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Polishing Pearloid


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I brought a precut vine inaly. It is made entirely out of those plastic pearloid. (it is all the way thru, not just the top)

It also comes with a precut/preslotted 20" radius ebony fretboard.

The inaly is not flush with the fretboard (obviously), it is sitting quite a bit higher, so I will need to sand it down. But after I sand it down, what's the best method to polish it and make it very shiny.

I tried wet sanding with 1000grit sand paper + polishing materials + car wax on a scrap piece, and I can only make it semi gloss....can't really get to the original shine it comes with.

So...is there any speical material for polishing pearloid? Or do I need finer sand paper to do it?

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The polishing process has to be gradual. Going straight from 1000 grit to polish won't do the trick. If the 1000 grit results in a uniform, smooth surface then take it further with 1200, 1500 and you could final sand with 2000. Then your polish and buffing should be able to finish the job.

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Man, maybe I understand: you bought your board and the pre cutted inlay from Al on eBay. Right? So you asked the difference between 20" and 16" radius. If yes let me say this: if you're going to use that fretboard on a Floyd equipped guitar, consider the bridge and locking nut radius too. On Ibanez is 17" on many models and 16" on Korean made models (I mean bridge and locking nut). So you should continue to sand the board after gluing the inlay with the block radius :D You can modify a flatter 20" radius with rounder radius without many problems.

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BEWARE of changing the radius of your inlaid board. If the pearloid is thin, you risk sanding through the inlay and removing part of it all together.

Edit: OK, if by "all the way through" you mean the the inlay is as thick as the rest of the fretboard (i.e. you can see the inlay on the back side), then there's obviously no risk of sanding through.

Edited by erikbojerik
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That inlay is 3 mm thick. I have the same, so I gave him that advice if he needs to change the radius.

Yea....you are totally right~~

that's what I probably gonna do..(sand it to 16" radius after putting the inlay)...

Actually, what kind of glue should I use to put in the inlay? Are most common carpetener glue gonna do the work? Or do I need some speciality glue to do it?

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You can use 2 part slow setting epoxy (black dyed if it is ebony) or CA glue.

If you want sand the board to 16" ok but what hardware do you have? If you have a tremolo like the Strat Standard you can act on every saddle so you could leave the board 20" if you like it. Of course a new nut would be better.

If you have for example an Ibanez RG320, then you want to sand to 16". Take care while you modify tha radius. You have to use 80 or 120 grit so you put deep scratches in. Switch to 120 before complete and then 150. It takes mooorrrrre time but you can start to remove the scratches. Then polish it up to 1000 or more.

I have the same inlay and I have to say that with 120 grit, then 220, 320, 400, I already had the majority of the scratches out and a good amount of shine back.

If I miss something or I am wrong, please correct me.

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