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Back Inlay Strip. When? How deep?
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Post
Stuart

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 76
OK so I finally got my inside back re-enforcement strips from Martin and glued them, shaved them, sanded them and cut channels for the back bracing and was about to glue in the back bracing and it suddenly hit me. I hadn't seen ANYTHING in the instructions (online or offline) for when and how to put in the back inlay strip (outside back down the center strip). I'm thinking that perhaps this should have been done before I put on the back re-enforcement strip but OH well, that's a done deal now. The back inlay strip is about as thick as the back itself, maybe even a hair thicker. What depth do you rout for the inlay strip? Once glued, do you use a scraper or small finger plane? I imagine that this is MUCH harder to do once the braces are glued and the radius is more pronounced. Anyone! Please advise ASAP.......Thanks....... Stuart

Sep 06, 06 | 12:54 pm
jhowell

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
Stuart--

I'd do it before putting in the bracing. If you just have the center reinforcing strip, it will be fairly easy to support the back in a steady fashion. You can cut the slot with a router and an end mill bit. I'd set the depth to leave the strip a bit proud and then take it down later with a sharp scraper. A sharp plane will work also. Key word is sharp!

Practice clamping a straight-edge and routing a straight line on a mark on scrap wood first!

--Jim

Sep 06, 06 | 2:00 pm
mbbransc

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
I could be wrong, but with some kits, the back plates are separate. With those, I think it's better to glue that back strip in between the two plates. At least that's the impression I've gotten from some other sites. My back plates are separate and I can't decide if I want to include that back inlay. I think it looks pretty good bookmatched together. Almost looks like one piece.

Sep 06, 06 | 2:36 pm
Luthier Suppliers

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 68
Stuart,
You have several choices now.
1. You could leave it just the way it is without any back inlay strip.
2. Or, just do what Jim suggested, and leave about 1/16 proud. Do this before putting on the braces.

I always thickness my back to about 2.5mm, then glue the 2 halves and the inlay strip all at the same time. I figure the center seem strip will keep them together if they are not a perfect fit. I do my bracing last. Good luck!
Tracy
http:www.luthiersuppliers.com

Sep 06, 06 | 3:09 pm
Stuart

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 76
Yeah, I figured it was something like that. Why the hell don't ANY of the instructions (Martin, StewMAc..) mention ... "Oh Yeah! By the way, if you have a inlay strip, glue it between the halfs of the back" Makes me want to scream. It would have been so simple ... Oh well... I guess I need to get out a bunch of scrap and figure out how to do it right. This is one of those things that if I screw up, it will be VERY hard to fix. I think that the inlay strip is 3/16 so I guess that I will need a 3/16 router bit for the dremel.

Sep 06, 06 | 3:27 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Stuart -- I was similarly frustrated that nobody said to glue it in when joining the two halves. You're right -- nobody says it: Not Martin, not LMI, not Stewmac. (Stewmac doesn't include a back strip anyway.)

I haven't put in a back strip yet, in seven kits (plus the Grizzly non kit). I might never put one in. It doesn't help the sound any and offers me yet another opportunity to mess up the appearance of the guitar.

Well, I'll probably do one sometime .. but not yet.

Bill

Sep 06, 06 | 3:36 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
HOWEVER -- at Woodcraft, they have a giant selection of very thin strips that are perfect for this purpose. You might take a look: http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=664

Bc

Sep 06, 06 | 3:40 pm
Stuart

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 76
Wow.... Thanks for turning me onto the Woodcraft site. The strip that I got from Martin is 3/16 wide. IF I screw it up, at least I can keep routing a wider strip again. Looks like Woodcraft has additional sizes of 1/4", 3/8", 5/16", 1/2", and 3/4"! Glad to know that there just might be a softer landing with this than I thought.

Sep 06, 06 | 3:58 pm
mbbransc

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
Went to WC on my lunch. Bought some of the A, but 1/4" think for my back strip. Also bought a nice looking piece of basswood to make my own kerfing. Made sure I put myself on their mailing list!!

Sep 08, 06 | 11:39 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hey Brandon -- I bought some 1/4-inch inlay strip yesterday at WC also. Coincidence. I also went to Lowe's and got a bit for my router -- well, two bits, actually: The guy at Lowes couldn't tell me whether a downcut 1/4" bit or a straight 1/4" bit would work better to cut a channel for the inlay strips. He said buy both and bring one back after testing.

I brought them home and tested: Found that the downcut cut too narrow a channel for the strip I had, and also had some fringing around the cut, while the straight cut mortising bit cut a perfect channel that the inlay strip fit perfectly. So, just FYI because you might run into the same kind of situation ...

Bill

Sep 09, 06 | 4:43 am
mbbransc

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
Well, my back is still in two pieces. I'm going to glue mine in between them instead of routing a channel. Thx though!! Which piece did you get?

