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Found 7 results

  1. I want to apply an even amount of laquer to my guitar body so that it feels glassy-smooth like when it was original. It was bought used with various patches of hardened goop over the neck and body which I foolishly (insanely) scratched away with rough sandpaper. To make matters worse I applied some laquer to the exposed wood parts in an attempt to "cover up" the rawness thinking I could fill in the blanks and everything would be ok. I have a can of minwax clear gloss spray which I'm sure is nitrocellulose. I'm wondering if I should sand down the body and neck and then reapply some laqueur to get back the glossiness. I'm looking for advice about how to refinish the guitar so I can undo the error of having sanded away the goop. Second Question The inlays on the guitar are also noticeable as I fret over them. They seem to be sunk in when compared to the fretboard. Is there any easy troubleshooting that can be done? Please visit this photo album for pictures of the specified guitar: http://imgur.com/a/FAjnZ
  2. Dichrolam, LLC

  3. Dichrocaster "build"

    Not a typo - seems like I should have dichrocaster in quotations, but I put "build" in quotations because my Strat mod is not worthy of the title compared to the awesome real builds I've seen by most of you (still perusing through all your cool projects). I am truly impressed by what I have seen here, and blown away by the level of craftsmanship. Thats coming from a guy that majored in WW / Furniture Design at RIT back in 86 with furniture in FWW magazine's Design Book Six, so I know a thing or two about fine woodworking (just not luthiery yet). "build" also in lower case, because my goal is to cosmetically makeover some guitars in rather short time frames, so I am intentionally cutting some corners (literally, freehand with my tablesaw) for production effiicency, so some of the craftsmanship is a bit poor by my standards, as this is my first full guitar modification, so consider that issue when criticizing, but please PLEASE criticize - I need all the knowledge I can get. I have only been interested in guitars for less than two months when it hit me that these new color-changing dichroic laminates would look cool on guitars, coupled with the incredible timing in which you can now get Floyd Rose bridges in the new rainbow chrome PVD plating. So now to explain "Dichrocaster". "Dichro" is short for dichroic, which means di = two, and chro= color, a term / adjective for "color-changing" which is most commonly used as dichroic glass, Google dichroic glass and you will understand. Few are aware of the newer pigments now that are actually micro platelets of dichroic glass. These pigments are the same as used in the $5000.00 per gallon Chromalusion (DuPont) and Mystic (BASF) paints. What is super cool is I have recently found suppliers of raw borosilicate pigments with the same color shifting effects for a fraction of the said pre-mixed brands, and am using them in these strat mods (the "Dune" face acrylic). I am also using another laminate for inlays that utilizes dichroic films in the optical core, which complements the rainbow Floyd Rose and the Dune perfectly (not explaining that stuff in too much detail for fear that this post might be removed as a veiled ad attempt - this post is so I can gain knowledge and ideas from this community). So now details on this mod. Got a cheapo squire with sound body and neck, and took it to the dado blade to remove 5/16" from the face and bevel to be replaced with the 5/16" back coated "Dune" acrylic. Edges chipped pretty bad (didn't realize how thick the PE fill coat was), so next time I will pre-score the edge, but its gonna get body filler and urethane sealant anyway. I drilled the Floyd Rose stud holes first, then routed its mortice to a depth of 3/16" prior, then routed the 5/16" around it, Then re-inforced the short grain in front of the studs with oak pcs epoxied cross grain in the bridge pup cavity - will show pics if interested. I mounted the humbucker just for the photo below, but am curious from all of you why the screws were so long? I needed to cut nearly a half inch off them, and they still will be able to be adjusted plenty. The Dune acrylic face and the red inlay material all cut great with the laser, and I plan to carry the triangular "exhaust plume" deltas up through the neck in place of the pearl dots. Then will ebonize the rosewood. Planning to reshape the headstock and spray it with the same pigments as the body. I recently hired a young guitar tech to work for me in my other work, and we are doing this project together. He (Sean) has been super helpful and we are learning a ton from each other, but curious what kind of can of worms I am opening by posting this (referring to inevitable comments like "you just ruined the tone by routing off the face and gluing in acrylic" type of comments - which I would welcome anyway. My goal is not to create a great sounding guitar (will do my best in that arena), but to create an insane visual feast.
