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Inlaid Ammonite Fossil.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Cerb, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    As of late I've been searching for something that I could inlay into the headstock of my bass (Yes, the one I still haven't finished. Though, I have made a lot of progress in the past week or so). I wanted it to also be something that I could continually inlay into future basses as a trademark of sorts.

    A few days ago I was looking around the gift shop at the Indiana State Museum and found a pair (really one shell cut down the middle) of fossilized ammonite shells. I figured that it would look great inlaid into maple, and it does. The colors contrast really well. Here are a couple of shots of a practice inlay. My cheap camera doesn't show the colors well, but you still get the basic idea.



    Notice that there are a few spots where the wood is lighter around the fossil. That is where I had packed dust from the routing to cover up some mistakes. There is no glue to hold the shell to the scrap wood. I didn't want to glue it in because I really don't want to waste one half of the shell practicing. I thought I did strangely well, though, especially for it being my first time.

    Hopefully, once my Stewmac Dremel base arrives, I will be able to get it looking a lot better. The one I have at the moment cuts down on almost all visibilty.
  2. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Looks awesome, and I think it'll be even better with a nice clear coat on top to smooth everything out. Does this mean you're going to go clean out the gift shop inventory?

  3. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Looks good.

    Give it a good coating of varnish. Some fossils are formed from iron pyrites (this one kind of looks like it is) and will decompose in the air, releasing hydrogen sulfide, which is very smelly.
  4. Wow, that's a really cool idea! Now when someone says, "yeah, well my ________ guitar has shell dots" you can go "Oh yeah, well I got the whole dang shell". :D
  5. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    Very, very cool.
  6. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    I've actually found a place online that sells them in the same cut for much less. So I will be cleaning out their inventory. Hah, I'll be lucky if I get this bass finished.

    I'm debating the finishing of it. I would really prefer to just sand it and buff to a shine so that it still gives it a bit of that cracked look, but doesn't look like I just picked it up off of the ground. The photos also give the impression that the fossil is high in irons, but in person it doesn't seem to be. It is much clearer and looks as though it is most quartz that has a lot of of imperfection.