Sep 09, 06 | 6:41 pm
Stuart

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 76
I actually routed mine and it worked out just fine. It used a standard Dremel #652 3/16" straight router bit.

Sep 09, 06 | 8:42 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Brandon -- If you get the one at Woodcraft, they are too thin (about 1/32" or less) to glue between the two back plates -- hence my purchasing of the bit, etc. They are designed not for this purpose, but for decorating the edges of wood furniture, boxes, etc., that many woodcraft customers apparently make. But, as an after-the-fact back strip, they look to me like they'll work.

Sep 11, 06 | 1:46 pm
mbbransc

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
Well, I tried gluing it in between the pieces anyway. It is thinner than the back plates, but the way I did it, I think it will work. And once I put my braces on the back, I think it will be good to go. I'll let you know more tomorrow evening though. Hope it works out!!

Sep 11, 06 | 5:51 pm
mbbransc

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
OK, looks good, or will once I sand off the glue it will!! There are a few spots where the strip is slightly lower than the back. But I don't think it's noticeable by eye at all. I think once I get a finish on it, you won't feel it either.

Gotta get that back bracing on there though to firm it up!!

Sep 12, 06 | 10:24 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Brandon, that's great. I misunderstood a couple of things. One, I didn't know your two plates were unglued so I thought you needed/wanted to put in a strip post-gluing. Two, I didn't know the strips from Woodcraft came in thicknesses that thick ... they don't have them at "my" store, ... the one I got is about 1/32 thick and 1/4 wide; I'll rout a shallow channel and glue it in.

Okay, now I'm on the same page as you.

Starting over ...

Hey, Brandon, glad you got a strip that works! :-)

Bill

Sep 12, 06 | 1:18 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
MB, how low? Keep in mind, you will be sanding/scraping the body before finishing. If you use a cabinet scraper properly, you can keep scraping the center ridge until you get a perfectly clean, solid ribbon of the inlay piece curling off your scraper. Once you have done that, you know it is perfectly level across the board, and you won't be removing nearly enough material to be concerned about losing strenght. besides, you are gluing a brace strip down the whole back anyway.

Sep 14, 06 | 6:41 am
mbbransc

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
Good point Ken, I hadn't thought about sanding/scraping it flush. I don't have a scraper now (and would be half hesitant to use one if I did!!), but sanding it down is feasible. I'd need to be conscious of maintaining an amount of level sanding though in order to now see 'waves' in the wood.

I'd say the strip is only 1/100 off. You can't tell from looking at it, only by feeling it.

I got the cross bracings glued on yesterday and the thing is sturdy as she gets now. I haven't even glued the bracing down the strip yet. I think it's going to work out great!!

thx all!
Brandon

Sep 14, 06 | 6:51 am
jhowell

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
Brandon--

Get yourself a scraper and start messing with it. It is an incredible tool that is easy to use and easy to sharpen. You will not know what you did before having one. Trust me on this -- really nice ones are under $10.

--Jim

Sep 14, 06 | 2:27 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
You can start with small ones easily. Take a fresh razor blade, gently round the edges so they don't dig in, and then drag the blade almost at a right angle accross a hard metal surface. You will curl the edge over and create an excellent small scraper.

Otherwise, get your hands on a thin peice of steel the size of a note card, and you have a scraper. You could probably use a small drywall putty knife or trowel to the same result. Cut the blade from the body to make it easier to flex/handle. Hell, they're only a buck or two at home depot.

Sep 14, 06 | 8:58 pm
Stuart

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 76
So, What is the best technique to sharpen a standard cabinet scraper?

Sep 15, 06 | 6:16 am
KTHOM

Total Topics: 19
Total Posts: 244
I'd add to Ken's suggestion that MOST scrapers come in two thicknesses, flexible and stiff. I'd think you would want a Flexible one. I'd also think that spending a little more money would get you a better quality blade that will stay sharp longer, cut better and give better results. (there's some pretty cheap stuff out there!)

With really good scrapers being not too much money...this MIGHT not be the best place to scrimp. Especially if you consider the time it takes to re-sharpen one properly.

Sep 24, 06 | 7:31 am
leftykitman

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 137
Hey Stuart.
I've use the woodcraft inlay strips on ALL the backs of my guitars and they are very pretty IMHO.I will say that they are fragile as Heck.I've broken one just getting it from the car to the house.What you want to do is to joint the two back halves together first and then route a channel for the inlay strip.Most of those strips are about .035 to .040 thick.If yours is .035 you want to route a .030 deep slot(about .005 less than the thickness) then to level it out with the wood you want to SAND it flush, do not use a scraper it will tear the inlay strip.They are much to fragile to scrape.
Paul

Sep 25, 06 | 5:34 pm



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