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 Post subject: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:58 pm
Posts: 188
Location: St. Louis area
I've decided on a torch inlay in abolone on the headstock. There are several suppliers on eBay, judging from the pics, and feedback, they look ok. I've noted the thicknesses range from .050 to .062. How important is the thickness? Does anyone have a preferred source of abalone torch? Should I inlay the headstock veneer before I glue it to the head stock?

Last question: My dentist said he would order me what ever dental burrs I wanted. Are dental burrs appropriate for the inletting and what types do you recommend?

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Last edited by Kbore on Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 424
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Both 0.05 and 0.062 are workable. Without being able to examine the pearl, it's a gamble on quality, for example the color might be good on the surface, but might be a very thin veneer that can be easily sanded thru to a lower color quality layer. Ablam, laminated pearl, can help there as well as buying from reputable sellers (see the pearl sponsor here). As far as bits, see John at Blues Creek or stewmac. There are down cut and up cut types. You will want a variety of sizes and more than one of each, too. John sells a good tool for cutting and stemac sells a little tool for dremels. Both will get the job done. It is easier to inlay before gluing the headstock. I've done both ways and don't really have a preference. Check your dentist's bits against the stewmac catalog, it might be an option. Make sure they will fit your collet.


Last edited by Danl8 on Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1308
I may get beyond the scope of your question, but I'm going to tell you what I've learned.

I get my inlay from either John Hall or DePaule Supply. It's much higher quality. I've had quality issues with the eBay inlay. They can have uneven thickness, which can really be a huge problem since the color on abalone is easy to sand through. I've just inlaid another torch on a new build:

Attachment:
PicsArt_08-11-01.30.05.jpg


Use a 2 flute carbide end mill bit. I've used dental burrs. They're okay, but I really prefer the end mills; they last much longer. It's important to use quality bits. I use John's. I also have John's premium inlay tool. The dremel bearings aren't really tight enough, although I've used it with the stewmac router base. John has 2 tools. Both require an air compressor. It will depend on how much inlay you think you'll be doing. I do a lot of extensive inlay.

If you don't have a compressor, stewmac sells the foredom inlay tool. John recommended it as well as another inlay artist that I spoke with.

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tools/Routers_and_Bits/Routers/Foredom_Power_Tools/Foredom_Power_Tool.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=2017-08-gp&gclid=CjwKCAjwzrrMBRByEiwArXcw2zZgtxteFAhQ16cVkzw1mKdWCAU2zoxEx_EEz_jV4lij_uR5tDB5kRoCRoYQAvD_BwE

I've inlaid with the plate on and off of the guitar. Same with fretboards. I prefer off of the guitar in both instances. You can move the plate around for better angles when it's on the table. Also, I prefer no sharp moving objects anywhere near the guitar, if I can help it. Lol Accidents happen. I use double sided tape to keep my plate or fretboard in place.

Make absolutely sure that your headplate is the right thickness before inlaying. I'm sure you know to have your headstock and holes laid out on the plate. I like to drill tiny pilot holes for the tuner holes so I don't obliterate any pencil marks. I use a .2mm mechanical pencil to trace the design. I had to order it. I couldn't find it at Wal-Mart or even the local office stores. It gets as close as possible to the design.

Well, that's my dollars worth. I hope it helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:58 pm
Posts: 188
Location: St. Louis area
Thank you both, always good information from you guys. Actually, that was about the exact scope of my question! Thank you DK for going above and beyond again. That is the torch I was looking at. I did goto the pearl sponsors website, did not see the inlay I was thinking of. Guess it's time to introduce myself to John. BTW, my dentist pays $1 $2 for a burr. Will at least give one a try. And, just dropped another wad of $$$ at StewMac for dremelinlay base and purfling bearings and bit. Hope I finish this guitar!

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Karl B


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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:58 pm
Posts: 188
Location: St. Louis area
Is a torch too ambitious for first time inlay? I have the hands of a surgeon, the knowledge of a rock and the experience of a banana peel.

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Karl B


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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1308
Kbore wrote:
Is a torch too ambitious for first time inlay? I have the hands of a surgeon, the knowledge of a rock and the experience of a banana peel.

A torch is a lot of detail, but im a great one to talk. I inlaid a beautiful double rose with leaves and stem, in the headstock, and Martin 45 style fretboard inlay, in my first guitar. The second guitar has a flower vine inlay with a headstock inlay that I designed.

Everything was and is ambitious. Just take your time, and go slow. Ask questions. Everyone will help you. Practice on booby wood.

BTW, black ebony is the most forgiving wood to inlay. It also makes the abalone pop! Just use ebony dust to fill around the inlay where needed.

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DSCF0526.JPG


Attachment:
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Last edited by Diane Kauffmds on Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:04 pm
Posts: 193
Location: San Jose, CA, USA
In addition to what was mentioned a good source for bits and information is at precisebits.com

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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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Great site Randy.


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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 424
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Great advice, Diane,and nice site, Randy. I will second Diane's suggestion to practice on scrap wood. Getting a feel for how to control the cutting and finding the best way to see your work as it progresses really helps. I have to use magnifying peepers now and that makes a mega difference in accuracy. I also buy from DePaule. My first inlay was a fancy torch (shoulda really started with something simpler). With colored CA and accelerator minor gaps and mistakes can disappear. Here is one that was designed for the backside of the peghead. I think it was perfect for this use (and a tad simpler than the torches).


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 Post subject: Re: Abalone Inlay
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1308
Danl8 wrote:
Great advice, Diane,and nice site, Randy. I will second Diane's suggestion to practice on scrap wood. Getting a feel for how to control the cutting and finding the best way to see your work as it progresses really helps. I have to use magnifying peepers now and that makes a mega difference in accuracy. I also buy from DePaule. My first inlay was a fancy torch (shoulda really started with something simpler). With colored CA and accelerator minor gaps and mistakes can disappear. Here is one that was designed for the backside of the peghead. I think it was perfect for this use (and a tad simpler than the torches).


You're inlay turned out Great! Since I'm into self torture, I'm planning on a very elaborate fretboard inlay for my Honduran rosewood guitar. I'm going to design and cut the ablam.

I'm glad you brought up the magnifiers. I forgot to mention it. I suggest them to anyone who does inlay. I finally invested in a Donagan magnifier with 1.75x lens, but im increasing to 2x.

Let's face it. We all should have started with simple stuff like dot inlay, but where's the adventure in That? Lol! I'll be doing torches in the other 2 guitars that I've started...i think...


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