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I'm not at all confident cutting out fine shapes from mop or abalone - i've tried, but I need to try harder (kudos to those who can...you rock)..I'm OK with dots and squares as you can buy them pre-cut.. :D

Anyway, marquetry...my father used to do this many many years ago, and I have tried it a few times. I find it much easier as I can use a craft knife which cuts neat and can do intricate shapes.

Original marquetry you would stick 'on top' of something to build it up. However, I've tested on some scrap, cutting out the shape, glueing it in and fine sanding..all very well..

On my current project the Es335 and the V (for my daughter) and the Strat...I'm wanting (possibley) to do somemarquetry..nothing fancy..but something that will extend from the fretboard on to the body...or vice versa.

Now protecting it in the body is OK...but on rosewood board on the neck?!...anyone have any idea how it can be protected..I'm meaning in my choice of woods to use..nothing too light as it would stain...I'm also thinking about placement of such a pattern, that it would not wear down too much (too soon if you know what I mean)..very thin veneers..

Any experience / advice would be helpful.

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I did this marquetry fretboard a couple of months back but it wasn't anything too complicated, just straight lines. The different pieces of wood aren't inlayed in the fretboard. It is the fretboard.

I glued it all with titebond and oiled the neck. There's also the option of epoxying or CA'ing your fretboard for a consistent feel/look

You can see how I did it on that bass' progress page.



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I've done a little marquetry inlayed into the surface but unfortunately I've lost the pictures on my hard drive and the guitar is on loan to a cameraless friend. :D

On a fretboard I would back the veneer with more veneer and saturate them with epoxy or CA. You would have to radius the FB first and contour the inlay to the board to avoid sanding through the thin inlay. You could treat the whole FB with glue but the contrast between the finished and unfinished woods could look good too.

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Thanks Phil and JPL..

Phil, I followed your link to your bass (I remember that base now..love it)..I also followed the link to the marquetry...and with JPL..you reiterate what fryovanni said..

I'm wanting to cut up the wafer thin veneers - so basically, back them up and ca or epoxy them...I'm just wondering should I do this first before cutting..the shapes? I'm just thinking that as I can see shrinkage/ warping of the different woods!

I was going to inlay into the fretboard which would be radiused first given that they are thin veneer..

Guess I'll just have to test first - my concern was really the staining of the lighter woods...

Thanks for you help guys..


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hey phil..that is one good looking neck! they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery so don't be surprised if i steal your idea in the near future. :D

this guitar features a form of marquetry. in my case i wasn't using veneers but 1/4" thick hand cut pieces of wood glued into a slightly shallower pocket and grouted with crushed black stone and superglue. that allowed me to sand down flush.


i-j-c, you might think about doing the same thing..use pieces thicker than your normal veneer then buy a radiusing block from stewmac that matches your guitar and sand down from there.

good luck.

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Cutting the saturated veneer would be a lot harder but I can see where it would be a lot easier to get a sure fit. I will sometimes saturate brittle veneers with watered down wood glue for fine, detailed pieces to make them less frustrating to cut. Just make sure you clamp the veneer flat and leave it to dry a lot longer than you think it will take to dry.

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Thanks unclej, jpl and phil...very helpful.

Seeing Phils neck and that link to a corrick or something..wow...I'd like to try something like that in the future when I'm confident enough..

I made a few radiusing blocks from the tutorials on the main page of this site...pretty neat and very easy to make..

I have a load of this thin veneer - but it's all VERY thin..of course I could lay pieces on top of one another but that may be wasting...if I was to say lay the veneer on some other wood to bring up the thickness...Oh, then again, if I were to do that then radius I risk sanding through the veneer!

Hmm, you've all given me food for thought...I'll take myself to a darkened room and give it some...urm, thought that is 8)

Thanks for all your help guys..


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