  4. Help identify this

    We found this guitar at a vintage shop in Clifton (Cincinnati), Ohio called Mikes guitar. I am trying to find its origin or some information as to who made it. It has no markings on it, no serial number. It looks like a hofner violin bass but it is a guitar and probably a copy of the shape. The dragon inlay is on the front and back. Does anyone have any suggestions
  5. Making Custom Dot Markers

    This technique has been around for decades now, and I'm sure it pre-dates where I picked the idea up from. Remember Fender's good old clay dots? This is essentially that same idea but taken a step further.... You will need drill bits corresponding to the size of inlays you want to makesmall drill bit (about 2mm or 1/16", see below)masking tapeultra-high density polyethylene kitchen cutting boardmaterial of your choice for inlays (epoxy, clay, recon. stone and cyanoacrylate, etc.)The basis of how this works is the ability of high molecular weight plastics like UHMWPE, etc. to resist adhesion to pretty much most things. The cheap plastic wipe-clean chopping boards you get for a couple of dollars are usually this material or similar. The objective is to take a drill bit (lip and spur, brad point) and drill a series of holes halfway into the plastic, or as deeply as you want the inlay to be thick. A pillar drill with a depth stop is perfect for this. If you're using a hand-drill, a depth stop on the drill bit does the trick also. After you're drilled these, take the small diameter drill bit and drill through the entire board in the centre of each shallow hole. These are used later on to ease removal of the inlays. Side dot markers are simpler; just drill through the entire board with the correctly-sized drill bit. Once you have your mould complete, the process is relatively simple. Using your masking tape, cover the holes on the underside of the board. It's useful to rub the tape down firmly to prevent any leakage between the tape and the board. Once these are blocked off, simply pour your inlay making material into the moulds, scrape the surface flush of any excess and allow it to cure, dry, etc. Once complete, your new inlays can be pushed through from the rear, trimmed, filed and installed! What sort of inlay materials is it possible to use? Any material that doesn't adhere to high-density plastics! Epoxy presents a number of opportunities to make something a little different: Mix up a batch, add colour pigment and pour into the inlay moulds.Mix a batch, split it into two or more cups. Add a compatible pigment to one or more cups, then simply pour these all back into one cup with minimal mixing and stirring. This can be poured into the inlay moulds resulting in swirly-3D faux tortoiseshell look.Mix a batch and add glow-in-the-dark powders (Strontium or Europium based, such as from United Nuclear).Mix epoxy and crushed stone powders, craft glitter, powdered metal, wood dust, etc.Alternatively, water thin cyanoacrylate (superglue, krazy glue) works well as a binding adhesive, but not for adding pigments. Instead of pre-mixing, each mould needs to be packed with the powder or material and the cyanoacrylate dripped onto the top to "wick" its way in. Ideally this should be done a little at a time (pack in a little material, add glue, pack more material, add glue, etc.) to ensure that no dry pockets or voids exist.
