaping unless you can find the exact same size in the material of your choice....Easy to remove and replace.small drill thru the center of inlay just deep enough to cut thru the material....what you have left is a hole and just pry the rest of material out..
  8. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    What? Nobody suggested tort inlays? The Tort Mob is slipping lol.
  9. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    This will sound really, really weird but I cant think if a reason it wont work. On high end/designer tile jobs, I use a ground glass grout. The stuff is beautiful. It has a pearl like look with a lot of depth and sparkle. It's hard to describe. It has the benifit of being extremely easy to work with and if I can get the abalone out without messing up the rosewood edges would take maybe 5 minutes to install and 24 hours to cure. Unlike regular concrete grout, it stays somewhat plyable. Not so different from plastic inlays.

    On another note, my luthier suggested drilling the a circle in the abalone and inserting pearl dots. If done right I could see where this could be attractive.
  10. If you tackle this, please post pics of the process.
  11. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    Not to be negative... but....:confused:
    I used to be a tile setter/stone guy... in a past life.
    I don't doubt this grout will "work" ...per se.
    But I don't see the application being easy at all.
    (Although it's been 15yr since I've grouted anything.)
    Is it an epoxy grout? Or just a hardcore latex?
    Question being, What do you need to wash it with? ...and is that going to harm the wood.... ?
    Also, If all the inlay aren't equally "full" and the raduis of the inlay doesn't exactly match the fingerboard.... it might look like poo...
    Just my opinion.
    And you probably can't sand that grout down flush, because you will alter the sparkle of the ground glass....?..... maybe? o_O
  12. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    This stuff isnt like cement or epoxy. Cured it's more like a cross between rubber and plastic. Its premixed and the glass is very fine. It doesnt co.out out textured like concrete grout. More smooth like epoxy.
  13. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I think I just saw some on a backsplash at a fancy place on the weekend. If it's the same stuff, it's beautiful no doubt. I wonder about the cost of that stuff though, compared to a couple of tubes of hardware store epoxy or CA glue to make an inlay... :)
  14. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    It's stupid expensive. More than $100 quart.
  15. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Yikes. And here I thought the $41.99 I just paid for a 10 lb bag of tec power grout to finish my new shower was expensive...