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Abalone inlays - before or after radius with router jig?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by thecableguy, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

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    Hey guys and gals. I'm about to start on a fretboard that's going to have abalone fret markers. I'll be doing the radius with my router jig. I was thinking it might be a good idea to install the dots after radiusing and then sand them flush. I'm worried the router bit might shatter the abalone. What do you all (y'all?) think?
     
  2. Kennedycaster

    Kennedycaster Tele-Afflicted

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    If they're just dots, I install them before I radius with the router jig. If they're custom or unique inlays, I install them after I radius & sand them down. The larger they are, the higher the risk.

    Bob
     
  3. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

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    They take so little time and effort to sand, I'd say why take the extra risk with the router?
     
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Drill the hole less than the thickness of the dot so it sticks up proud a bit when glued. I install mine after radiusing and hit them with a file first to get the curve before sanding. Control the dust and wear a dust mask with real shell, as it is a hazardous material to inhale.
     
  5. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks guys, I think I'll install and sand them after the radius. Good idea with the file Marty.
     
  6. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^ Yep. That's exactly how I do my inlays as well
     
  7. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    I've done it both ways. Good advice to be careful with larger inlays or if you have double dots i.e. at the twelfth fret. They rout nicely and I much prefer to install them first. On the other hand, I routed through them at the 12th fret the first time I did it this way. I now set the dots in slightly below the surface of the board, and then rout. It works great. I hate sanding them.
     
  8. mlp-mx6

    mlp-mx6 Tele-Holic

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    To some extent every guitar-making-related dust is hazardous to put in your lungs. Therefore ALWAYS WEAR A MASK! ALWAYS. WHEN YOU THINK YOU DON'T NEED ONE *THIS TIME* PUT IT ON ANYWAY. ALWAYS WEAR A MASK. ALWAYS.

    Thank you for your cooperation. ;)
     
  9. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    if the back of the neck is still square, you've got no issues with setting the neck on the drill press table with a careful depth stop for drilling the dots, and doing this after it's been radiused is no big deal.

    If it's a more involved inlay (initials at the 12th fret are as far as I've gotten and I did it with a pre-readiused neck) then you have an issue of the router base (or foredom handpiece mini router base) rocking on the radiused surface as you trace out your inlay, and then you're not exactly getting a flat-based cavity for the inlay (small inlays in my case, the glue made up the difference). But if it were a wide inlay I'd be tempted to do the inlay before radiusing the fretboard.

    I think the issue here is has anybody had failure with a router radiusing jig over pearl inlays? Seems like Cap'n Crunch has been successful without chipping the inlays, but everyone else hasn't taken the risk.
     
  10. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    I've routed Abalone and MOP dots. I've not had any chip out. Like I said, the only problem I've had is routing through them. If the inlay is at the center of the neck, it's not a problem because you're taking almost nothing off at the center. If your inlay is further out toward the edge of the neck, you are taking a fair amount off with a 12" radius, and even more with a tighter radius. I've solved that problem at the 12th fret by setting the dots deeper so that I don't rout them away. I suppose you could have chip out problems with the router, but I've never experienced it.
     
  11. dschwartz

    dschwartz TDPRI Member

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    I hear you. I'm starting to get sensitized by rauli, a pretty harmless wood. I get runny nose now
     
  12. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of good info here. I'm definitely aware of the dust issue with any kind of shell. No dust is good to breathe.
     
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