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Guitar "vine" inlay approach

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B3nder

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I have a fret board that I am thinking about fret markers.

I then saw the Ibanez Jem Vine of life design



For square/rectangle inlays I can see how to cut out/carve, however what would the process be for the vine using hand tools.

Trace the design onto the inlay material, cut out.
Place cut out on fingerboard and draw round inlay.
Then cut inside of traced line until inlay fits.

Any tips other than take your time?

Thanks.
 

Blackswanwood

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I have inlaid curved lines by holding them in position with masking tape and then using a scalpel to cut a line on either side. Angling the scalpel away from the line ensures a tight and neat fit. The waste is then removed with an Ashley Isles block cutting chisel. Take your time!

98C84820-C323-4874-84D0-27D8D99ED129.jpeg
 

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B3nder

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I will do a test on scrap first.

I assume angle the blade towards the inside of the inlay?
 

Blackswanwood

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I try and make the cuts so that the walls of the resulting channel will slope inwards very slightly. The inlay can be made to fit snugly by carefully sanding it to fit. Taping a piece of sandpaper to a tin can makes an ideal sanding block.
 

Droogs

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What are your inlay materials? how thick are they, <1mm or >1mm? Are you using abalone, faux ivory etc. This will determine what techniques I would use. Most of my stuff is by hand tools though some require using a dremel for some of it. Other parts require a double bevel and some a straight one material dependant
 

AJB Temple

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I used to do complex fretboard inlays for people years ago. It is time consuming, painstaking and slow. A lot depends on what you are using for the design: both fingerboard material and especially the inlay. Cutting mother of pearl or Abalone into thin curves is far more difficult than cutting the slots. Silver wire is easier.

Ebony is a right pain to inlay compared with Rosewood IMO.

Advent of Dremel was a godsend.
 

B3nder

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Circulr inlays lpok good as well I'm beginning to think.

I'd like to play the guiar this side of Chistmas. So think I'll keep it simple.
 

Droogs

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that link is a dud. just goes to an advert

Edit
my mistake page froze on ad for delivery


Veritas do a similar thing for rotary tools with a 3.2mm shaft and have to say from personal experience they are fantastic, far better than the floppy twisty thing made by dremel
 

marcros

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With the caveat that I have never made a guitar or done such an intricate inlay...

The vine itself looks more complex than it is. It actually seems to be a series of arcs of different radii. I think that a inlaying radius cutter could be the tool to use. I have the LN version but I have seen other versions and home made copies. I would rather cut the vine than the other inlays on the fretboard. You would just need to work out the centre points which could be done on a paper mockup and a standard drawing compass.
 

AJB Temple

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The thing about even quite simple inlays on a finger board, is cutting the wood is the easy part. Getting MOP or Abalone (for example) cut to shape and fitting nicely to whatever radius you have chosen for the board, can take a while if you want to avoid cracks and excess filler. It also needs to be super smooth or string bends won't feel good.

Be very interested to see how you get on. My first efforts when I originally started making guitars (I don't really do it now) were a steep learning curve.
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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When doing inlay, wheather it be wood metal or shell, I do two things, firstly create a slight bevel on the piece to be inlaid. If the piece to be inlaid is too small or awkward to hold in place and scribe around I stick the inlay to the surface with either fish or hide glue and wash off any excess glue from the edges. When the glue is set you can scribe around the edges with a scalpel confident the piece is not going to move then warm gently to remove the inlay. Cutting out the holes and channels will be fairly straightforward just make sure your chisel is super sharp and as others have said take your time as ebony has a tendancy to splinter out. I would also leave the MOP a fraction proud and sand it flush once the glue is set. Not sure if you have already purchased the MOP but I use Eatons Sea Shells, they are a very helpful company and everything I have had off them over the years has been top quality.
https://shop.eatonsseashells.co.uk/shop ... r-of-pearl
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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Another thing...If you use fish or hide glue you can add some Lamp Black powder pigment to colour the glue which will help to disguise any slight imperfection around the edge.
 

EddyCurrent

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If you are just doing one guitar, buy small CNC machine, cut fretboard and inlays, sell CNC machine.
 
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