The No BS Inlay Thread

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pinefd, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. decoy205

    decoy205 Senior Member

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    Those zamms look very good. It's nic to see an affordable option that actually look pretty close. Great job frank.
     
  2. SG Lou

    SG Lou Senior Member

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    It's great that guys take the time out to make post's like these for us that have no clue..............

    Thanks Frank !
    I'll be awaiting the results on the measurements !

    ..Lou
     
  3. Sgt.Pepper

    Sgt.Pepper V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Goo Cart,
    although in the thread on top carve, you said my opinion was meaningless to you, I will attempt to answer your question. I know it's good information so it's up to you if you're interested. The original 50's inlays were 0.040" to start with and curved over the fingerboard, glued in with lacquer. This minimized the working of this flammable material.Many are as thin as 0.7mm so your material will be fine. It is nice to warm them with the heat of a lightbulb before clamping them in so they don't split.
    Over the years, I have removed and measured many hundreds of 50's inlays and have found very little consistency in the transparency, pattern or size. There is a myth that Gibson bought a huge block of inlay material from which all the 50's inlays were cut. The truth is that they bought the material from a broker which was in Chicago (IIRC) who imported it from Italy, and it was delivered in sheets. Each batch seems to vary and it is noticeable that the pattern changes through the years for this reason. The original inlay recesses were cut with a 1/8" cutter and squared up with either a knife or small chisel.
    It always amazes me how scrappy the inlaying of the original fingerboards was with the inlays often visibly off centre and crooked showing that the guide used to route the board was not fixed and most probably positioned by eye!

    By the way, your top carve looks really good now (and a bit different to the first one) on the guitar you're making.
     
  4. Greco

    Greco Senior Member

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    Here's an old comparison shot I did a while ago. Buzz, HM, Buzz, HM. All Historic cut. Table by IKEA! :(

    Buzz's were sold months ago (coz I needed the cash) and the first set of HM's are currently in my R8. I have since had two more sets of HMs in vintage cut. Might get around to snapping some pics if I get the time.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. bfcg

    bfcg Senior Member

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    Thanks for that tidbit. I know that the originals were not put in perfectly and that over the years the vintage ones have shrunk a little, but when I do customers guitars I always have to worry that the replica that they want to finish has to have perfect inlays. I have had a few customers that specifically asked for the inlays not to be perfect.

    Do you know anything about the fish glue? I read that they also used that on the fingerboards. I might have read it in a singlecut59 post.

    And to respond to the bending without cracking, I have had several sets of Zamms that were warped. I just dropped them in hot water for a few minutes as I do with most of the inlays I use and then placed them between a male and a female radius block with a clamp for a few minutes and got them right where I wanted them.
    Hot water is a lot more forgiving than a heat gun.(learned the hard way)
     
    Satellitedog likes this.
  6. George "M"

    George "M" Senior Member

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  7. The Thruth

    The Thruth wizzard MLP Sponsor

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    Hey Frank, give us more pictures of your travel guitar :thumb:
     
  8. Sgt.Pepper

    Sgt.Pepper V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Hot water is a great idea!
    The fish glue used by Gibson wasn't top quality stuff as was used to glue on piano keys was actually a cheap liquid glue which was a mixture of fish glue, hide glue, and chemicals to keep it fresh and liquid. It replaced shellac in the 50's at Gibson to glue the frets in. It would seem that the whole fingerboard got some of this glue since you also find it in gaps on the sides of the inlays.
     
  9. Greco

    Greco Senior Member

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    So was fish glue used on the inlays too or another glue with some fish glue in the gaps?
     
  10. Fletch

    Fletch V.I.P. Member

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    I could be wrong, but I believe the whole fretboard was simply brushed with a layer of fish glue and then fretted. Remember they probably worked pretty fast so it seems feasible in a factory/production environment.

    fletch
     
  11. pinefd

    pinefd V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks for the great info guys! Boy, Sgt.Pepper, you really know your vintage facts...which is something I know very little about.


    OK, if you insist (see below)! Sorry I don't have any recent pics of it, but I have it all torn apart right now so I can wire it up (what a pain!) BTW, you can also read more about it here: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthiers-corner/38515-my-small-scale-build-update.html

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Frank
     
  12. rockappalla

    rockappalla Senior Member

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    I have a stupid question...can you sand cellulose inlays?
     
  13. pinefd

    pinefd V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Not stupid at all! And yes, they can be sanded quite easily.


    Frank
     
  14. rockappalla

    rockappalla Senior Member

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    Thank you:thumb:
     
  15. GooCart

    GooCart V.I.P. Member

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    Sorry for a small hijacking here Frank.
    Sgt. Pepper, I'm very sorry if my post in the Justin thread offended you. That was tactless and rude by me, so was also my silly post in my build thread.
    I thank you for the helpful information about the celluloid thickness and also for the comments regarding my build. I'm really looking forward to test my old sheet.
     
  16. Greco

    Greco Senior Member

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    It's actually one of the nicer things to sand. Smells like menthol.
     
  17. shtdaprdtr

    shtdaprdtr Senior Member

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    about the makeup of the old inlays...I heard that early inlays were made from Herring scales?
    probably in the early goldtops?
     
  18. Kølabrennern

    Kølabrennern Senior Member

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    Allright guys, you gotta help me combine 3 Zamm sets into one perfect set for my Classic. I don't think I have the guts to replace them myself, but I'd like to have the selection done anyway. Some of them are a little warped but I'll follow bfcg's advice and put them in hot water before shaping them back to a normal state.

    Set 1. This one I have loosely selected as the best out of the 3 already and will be the "base" to put single inlays from the two other sets into.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Set 2.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Set 3. My least favourite ones are here.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now just come with suggestions as to which ones you'd use. :)
     
  19. The Thruth

    The Thruth wizzard MLP Sponsor

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    inlay 1 - set 3 (1)
    inlay 2 - set 3 (2)
    inlay 3 - set 1 (4)
    inlay 4 - set 3 (3)
    inlay 5 - set 1 (5)
    inlay 6 - set 1 (6)
    inlay 7 - set 2 (7)
    inlay 8 - set 2 (8)
    inlay 9 - set 2 (9)

    quick picking :thumb:
     
  20. Ole'Lefty

    Ole'Lefty Premium Member

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    Is there any possibility that someone will share the changes necessary for the available trap options to replicate those eras -early -Mid 50's; 58-9-60? I would be ever grateful. I believe quite a few others would learn something valuable as well. Thank you, OldLefty
     

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