Fret board inlays

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Fret board inlays

Postby Chris Richards » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:52 am

Not really a problem per se, but I was just wondering what the favoured method was for radiusing a fretboard with fancier in-lays. I'm in the process of routing the rebates for some crown in-lays, currently the fretboard is flat (with fret slots cut). Should I...

a) Radius the fretboard approximately then glue the in-lays file these down and then do the final sanding.
b) Glue the in-lays with the board flat and then sand the board to the required radius.

If I do option b) I'm assuming that pearl inlays are not something I can plane by hand or on a bench top planer? I'm thinking that a) would be a lot quicker and maybe more accurate since I won't be sanding over dissimilar materials?

Many thanks Chris
Chris Richards
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Location: London, England

Re: Fret board inlays

Postby David King » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:56 am

Option A is probably what most of us do. If you were using a stationary edge sander to radius the board you could sand to radius after the inlays were dropped in. I usually file the inlays down to the level of the board using a single cut fine file. I'll often put thin tape down around the inlays to avoid scraping up the board. I can then sand off the last .002" with a longer sanding stick after removing the tape.

You do need to be careful with gold MOP and some abalones that you don't remove the color layer. Paua Abalone has particularly thin color layers so if you chose a nice blue or purple piece, it might sand down to pale green.
David King
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Re: Fret board inlays

Postby Chris Richards » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:51 pm

Thanks David...

It's something I've never done before, I've always used plain dot inlays and it's something that I suddenly realised when I was working on my latest project using crown inlays! A quick question can save a lot of time, so thanks...Back to the Dremel router!
Chris Richards
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 9:24 am
Location: London, England

Re: Fret board inlays

Postby Rodger Knox » Fri May 10, 2013 3:23 pm

Another thing to consider is the thickness of your inlays. With the radius, they'll need to be thicker in the middle than at the edges. There are a couple of ways of dealing with this. You can inlay them flush in the middle and proud at the edges and then file the edges down flush. You can also cut it a little deeper and cover the whole thing with CA, then file/scrape the CA flush.
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon
Rodger Knox
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Re: Fret board inlays

Postby Michael Polutta » Tue May 21, 2013 4:36 pm

I've accidentally drilled the holes for my dot markers a bit too low before. I filled it with superglue and (very fine) sanded it flush. It looks like it's right on the surface (like all clear finishes do).
Michael Polutta
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:13 pm

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