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Inlaying Dots In Figured Maple


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I have a cool Birdseye Maple Fingerboard bound in maple that I want to inlay some nice Paua Dots. My questions is what would be the best method of doing it. I feel as though drilling the holes after radiusing would be the best to retain the color/figure in the dots, however,I am worried about any chip out/tearing in the figured maple. The alternative and easier method would be to inlay them prior to radiusing. I would have them sit just below the surface of the fingerboard. For the two dots at the 12th fret, I would go a little deeper to try and compensate for the drop off. I thought of doing a partial radius at a higher radius, Inlaying them, and then reradius to the correct compound radius. It would be a sufficient halfway point, however, It would b very tedious with the set up of the radiusing jig.

Any suggestions?

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The 'best' method will be the one that works best for you and will always be debated by those with different chosen methods.

By far, the most standard way of doing fb dots is to inlay the dots into your flat board and then radius with a sanding jig. The dots will not suffer in appearance; when you work your way up through finer grits you'll polish them just like you do the board.

You mention compound radius and jig in your post - are you radiusing with a router? If so, you may suffer from chipping the Paua with your router bit. I've never tried it (and probably wouldn't) so I'm not the best to respond. Others? If I were to try it, I think I would radius the board with the router jig, inlay the dots, sand flush and then polish as normal. Don't see why that wouldn't work, but, again, I ain't done it.

I would have them sit just below the surface of the fingerboard

Yeah... you don't really wanna do that.

I'm not really sure what you're on about re the 12th fret and the drop off. If you are doing a compound radius and keeping a constant thickness on your fb edge, the board will get flatter as you move from nut to bridge, requiring you to remove less wood to achieve your radius.

If you are worried about tear out on your fb, don't use a router to do the radiusing, a radius block will work just fine. If I were doing a figured fb, that's what I would use anyway.

Best of luck.



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Sorry, I was unclear. When I meant by drop off was in relation to the center of the finger board. As you go toward the edge the height drops in relation to the center of the finger board to the height of the edge.

I have the Grizzly Radius jig for a horizontal Belt Sander (also a Grizzly), do not need to worry about chipping the inlay. By just under the finger board, I was compensating for a little extra removal from the center of the board due to radiusing. Nothing drastic. I am really leaning towards inlaying them before I radius.

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