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Pearl Or Abalone Purfling Question


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I have looked around and can't seem to find the answer. I am thinking of putting a pearl or abalone purfling around the soundhole of my next guitar. I was just wondering how you get the pearl to match whatever radius channel you cut in the soundboard? Does the pearl bend? or do you have to buy it pre-cut to a certain radius? or is it something else... I have never dealt with pearl other than dots, so i have no idea. Thanks

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Purfling is usually done with straight strips. You simply break and miter the pieces in curved sections. There is a tiny gap when you do this, but it is very slight. In most large radius areas you can use pretty long strips and still keep the gap minimal. It is not really as difficult to work with shell to do this. Certainly routing a quality ledge for binding is the more difficult challenge. Buy up a hanndful of shell(MOP supplies has pretty reasonable prices per. inch) and you will see what I mean.


The round part of that rosette is simply routed with a regular router, a spiral downcutting bit, using a pin I drilled into my router base and centering hole. The inlay part was marked after the piece was assembled with CA. I cut the pattern with an exacto knife(full depth* .06") in the soft spruce. Then I used a spriral down cutting bit to route away the majority of the material(within about 1/8-1/16" of the cut pattern). Then I used a small chisel I have to break away that tiny bit of wood between the routed area and the cut pattern(actually works very well and is super clean and easy, most importantly low risk with a soft wood like spruce).


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