Friday, September 14, 2012

Inlay work

Other than my “N” logo, I rarely get the chance to do any inlay work. John, whose twin-point I’ve just started, is clearly going to pamper his mandolin with various handmade accessories, one of them is this arm-rest made in the USA by Doug Edwards.
You can see that Doug has inlaid it with John’s “family tree”, so I thought it would be a good idea to complement it with a similar head inlay.
I made my shape as a juxtaposition of Doug’s inlay and John’s original artwork.
The design is glued on to a piece of inlay material (in this case green abalone for the tree’s canopy) and the abalone is in turn glued to some thin plywood for support whilst cutting.
A piercing saw is used to cut the shape out and then needle files for the final shaping.

Once the shape is cut out, it needs to be inlaid into the head overlay.
As the inlay is in two parts, it makes sense to get the trunk aligned with the head’s centre line first and then inlay the canopy.
To remove most of the wood I use a dremel mounted in a StewMac base. As the base doesn’t plunge, I drill a small hole to give a start point for the cutter. For the final fitting I use engraving tools sharpened as chisels.


With the trunk fitting, it’s on with the canopy!

And here is the finished inlay....

 And here is the rosette for the same mandolin. It’s been a good week!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Peter Brown said...

Gary, what do you find is the best way to immobilise the piece to be inlaid while you scribe around it?

3:29 PM  
Blogger Gary Nava, Luthier said...

Double-sided tape works a treat ;)

2:44 PM  

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