  6. Before we get started let me just say if you have never attempted an inlay before, practice a few times using a spare piece of wood such as a 2x4, this particular method uses clear acrylic sheet for the main material on top which can be purchased in sheets for a few dollars and will render enough material to do this several times over so take your time and practice. My method may not be the same as others and your results may vary but it works for me! You will also need to have all of the frets off of your board unless you plan on spending the next year or so doing fine detail sanding between frets, I used a 16" pre-radiused ebony board for this tutorial and did not fine sand it till the end just in case I made any small marks along the way (accidents can happen). You can either start with your fret board mounted to the neck or not, as you will see I choose to attach this one part way through. Firstly, I drilled a 1/4" hole in a 1/2" thick board and cut a slot to the hole from the side to make a jig for cutting on my table top jigsaw. To hold it in place I used some spring clamps you can pick up at just about any hardware store, those things are great! OK let's get started on the actual work, first of all since this is a tutorial about doing a 3D inlay it will involve using a flat insert such as the one I've made out of vinyl decal material pictured on the right and inlaying it under a clear piece of acrylic plastic. I'm using the 3/32" thick type found in the local Lowes hardware. First I laid the insert on top then I scored a line along every edge of my insert to make a clean very tight drawing on the acrylic sheet. Next I cut out each of the individual pieces using my table top jigsaw on the lowest setting. At this speed it doesn't melt or weld the acrylic back together behind the cut. Just be sure to take your time and also blow away the dust often so you can follow your line. I left the backing on the bottom side of the acrylic to protect it till it's ready to go into the fretboard. Inspect each piece as you get them cut for closeness to your score line. If a piece isn't cut properly you can always run it up and down a flat bladed file, this also helps to smooth out any ragged edges. Next lay each of your pieces on the fretboard and score a line around each one. When positioning them, measure the left and right space as well as the space between the frets to ensure that they're centred....unless of course you're planning something different! ....sometimes when you think you have it right you end up finding out the positioning wasn't that perfect. Be sure to go back and check each one over again since this will be the final time before cutting into the wood! I started out using a very fine cutting tip in a Dremel. Freehand works well if you take your time and stay inside the score marks. No need to rush this part and you can always practice on a scrap board (many times, practice is wise). PS. If you couldn't stay in the lines with crayons as a child now is not a good time to try this on your actual fret board! Get some practice in!! After you have finished the outside edges, switch the bit in your Dremel to a larger router bit and attach your router base. Adjust the depth of cut to about 85-95% of the depth of the acrylic so when you're finished the pieces will still be sticking out of your board all across the top. Of course be very careful as you do this step and constantly blow away any buildup of dust that impairs your vision. After you have cleaned up the middle it's time to switch back to your original tiny cutting tip to clean the edges up freehand. Take your time and clean up the inside of the edges by slightly undercutting them. For the tight corners the Dremel in the router base couldn't reach reliably, use the tip to tidy each one up. Take a new razor blade and clean up the corners until they are neat looking and tight. Keep test fitting each acrylic insert in the cavities as you go. If they don't go in easily, clean up the area where they're binding with the Dremel or the knife. Each piece should be able to go in neatly without force, and not sloppily. Each piece should not only fit easily but should also sit very slightly above the fret board. Time to grab your inserts and make sure each of them fit easily into the routes now. If they don't fit have a look to see if your going to have to adjust everything else or trim them (hopefully neither). Time to prep your board for some serious inlaying! Make sure all of the dust and any other junk that may have found its way into the routes is brushed out, blown away or otherwise removed; totally clean. I'm using a two part clear epoxy made especially for jewellery inlays. I start by mixing it up on a piece of clean aluminum foil since paper or card can contaminate the epoxy with dust and fibres. I use toothpicks for the mixing since they're cheap. I only mix up a small amount of epoxy at a time since I don't want to chance it starting to set up before I have used it all. Here you can see Part A and Part B side-by-side. As you mix the two parts together it is almost impossible to avoid little bubbles of air trapping in the mixture, but we'll discuss that a little later.... Now that you have your