View Single Post
Old 02-25-2010, 10:10 PM   #7
AthenaInlay irregular
AthenaInlay's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Redding, CA
Posts: 42
Thanked: 2
Originally Posted by Evil7 View Post
I have been watching You tube videos on Custom Inlays..
I have some questions before i get started gathering my tools....
I am planning to practice on 2 old guitar necks i have laying around and I want to learn to Inlay with the frets in the neck.

1. Should I buy a small block of Rosewood and Ebony to make sawdust for coloring the epoxy... or can i just use removed material from routing...

2. Im wanting to do this with the frets does anyone have good advice for this... I know it Limits the complexity of the design for the inlays...

3. Should i buy a real router or should i use a dremal tool with a router attachment..
1. I always have lots of scrap lying around so I use that. I wail on it with a medium-fine file to get really fine dust. That packs into the cavities better. I suppose one could capture the ebony dust from routing, but if you want to see, you don't want it hanging around (more on this later). And you want it to be clean! You don't want any extra crap in it.

You could buy some cutoffs on ebay or LMI usually has a bunch of ebony bridge blanks and such on clearance. Go here: Luthiers Mercantile International, Inc. Guitar Builder Wood and Supplies and select "CLEARANCE"

Rosewood is a little more tricky because the dust usually darkens in the glue, so it won't match as well. It depends on the particular piece of rosewood. I've got some that stays surprisingly light and some that gets really dark. You have to do a little test in scrap or just deal with having your mistakes look darker.

2. I have not done anything with the frets on yet. I'm luck enough to work with a fine custom builder so I've gotten all unfretted raw fretboards so far. It is doable though.

3. I know tons of people who have done loads of inlay work with a Dremel. A "real" router is only going to get you in trouble a lot faster. Their plastic base sucks though. It's probably ok to start, but the base Steward McDonald makes is better (Guitar, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin, Parts, Tools, Supplies, Free Information at Stewart-MacDonald), but not perfect. That's what I'm using right now and it's serviceable. I'm working on designing my own though.

For routing I use a Foredom flexshaft tool because it's got more torque and better bearings. It's an awesomely flexible system with tons of different handpieces and it's built like a tank. But you certainly don't need one of those.

There are lots of things you can do to get the dust out of the way whilst routing. Some people use an aquarium pump or air compressor. A neat little trick I found online is to make a little flag out of masking tape. Maybe an inch long and 1/8" high. Wrap this around the top of your end mill (just before the flutes start) and it'll whirr around like crazy and fling dust away.

I'll leave #4 for the next post...


Originally Posted by MaxOfMetal View Post
Sorry for my rather politically incorrect assumption.

You know what they say about assuming right?
No prob at all. I get that ALL the time.


Last edited by AthenaInlay; 02-25-2010 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
AthenaInlay is offline   Reply With Quote