celluloid inlay material

Roxy13

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i generally get my stuff from stew mac since i don't build much and it's convenient. i've never bought their celluloids, but have used their mother of pearl stuff. ive only used one set of cell, and the customer provided them and can't remember where he got them. are you interested in pearl or celluloid
Both actually. If you did say a '59 replica you would want to use celluloid, correct?
 

fatdaddypreacher

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look for junker old accordions. The Italian ones with the white pearloid plastic are perfect.
being italian, i can tell you i have thought of the one we had in our house when i was a kid. i was always enamored by the pearl keys and other trim on it. that was the only endearing thing about it. that's a good idea
 

fatdaddypreacher

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Both actually. If you did say a '59 replica you would want to use celluloid, correct?
well it seems as they both are readily available, but once you jump off into vintage correctness, yes, i believe they were always cell, but some are more accurate in size, color and pattern than others. i'll try to see where my customer got his, but i think they were cut from material that the original formula was built on.
 

ARandall

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Its a bigger rabbithole if you go down the vintage road......do you go the slightly shrunken size that vintage now is.Then you have the material and the right sort of pattern the 'swirl' has. Then you get to the shape and the flare of the sides.
I've gone for Dave Johnson inlays when I go for vintage accurate.....but there may be others out there too.
 

Oranjeaap

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Good luck, keep us posted.
Test a really tine piece first, so if it set's on fire you're not ruining a large piece or damage the machine.
 

voices

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if you want to see how fast Celluloid burns, get yourself one of those old fashioned tortoise shell Fender picks and light the edge of it.

Please stay safe OP and have a fire extinguisher close- just in case!
 

fatdaddypreacher

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and also. has anyone used the celluloids from stew mac and be willing to render an opinion. mostly curious about color and pattern as compared to what they 'should' look like. not looking for vintage, just want a good representation of pearl. thanks
 

nuance97

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This stuff is available on EBay currently. It’s not vintage accurate, but it could look cool
320596CA-E412-4FE8-97A6-D7720EE9C477.jpeg


And there’s these from Philadelphia Luthier. They look okay too...better than the above to me
031D682E-0D92-433D-888F-E7270CD69893.jpeg
 

nuance97

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The StewMac pearloid inlays are hideous to me
 

fatdaddypreacher

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thanks for the response. i saw the stuff from philadelphia in a search and they look pretty good in the pic. for the price, i'll probably get some from a couple of sources and see what they look like in the flesh. thanks.
 

dspelman

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Both actually. If you did say a '59 replica you would want to use celluloid, correct?
Yup.
I think these are made by chopping up nitrocellulose (celluloid) into chunks and mixing it with acetone until it softens and then molding it into a cake, which is then sliced.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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Brewdude

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I purchased a small sheet from this seller and was happy with it, I am actually not sure I ever put it side by side with my fancy inlays but I thought the pattern looked good...
 

pbekkerh

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If you only need small pieces, look into picks, f.x. Fender Heavy.
I just ordered some for my fretboard dots on my 1947 ukulele restoration.

Some pickguards are also announced as being celluloid.

For white, you can dissolve tabletennis balls and pour it into the engraving or into a mold.
 
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VancoD

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I've purchased "real" cellulose nitrate sheets from a seller on eBay - they were advertised as "50's pattern accurate" and were in an "aged" cream color. I didn't have an instrument to compare them to, and as I intended to cut a full set of inlays from them I wasn't overly concerned over any perceived "accuracy" in pattern or color. Sadly that seller appears to have gone out in a blaze of glory via bad reviews - but the company lives on and can be found at:
...but they don't do eBay sales any longer apparently.

There's a very small handful of people making real cellulose these days - and you will pay dearly for it and shipping will be high because it's haz-mat.

I would think cutting with a laser would be possible, but I'd be sure to have a strong fan or "air clearing hose" pointed right at the cut point. Would be easy to rig up a small fish-tank style air pump with a nozzle right on the cutterhead via a few feet of hose.

Fumes are DEFINITELY toxic.
 

The Migty Zero

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Not only can't the power of the laser be lowered, another cool trick is to cover the sheet of celluloid with painters tape. I've done it on mother of toilet seat material as well as thin birch ply and the tape helps get a clean cut or image without the scorch marks around the image or inlays.
 


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