cleaned-up fretboard, your inserts easy to get to and the epoxy is mixed it's time to get started. Swab up some of the epoxy with a toothpick and drip it down into the cavity. You only need a tiny bit at this point so it can grab the insert you want under your acrylic piece. There's no need to go overboard at this point. A little dab will do ya. With a little dab of epoxy in the cavity drop in the insert make sure it lays flat. Take more of your epoxy and fill the cavity about 1/2 way making sure it spreads around evenly. If you encounter any bubbles in your mixture as you do this, poke them using a clean toothpick. You can push them away to the side but they'll escape when you place in the acrylic insert anyway. It doesn't hurt to get rid of as most of them as you can though. Now, set your insert down on top of the epoxy and gently press it into place. Let the epoxy ooze out along the edges. When you get to larger pieces it becomes difficult to chase air bubbles from underneath the acrylic . Instead, you can wipe a dab across the back of the acrylic and slide the insert on to it before forcing the bubbles out from the back with a toothpick. Gloves are advised because epoxy isn't good for your skin! Anyway. You can see that the bubbles show easily as you dab epoxy on top of the insert. Take your time and carefully tease any of them out as you work. The toothpicks are great for cleaning out any excess epoxy that manages to find its way into the fret slots. If you want, you can use masking tape or Teflon strips. One of the advantages of the particular epoxy I use (Epoxy 330) is that instead of waiting the normal dry time of 2-3 hours for it to set up an infrared heat lamp will harden it completely in 10 minutes. Don't do it too close otherwise the wood might crack! Your choice of risk. OK so now all of the inserts are in and the epoxy has cured, time for the inevitable sanding.... I started by using 80 grit sleeve to knock the top of the epoxy off. A flat bladed file is also a good option. Yes...it's a beautiful mess but it's my mess =o) Anyway the dust you create as you sand at this point should only be white in color, if you start to see anything else back off immediately as hitting the board at this stage is a very bad thing!! Now that the majority of the top has knocked down it's time to change to higher grits (120 to 220) and continue smoothing the area down. This is what it looks like once I finished using 220. The acrylic is fogged over but the magic will happen soon enough. Here is a side view. It's hard to see but the inlay is still sticking up slightly like a mini speed bump. I do not want it level just yet since the sandpaper of choice has been too large a grit and will cause permanent lines scored into the acrylic if I go any further. Time to switch over to radius block sanding. For this board I needed a 16" radius block. I started out with 320 grit, then each grit through to about 2000. If needed, final polishing can be done with micro mesh. It's useful to have compressed air available. Sand paper builds up with wood and epoxy dust quickly during the sanding process. You can also see the lines running up and down the length of the board from the radius milling machine slowly beginning to disappear. (this board was purchased online from LMII.com) As you change through the grits you will slowly start to see the top of the acrylic smooth up. If you're using an ebony board like this one you'll also see it polish itself up nice and shiny without the use of any oil =o) Fret markers 3 and 5 Fret markers 7 to 12 Fret markers 15 to 24 All finished and ready for the guitar!
  7. I decided to show you how I am going step by step on the blue shark that will go on the chimera headstock classical guitar for Dr. Douglas Fields. First things first; this is on a NON-radiused classical fretboard. That makes this one easier. It's totally flat. The board is ebony, also easy. So, this is an EASY inlay! Here is the inlay so far. This photo includes the original art, (lower right), the photocopies for cutting the pieces, the odder materials, (blue/teal plastics in this case, and black Tahitian pearl) other more regular materials include ebony, and regular mother of pearl. The inlay is already cut out and glued up together. I use 003 jewelers blades, and a normal jewelers saw as well. Nothing special there. Recently I have started to use size 1 blades, as they seem to be much more tight against the cut, and give you a more even edge cut from top to bottom. The main thing with inlay design is originality For example.... Start out like this: "I really want a killer inlaid tropical rainforest scene on a guitar, how can I make that happen?". THEN worry about materials, etc. If you're staring at a single piece of pearl in front of you and wondering what to do with it you are limiting yourself a lot! You'll notice design-wise that the shark is extremely foreshortened, it looks like it's swimming out of the fretboard. Also the top fins are cut off; he's swimming through the board. You don't need to shove or fit the whole design into a small space. The human mind will piece in what is missing as long as the main parts of the image are there. Too much and it looks off, but done correctly it