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Les Paul Pearloid Inlays


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Hey, really tight on time, so I'll make this quick. I have these flat pearloid inlays for an LP Custom. They are flat, and I was wondering if I should radius them to the fret board or should I just put them in a tad deep and coat them with laquer or something? Just a quickie, Any thoughts?

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If they are thicker than the fretboard, then you can put them in and radius them flat against the fretboard.

What :D Thicker than the fretboard? Generally you dont laquer a fretboard unless its maple. Ideally you want to start with a flat fretboard, rout out the inlay cavities, inlay them and then radius the whole thing at once. How deep depends on the thickness of your pieces. If they are really thin you will probably want to rout deeper so you can raduis the borad without taking too mutch off the edges of the inlay. Likewise, if they are thicker you can inlay them shallower as there is more material.

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Like I said, it will be tough to inlay an already radiused and fretted board. I wouldnt do it if I were you, especially if you have never inlayed before. You would need to pull the frets out to do it correctly. Laquer is not the answer, epoxy maybe but if you inlay it right all you need to do is sand them down to match the radius of the board. There really isnt an easy way to do what you want to do.

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.05" is thick enough for you to inlay them so you sand them to match the radius. Well, if you have anything tighter than a 12" radius, you might be asking for trouble. Inlay the blocks so they are flush at the highest point(the middle) of the fretboard. Then use a radiused sanding block to sand the inlays to match the radius of the fretboard after you've glued them in. Oh, and people don't use laquer to fill the space on top of an inlay when they do that sort of thing; it's some sort of liquid acrylic. You shouldn't need to do that though. Infact, if you did that with MOP, it could potentially look aweful.

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Since these are basically plastic, I suggest that you use 0-0-0-0 (extra-fine) steel wool to final polish the inlays. That will give them a nice shine and can be use again with if they dull. Keep the steel wool dust away from your pickup. It will stick to the polls and is a pain to get off. Tape over your pickups before you start.

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Woot! Finished! ALright I Knew the answer is to always ask the old man. (this should probably kept somewhere for reference) I couldn't figure out an appropriate way to add inlays to an already finished neck. So I ask my dad about radiusing the inlays and gluing them. In about a minute, he grabbed a small chunk of scrap wood about 3'' by 1.5'' deep and about as wide as the inlay itself. He cut out a small space a wide as my last inlay and told me to use the space to lay the blank and sand it. I used my radius sanding block from StewMac and clamped it to the workbench with 320 grit, radius side up. Then I took a heavier grit to a normal flat sanding block for the bottoms side. Using the wood jig I spoke of, I put the inlay in and sanded against the clamped down radius block. Once it was sufficiently curved, I carefully sanded the bottom of it to the right height to lay it in. No fuss no muss. When I moved up to a larger inlay, I would just take another 1/16 off the inside of the jig with the table saw to accomodate the inlay. There you have it. Easy answer to a off question.

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