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metal as inlay?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by steve-o, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    what metal is able to be used for inlay..
    i would like to melt the metal in to the cuts that i make for the inlays...does solder(spelling) work well enough? if you file it down it is shiny..and if i put a clear coat over it would it be alright?

  2. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I would use silver, aluminium, brass or even gold but I recommend not to try melting it into the inlay cavity!!

    Temerature needed to melt metal would be too hot and probably burn the wood.
    I suggest you cut the metal piece and inlay it traditionally.

    Peace, JP
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Solder won't stick in your cavity without some kind of adhesive.

    Like JP says, buy some sheet stock and do it like it was pearl.
  4. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    i think i have an idea...im going to make a template to cut the fretboard...then make like a cast so i can melt the metal in to the cast (same thing to cut the wood out) then glue it in..this way its exact..cutting metal isn't the easiest thing to do...

  5. I've used solder to fill side dots. Fill it nearly flat (not that hard to do actually), then put a couple drops of epoxy on the surface to level. For something that small solder works very nicely.
  6. I have some experience of laser cutting, you could probably have the parts laser cut quite cheaply out of steel, alumnium or brass in a variety of surface finishes and you would get incredible dimensional accuracy. This would allow the inlays to be quite complex as long as you can cut the fingerboard to suit. just a suggestion, but it is what I would do.
  7. that would be badass man, put those inlays in a black bass with the inlays saying "****ING METAL" that would be so tight!
  8. If you want to melt the metal in, you could possibly do it but you'll want to use very small amounts of metal, and as thinly as possible. By doing that you have less energy to transfer and a larger surface area to transfer it into. If you can find a metal that melts reasonably low (some alloys, solder as an example).

    I don't think its a real good idea to do it that way, cause I'm not sure how well it would stay in your hole, especially seeing as the metal will shrink a little as it cools. Testing it on some scrap would be my advice if you are set on doing it.

    Standard inlay techniques would be the best, to have the metal to flow as well as I think you want it to, it'd have to be pretty hot, which is just going to be a real sod to get in. Especially if you don't want to burn the wood.

    Josh D
  9. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    If you give the shop a legimate CAD (computerized aided drawing) drawing, from AutoCad or some other CAD package that can export in DWG or DXF,the cost wouldn't be bad but giving them a paint drawing or a hand sketch could get expensive. Unless the geometry was fairly simple. Good luck with your project.