Acorn inlays

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  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.

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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.

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Patiently and carefully cut it with a jewelers saw.

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Take the shape and trace it onto the wood with a mechanical pencil.

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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.

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We usually route with a 16th inch bit for the bulk and a .020″ for fine details.

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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.

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Sand it flat with a sanding block. Increase grit successively up to 800 then hit it with steel wool.

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Now it’s ready to be sent to finishing!


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