Making fretboard inlay dots

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Paul Montgomery
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:09 pm

Making fretboard inlay dots

Post by Paul Montgomery »

I have been in the shop playing with different ideas on making fretboard inlay dots, both materials and tools.

Here's a short video I made, although I'm sure that this group has some great ideas as well to share.

https://youtu.be/WfGWtFhsUKA

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Karl Wicklund
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:42 am
Location: NW Wisconsin
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Re: Making fretboard inlay dots

Post by Karl Wicklund »

I like watching other people explore simple ideas almost as much as I like doing it myself. Thanks!
Kaptain Karl

Carl Dickinson
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:38 pm
Location: Forest Ranch, California

Re: Making fretboard inlay dots

Post by Carl Dickinson »

I recently tried this with plug cutters and found if I used the slowest speed on the drill press it worked best. Might not melt the plastic. I was using 1/8" veneer.

Paul Montgomery
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:09 pm

Re: Making fretboard inlay dots

Post by Paul Montgomery »

Having started this, there are some other ideas I'd like to explore but, alas. I could also clean my messy shop. Hmmm...

Thanks all.

Clay Schaeffer
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Making fretboard inlay dots

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Nice video !
For small dots I've used fuller countersinks with the drill bit retracted - kind of like a mini plug cutter. Some people have mentioned gluing the inlay material to the end of a drill bit and sanding it flush to make it round.
Always nice to have more than one way to skin a cat.

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Dick Hutchings
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:39 am

Re: Making fretboard inlay dots

Post by Dick Hutchings »

I don't think I would try any of that with shell. Got me thinking about turning wooden ones on the lathe and slicing them off. Use some nice figured wood.
Dick Hutchings

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Peter Wilcox
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: Making fretboard inlay dots

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Thanks for the video, Paul - food for thought.

I chuck a piece of wood about 3/8" square by 6 or 8" long into my hand held drill and hold it against a disc sander, both turning, making a 1/4" diameter rod (or about 3/32" for side dots). I make it for a tight fit into the dot holes, glue it in, then cut it off just proud of the fretboard, and move to the next hole. But I pretty much don't put dots in the top any more, just the side, (unless it's a lap held guitar), since a player can't see the top ones while playing. I've also used contrasting color plastic wood to fill the holes, then sand them down (I think Fender did this at some point.)
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

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