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Shell Inlay


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I was searching around ebay, and I found this supplier of shell blanks in taiwan, and he's selling like 8 pieces of paua for $9, and MOP for like $7, etc. Here's some links:

Green Abalone


I was just wondering if anyone knew a scam or something as to why they're so cheap, or is it just normal that if you get it straight from asia it's cheaper?


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Things are cheaper in Aisa, but for the Abalone, well, look at the shots of the back. How thick the usable area of each piece is isn't defined; could be very, very thin in some spots.

Re: the MOP, there's no mention of how thin the pieces are. Asian inlay artists use much, much thinner blanks than most western inaly artists.

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extra info ...

That Bruce Weiart guy seems to have a bunch of inlaying going on, and ebays a lot of items.

I've ordered a couple things from him, just to see what the deal is.

He seems on the level -- very decent in email, promptly shipped, concerned that I was pleased with the items, etc.

I'm guessing he gets bulk/cheap materials over there, and the ebay thing is a side business to recoup more money from his efforts.


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The MOP are what is called "feathers". There are quit thin, a lot of the materials it probably unusuable. I have see this guys stuff on the internet to. It is stamp out, waffer thing shell stickers, it really isn't inlaid at all. That works on a headstock or body, but it you put in on a fretboard you now have a coffee table guitar, can't be played.

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Source for free shell : I recently asked a couple of relatives if I could look through their "button boxes" and take any real shell buttons.


This photo shows some of what I got from that, along with some dot inlays of 5mm and 1/4" sizes at the bottom left, to give an idea of the size of everything. I made the 5mm dots myself.

Pay no attention to the "diamond" shaped one. That's my first attempt to make that shape, and I'm certainly not proud of how it turned out.

I really don't like working with shell. Smells like teeth being drilled when being cut.

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