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strange idea for making perfect pearl inlays


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now i don't know "if they have been doing this for years" but anyway here is my idea or theory.

ok, you have a piece of pearl inlay. you have a shape cut of the inlay design [like those ginger bread man cutter things. [you know, you lay the dough flat and press the cutter on the flat dugh and it make a perfect giger bread man cut.] i know what you are thinking, pearl is too brittle to make cuts like that, well that not my idea yet.

my idea and/or theory is that you lay a piece of pearl flat on a bench. then you put the design shaped cutter piece [inlay design] on top of the pearl - the cutter needs to have a lot weight on top of it need to have stead balance. now the idea is to drizzle acid around the cutter piece of the inlay, so that the acid eats up the outer pearl piece. now while you wait for the acid to eat up the outter piece of the shape of the pearl and required that acid is all over the outter pearl piece, gravity should force the shape down into the pearl forming a pearl inlay.

it may take a few drizzles of acid and a little while to eat the pearl into shape. all i need to know now is which acids eat pearl inlays. but just think, it will require more time, but less work. start the process before you start cutting up the piece to make the guitar, and the pearl inlay might be ready in time for installing.

i have the same idea for fretboard inlay cut, although instead of acid i might need termites. :D

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Definitely a creative idea, but i'm not sure how practical it is.

In order for the "cookie cutter" to sink into the pearl, the acid would have to be eating away under where the metal template is. How do you stop the acid from continuing to eat its way in? You'd also waste a lot of material in the process, and deal with nasty corrosive (and potentially toxic) chemicals and their byproducts.

Fine saws, knives and routers aren't such a bad idea. :D

Or find a place that does laser cutting or high-pressure water cutting.

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I guess some folks should go back to school or read up on all their old chemistry notes. The idea is sorta sound but the reaction can't be controlled very well. For those who forgot their basic high school science classes, or haven't taken them yet, MOP, abalone, corals etc. etc. are basically made of calcium carbonate, a form of limestone only made by marine critters. The right concentration of hydrocloric acid will react vigorously with CaCO2. Easy enough to do it in a shallow glass container. You might get the basic shape but you would have to have a base handy to neutralize the reaction.

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i knew i would get this attention, plus a Snork joke, however this is just a theory and/or idea. of course the method does not sound practical at the moment, it is not suppose to. i would be blowing all my idea's at once. :D and Perry, i was joking abut the termites. a base, of course, thank you Southpa, my method is nearly complete. and for your information, i finished high school and my Dad has a degree in chemistry. yeah so anyway, i got this idea from the Discovery channel. i saw some people getting fossils out of limestone. they would have the block of limestone in a low concentrated acid solution and it would slowly dissolve the limestone. the idea was to have the solution strong enough to dissolve the limstone and weak enough not to dissolve the fossil. well anyway they haven't even finished dissolving all the limestone yet, it takes 5 years, but they have only 2 years to go now.

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Sounds like a great idea to me. I don't imagine that manufacturing a perfect cookie cutter out of an acid resistant material could possibly be 8 times harder than cutting some pearl. On a related note, I've always thought the best way to do inlay would be to train oysters to form pearl in the right shape - I'm imagining an intensive training setup involving a 2 inch TV screen, a bucket of plankton and a sharp pencil.

Feel free to take this idea and run with it...

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  • 2 weeks later...

thats actually qutie a good idea .

have you tried this though?????

u can canablize a dead dremel [i find them all the time at pawn shops and from people who use the up modelers and ebay too. for a few bucks]

and with a little bit of creative engineering you can make a nice pearl cutter.

i got tired of holding the flex shaft of my dremel at a certainangle so i just went ahead and made one out of the olddremels bit holder, a straight piece of metal rod and an old low voltage high output motor. weighs around a pound or so i added some counter balances to it

basically take a piece of pvc pipe run metal shaft trhough it. attach to dremel bit holder on one end. attach otehr end to motor. put in pressure sensitve switch to control rpm's and add power cord and away we go

now i can hold it like a pencil and have more control makes scalloping so much easier now if i could only quit selling everytool i build it woudl be all right.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My guess with the cutter thing is...You wouldnt be able to melt Pearl or Abalone down and pour it into a mould right? If so....I'd be all for that. You would get a nice design every time..may not be pretty though. If its with something that isnt supposed to be pretty on the other hand...plastic, etc...then...maybe that would work?

-E.

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It seems if you spend half the time cutting inlays as you spend trying to figure out how not to cut inlays, you'd have a few guitars done by now! :D

I do like the idea of growing MOP in the right shapes. Perhaps rather than train the sea ceatures you could just farm them inside little cookie cutters like they raise veal. Then it would only be allowed to grow in the shape of the inlay.

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