Inlays can make or break the look of a guitar. Of course taste is a big factor but so is craftsmanship. This guitar was handmade by Joe Lazar, a customer of ours, while taking a class with Charles Fox at the American School of Lutherie. You can see the build process here bloodfretandtears.com. The headstock looked empty so we were asked to make a design before it went off to finish. The owner has a thing for squirrels and acorns. After some discussion Aaron and Joe finalized the design and Aaron did the inlay work.
[singlepic id=1327 w=320 h=240 float=]
The finished product looks great but don’t forget making inlays is a lot of work. Here is how the process goes down.
Draw design on tracing paper and super glue the paper to some pearl.
[singlepic id=1312 w=320 h=240 float=]
Patiently and carefully cut it with a jewelers saw.
[singlepic id=1314 w=320 h=240 float=][singlepic id=1315 w=320 h=240 float=][singlepic id=1316 w=320 h=240 float=]
Take the shape and trace it onto the wood with a mechanical pencil.
[singlepic id=1317 w=320 h=240 float=]
Use a dremel with a router base. Set depth a few thousandths shallower than pearl. This is so when the pearl is set in it can be sanded level.
[singlepic id=1318 w=320 h=240 float=]
We usually route with a 16th inch bit for the bulk and a .020″ for fine details.
[singlepic id=1320 w=320 h=240 float=]
Place the pearl in the recess. Glue it down with super glue. We mixed ebony dust in the glue to match the color. Black super glue would also work.
[singlepic id=1321 w=320 h=240 float=]
Sand it flat with a sanding block. Increase grit successively up to 800 then hit it with steel wool.
[singlepic id=1323 w=320 h=240 float=]
Now it’s ready to be sent to finishing!