Fretboard Inlays

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Alexander Higgins
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Fretboard Inlays

Post by Alexander Higgins »

When you guys get sick of posts, please let me know! I really appreciate all the advice for beginners.
Id like to try my hand at fretboard inlay with triangular faux mop position markers. I have an older dremel but no router base for it. Are the cheap plastic bases good enough for a one or two guitar job purpose? My plan is to buy a pre slotted fingerboard, cut the inlay recesses with dremel, glue them in, bind the fingerboard, and then radius with a sanding block. Any advice or references to good info on inlay for beginners appreciated. Thanks!

Chris Richards
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by Chris Richards »

Hi, you're doing things in the right order, using the small "down cut" bits that SM do is a good idea, the cutting edges are spiralled the other direction so they don't splinter the wood at the top, also for a first go I'd use ebony as it's easy to fill with ebony dust and super glue. I haven't used a plastic Dremel router base, I have the SM aluminium one which is good but still a bit fiddly.... I would (obviously) cut the inlay recesses first then radius the fretboard then glue-in the inlays and file/sand them to the curve of the FB... Be careful that the recesses are deep enough to accommodate the curve of the fretboard.

Bob Francis
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by Bob Francis »

I think the plastic Dremel router bases are pretty weak.
I have tried several time (just experimenting) using one for inlay work but they are pretty slopppy.
I decided to make one for the process.

Steve Senseney
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by Steve Senseney »

Check the archives for building a base for a dremel.

I made one following the recommendations and it works quite nicely.

David King
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by David King »

Let's just say that the Dremel is pretty weak for anything besides automotive work like cutting off rusted mufflers. If I ever find one that runs true I'll be thrilled.
I tried the larger Proxxon but it's too slow so I ended up with an air pencil grinder that spins at 60,000 rpm. I bought and returned 3 of them to HF until I found one that's good.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by Peter Wilcox »

David King wrote:I tried the larger Proxxon but it's too slow so I ended up with an air pencil grinder that spins at 60,000 rpm. I bought and returned 3 of them to HF until I found one that's good.
Did you make an adjustable jig or base to hold it vertically, or does it fit into one of the commercial bases?
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Alexander Higgins
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by Alexander Higgins »

Wouldn't I radius the board after the inlays are glued in so they get sounded down to a radius matching the fingerboard?

David King
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by David King »

Peter, I made custom bases for all of them. For the Proxxon someone had given me a little focussing mechanism salvaged from something photographic. It looks a lot cooler than it works. A micrometer adjustment would have been more useful probably albeit slower to adjust.
Attachments
proxxon-top.jpg
proxxonside.jpg

Chris Richards
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by Chris Richards »

Regarding sanding the fretboard to a radius after fitting the inlays... If you're doing it by hand it's going to take a long time and a lot of effort. I prefer to cut the recesses then plane the board to the approximate radius, sand it near enough, then glue-in the inlays, file them to the radius and then finally sand the whole lot to a finish.....

Gordon Bellerose
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Re: Fretboard Inlays

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

[quote="David King"]Let's just say that the Dremel is pretty weak for anything besides automotive work like cutting off rusted mufflers. If I ever find one that runs true I'll be thrilled.
quote]

I have had good success with my Dremel. It is a small machine, and can only be used for small jobs, but I use mine for inlay with the aluminum base from stewmac. The base is fiddly, but works well once you get it adjusted properly.

I also use the Dremel for routing acoustic bridge saddle slots.
I use it for dressing frets also with the flexible extension.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!

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