adds a new dimension to the art, and looks completely unique. Some more on drawing up your inlays Make sure all your lines join each other so they can be cut out separately later like a puzzle. Any un-joined lines mean starting over. You can create free ending lines with a graver tool as your engraving skills get better. More on engraving laterI draw all my art for patterning with a drafting pencil. I use #8H lead; very hard, for drawing thin clear lines. These lines will photocopy nicely, and are good for getting extremely close tight cuts. The thicker the pattern lines, the more off your cutting can end up and the more gaps between pieces you will have in your inlay. These are hard to hide, so just prevent them with a good pattern and good cutting to begin with.When photocopying you can shrink the pattern a little, making the lines thinner.Make about 15 or so photocopies of your original, and use these to piece out your inlay materials. More on materials and thickness I do not use any backing. I glue the pieces together with thin cyanoacrylate glue. I am most interested in the surface color of my materials. I will glue everything FACE down so that the surface of the inlay is completely even. It doesn't matter if the back is a little uneven. When fitting, I rout to the deepest piece, and use dust or something to life the other part of the inlay up. The glue will fill in the back. This preserves your surface colors. Just make sure the inlay sits flush to the surface in the rout pocket. Any shell sticking up will get sanded down, and your color patterns may change or even go away. This becomes a little more tricky on radiused fingerboards, but it can be done. More on that later. Filing is for the areas where you didn't cut as accurately as you SHOULD have. Don't PLAN on doing it, and if you're going to make mistakes then cut outside the line, so you don't have to throw out the piece. The goal is to cut away the lines, leaving a completely tight fit, each piece having it's half of the original line shaved off, totally tight. You will gain those skills as you go. For a complete beginner some filing is going to happen. It happens to me in almost every piece (total piece that is, not each piece of shell). Most are tight from the start. Pierced pieces almost always need at least a little something filed off. Next is positioning Find the place where the inlay is going to go and glue it down temporarily with some contact cement. NOT CA or epoxy as those are too strong! You want to use something that you can release with acetone. Put a drop on the bottom, position your inlay and let it dry in place for a few hours at least. If you don't let it dry you will mess up your scribing, and have to start over again, and that can be a real pain. Don't rush it, do it right, be patient, and fight the urge to touch anything. That's the hard part! Just let it sit until it dries. Once the inlay is dry I use an exacto #11 blade and go around the inlay perimeter, scribing out the pattern. I then carefully lift off the piece and go over the scribed lines again with the blade, deepening the cuts. This isn't really necessary, but I like to make sure I have a clear pattern to rout to. I then clean off any residual glue on the inlay and the board with acetone. This keeps everything clean, otherwise your depth and height of your inlay pieces could be thrown off by the glue residue. I rout using a Foredom flex shaft tool. Basically a fancy Dremel. I use The Stew-Mac downcut carbide bits in decreasing size as I get nearer to the edge of the rout pattern. I normally end at the 1/32" size. These bits are great, last a long time, and cut extremely clean. No pictures of routing, sorry. You guys know how to rout though, right? So, we have scribed around the inlay, removed it, cleaned everything off with acetone, and rubbed white chalk over the lines to highlight them as a routing pattern. We then got our depth and routed to as perfect a fit as possible. Check your depth with a scrap piece of the shell that is the thinnest in your inlay, to make sure the depth is where you want it to be. Remember it's easier to rout deeper, raising an inlay takes a little practice as the glues in most cases shrink, so you have far less control over that. After the rout is done, and everything fits nice, fill the hole with your glue. If its epoxy make sure you mixed correctly, and add some to the hole, then add the inlay, then add more over the top. Make sure every seam and open area is filled with glue. If using CA, use the thinnest you can find, fill some in the hole, place in the inlay. In darker woods like ebony, take some ebony dust and pack dust fill the edges between the rout and the inlay with the dust. It will seep in making the edge look almost flawless after leveling, and it keeps the extremely thin glue under control from running all over as you add glue. The thin glues are about the same viscosity as water, so be careful with them. It's easy to get it all over, AND it's superglue. Wear a mask and eye protection as well for any of the woodworking steps. Superglue can cause a reaction almost like getting the flu. Trust me it is extremely lame. I work the glue with a mask AND a fan going. The ebony dust trick