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jatna

Newb Questions about Learning to do Inlays

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Hi. I have a bunch of questions about doing inlays. Here they are:

What are the best woods to practice on?

What is a good/cheap inlay material to practice with?

What are the minimum tools I need?

Is a router/dremel essential or can you do inlay with just chisels?

If you can use just chisels how do you get the bottom flat?

What are the best ways to get the inlay matrerial flush with the surface of the wood?

Is there a resource that can tell me what woods are toxic and should only be worked on with a breathing mask and ventilation?

Thanks if you answer any of these!

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What are the best woods to practice on? Anything... the darker they are the more they'll hide mistakes though. But for practice... who cares... seeing your mistakes loud and clear may be a good thing.

What is a good/cheap inlay material to practice with? Again, anything you can cut with a saw. Plastics from around the house. Shell "seconds" can be had pretty cheap and will obviously be more realistic for your ultimate goals.

What are the minimum tools I need? Rotary tool (like a dremel) with a nice router base. Router bits (I'd suggest 1/32", 1/16" and 1/8"). Jeweler's saw. Mini file set (Home Depot's are fine).

Is a router/dremel essential or can you do inlay with just chisels? I wouldn't suggest it... it's possible but I'm betting it'll turn you off it.

If you can use just chisels how do you get the bottom flat? Good luck lol

What are the best ways to get the inlay material flush with the surface of the wood? Sand it once you've inlaid it... 

Is there a resource that can tell me what woods are toxic and should only be worked on with a breathing mask and ventilation? To my knowledge there are no "toxic" woods... at least that luthiers commonly work. There are woods that are known allergens for the general population (like cocobolo). It's always a good idea to wear a mask, period. Wood dust in general isn't great for your lungs, especially if you plan on doing this for a long time.

Best,

Chris

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Wood dust (any type) has been classified as a carcinogen by several organisations for many years. Shell dust is also a problem, not only due to the probable carcinogenic effect of inhaling a fine powder into your lungs, but also due to some types of mollusc shell being toxic to humans when ground up into dust and inhaled.

Just be sensible about your exposure to any dust you create - wear a mask, work in a ventilated area and you'll be fine.

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