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My Fingerboard Mirror Inlay Project


Saber
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Here is my first inlay project. I started out with a scalloped Ibanez S-Series neck so I needed inlays that would pretty much cover the old "S" inlays.

I basically used Brian's 3D Inlay Tutorial with the following additions. I cut them out of 3/32" acrylic mirror. I painted the edges flat silver since the edges can be seen through the transparent acrylic. Then I added a coat of brown so the silver could not be seen through the transparent epoxy where there might be small gaps in the less-than-perfect routing. I could have avoided the brown paint if I had added brown pigment to the epoxy instead.

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Nicely done Saber.

For a first I would say extremely nice work!! :D

Craig

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Whoah, I'm sort of overwhelmed by these compliments! Thanks. I guess patience pays off.

The acrylic sheet comes from the hardware store (Reno-Depot near where I live) in the same section as the plexi-glass and other similar sheet products. They come in 4' x 8' sheets but my brother had bought a smaller scrap piece from the store's cutting center for his own hobby. Since my inlays are a simple geometric shape, I cut far enough outside the line and then held the piece above a belt sander to wear it down almost to the line, always holding it so that the belt drags the reflective surface slightly toward the acrylic. Then I filed each edge smooth. I didn't polish the edges though, so the paint could grab on.

BTW, this type of mirror doesn't use a foil backing but is rather some type of coating so it doesn't tear, so that may make it a bit easier to work with.

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Looks really good, question for you though, are the inlays curved to match the scallop of like a flat surface at the bottom of the scallop (does that make sense). And if so how did you get the mirror to bend like that. BTW I like the "name on the inlay" touch makes it seem that much more pro, IMO

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Looks really good, question for you though, are the inlays curved to match the scallop of like a flat surface at the bottom of the scallop (does that make sense). And if so how did you get the mirror to bend like that. BTW  I like the "name on the inlay" touch makes it seem that much more pro, IMO

Thanks. The bottoms of the inlay cavities were routed flat by placing a board on each side of the neck and riding the router attachment on them. Then the inlays were glued flat and then filed, sanded, and buffed to the shape of the scallops. The inlays are thick enough and the scallops not so deep, making it possible to do it this way. However, even though the reflective surface remains flat, even that looks curved because of optical distortion caused by the curvature of the other surface. In fact the flat reflective surface appears convex, or opposite of the concave scalloped surface.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Really nice work! Now that you've had it a while do you find that the acrylic scratches easily? I considered trying something similar, but the acrylic mirrors i've seen are usually prone to scratching.

I don't have any problem with scratches but that's simply because my fretboard is scalloped so the strings never come in contact with the inlays. Only the pads of my fingers occasionally rub against them a bit when I do large bends since the scalloping is not very deep, so they only get a bit dirty. If there were small scratches, they wouldn't be very noticeable with the strings passing over but it's hard to say how a non-scalloped fretboard would end up.

Whoa Saber, Awesome job!!!  Would you consider doing my fretboard!!? I'm over in Pointe-Claire

The request is flattering but since this is my only experience with inlaying, I wouldn't feel too confident about not screwing up at this point in time... especially on someone else's guitar.

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