works nice in ebony and dark woods, however it does not for almost any other woods. Train yourself to be patient and rout tight and clean. That is the real key to good inlay- good design, interesting use of materials, tight cuts, and clean routs. At this point your inlay should look like crap. Clamp the inlay down. Epoxy doesn't shrink, and the inlay needs to sit as flush with the rout as possible. You'll notice the two different glues in this picture. I use the green Duco cement to hold inlay to the wood for scribing, and the red 3M glue for piecing out the pattern on my materials. Many people use CA for patterning, but CA won't hold paper well to gold or black pearl, and it lifts off easily while cutting patterns. That is a sure fire way to screw up your pattern during cutting, and you will have to re-cut the piece. The 3M glue is one part, and dries fast. It's a little gelatinous, so make sure your pattern sits FLAT on the material. Raised pattern means a mis-shaped piece. It sticks to every pearl and stone and metal I know. I really like it. After 24 hours you can start to level the inlay down. I don't care how long the package says it takes the glue to cure, or how much of a hurry you're in because your so excited about the piece. You want your work to be around for years, so why not take the proper time making it? Let the glue fully cure. Otherwise you may be sanding wet glue. Using a flat bottom solid wood block (any other will possibly have flex to it, sanding unevenly- a no-no on musical instruments- especially fretboards) start at 80 grit, and work your way down to 120, then 220, then 400 grit papers. I start using 120 about when there is still glue all around the inlay, but the inlay itself is becoming visible. I go to 220 grit when the glue is almost gone, but there is still enough to see the glue clearly. When the glue is almost wisp thin, but still there, I go to 400. I use them all dry except for when leveling plastics. If I have plastics in an inlay, like the shark here, I'll go to 220 dry, then finish off with 400 wet, (or with oil) and then even go to 600 to buff out the plastics. Some may need higher grits. About this stage in the photo I would still be at 120, but not for long. Just until I see the glue going away enough to make the inlay seem flat. You can switch to higher grits sooner to be safe, it just means a little more sanding time. If you go too far down on a fretboard kiss the board good-bye, especially if you can't re-radius it out. THAT is why I never support sanding an inlay going fret by fret. After it's level you may need to go back and pick out any bubbles, etc.. the glue formed while it was drying. I like to use the #1 blade, and dig them out until the white dust is gone, and fill them with the CA. It fills clear and fully. If it's in ebony, and you can't get out the bubble or the white dust out all the way, I have a little trick- clean out the bubble as much as possible- take some black India ink and fill the bubble with that, then seal that with the CA. Of course it only works in ebony, but its fast, cleaner than filling with ebony dust. Re-sand the new glue down again starting at 220. If you're happy with the inlay you can stop at this point, and you should be pretty proud. I am almost never happy with it at this stage, so I break out my graver tool to add all those details you can't get with cuts. The graver is the silver one with my technical pencil on top. Most people use a handle on it as well, but recently I have been having a better time without the handle. I feel like I have more control without it. Gravers are used for engraving, and I am FAR FAR from an expert on that. I am learning as I go on engraving, but I can tell you far less people hand engrave these days than do inlay. I wish I knew of a good tutorial on it, but I don't. Gun engravers can teach you how to engrave, but they are few and far between as well. What little I know basically is this. Draw out your pattern on the material you want to engrave on with the pencil, or pen if you're good enough to control the ink. When using pearl try to choose the most pattern free/plain MOP you can find. High figure pearl with blur the lines with the pattern, and it fractures out easier. After you draw out your pattern, gently (one wrong scratch means you just ruined all your previous work- not fun on a 75 hour inlay... - No I'm NOT kidding- you can't fill an incorrect deep graver scratch. You can only SAND it out) and gently scratch away at your pattern going deep with the graver each time. You will make a little "track" for your graver to follow as you go, but the key I have found so far is relatively low pressure, and smooth tracking. Stop after each pass, and replace the cut. Fill your cuts with either colored wax paste or inks. Remember, the engraving will wear with play, so keep your highest engraved areas toward the more non-used regions of the fingerboard if that's where the inlay is going. Proper engraving takes hours. It's a separate art to inlay, with rules and skills all it's own. Take your time and don't rush it. Some engraving artists' engraved pieces took years. Here is one last complete parting shot with engraving you can see the details make the piece.