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Inlay on a guitar was never my first priority but when I see the guitars posted here I just wanna have a go at it. B)

After much thinking I came up with a couple of questions.


1 What is the right order for an inlay in a one piece maple neck?





2 Can anyone PM or post a drawing of a Ibanez vine inlay?

I believe it was here on Project Guitar but I can't find it anymore

Thanx in advance


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From experience I'd say that if this your first try, get some scrap maple first and do lots of practice on this - inlaying maple is much harder than eony or rosewood as you have to be really precise - dark boards are easy to fill around the inlays to cover any mistakes or gaps, maple is a right pain - this is why you rarely see fancy inlays on maple necks - disregarding the Jem, which has loads of black filler around each inlay !

Have a look at the inlays on any Les Paul and you'll find a lot of filler around them, but it isnt noticable unless you lool closely - on maple it really shows up as matching filler colour on light wood is much harder.

Best not to ruin the actual neck getting the hang of it :D

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I'm not sure from your list if you know this or not so I'll post it anyway:

when doing the inlay:

1. Cut the inlay material first.

2. Glue it to the fretboard using something like Duco.

3. Trace around it with an exacto (or similar) knife.

4. Scrape some chalk onto the area.

5. Rub the chalk into the scribed lines and blow off the excess.

6. Rout the freatboard.

7. Test fit and adjust routing until it fits nicely.

8. Glue or epoxy it in.

9. Sand flush.

When routing, try to leave a small amount of inlay sticking out of the fretboard. When using MOP or abalone, the more you need to sand the more likely you are to lose it's shine and figuring. When I did my first one, I left too much sticking up and it ended up looking rather dull after sanding since there wasn't much material left and the wood was showing through it.

Always use a radius sanding block when sanding flush. Don't try doing it any other way - It may not matter at first but as you get closer you run the risk of really messing things up if you don't.

Last thing: remember the respirator when cutting/sanding MOP / abalone and others - it's very dangerous stuff.

Good luck!

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2. Glue it to the fretboard using something like Duco.

Is that really neccessary? I read it everywhere in books and on the web, but I never did it that way and I had great results so far. I simply press the inlay on the fingerboard with one(or more) fingers and scribe arrond it with the other hand with a very sharp scribe in order to get the outline. I think gluing it on just increases the risk of breaking thin inlays during removing the glue from the inlay. Please don't take this as a critique, I just wonder what advantages the glueing is supposed to bring or why you choose that method. I could imagine that it might be helpful for complex inlays like a vine, but for simpler things like sharkfins or blocks I certainly got great results without glue.

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using glue simply helps minimize the possibility for error. its stuck in one place so that it can't move or shift. as for the glue, you just need enough to tack it on, not keep it there forever. the bond of a small dab could be broken fairly easily.

for simple inlays, you could get by without it. i'd just rather not take the chance of having to scribe a line twice, and route the wrong line. :D

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using glue simply helps minimize the possibility for error

I really think it's best to minimize your chances for mistakes by somehow keeping the inlay material as still as possible when your are transferring the outline to the fretbaord. Whether it's glue or something else doesn't matter but that's the best way that I am aware of.

If you do use duco (or some other glue), just don't be in a hurry to take the piece off - take your time and if it's being stubborn, try some heat.

The inlay that I've been doing would not come out very well without doing this. I have to shift positions several times, rotate the fretboard, ... to get the outline scribed accurately.

This was something that I learned from the Larry Robinson video that I have and I understand it's a fairly common technique.

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ok .. I always wondered about doing an inlay... and then doing a mild scallop to the neck... Would you still need to use a raduis block when sanding down ? Also I not talking about a super deep scallop either..... just enough to get the feel ... and also without going through the inlay!!! Any thoughts..... :D

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