Guitar Making Tip Number 794 is about epoxy based inlay. On a guitar, the inlays can be tough is you are trying for more than dots. Working with epoxy and additives allows you to create a liquid inlay. This is great for a number of reasons, and here is why.
Inlays and Guitar Making
Thankfully, there are alternatives to traditional inlay. With normal inlay, you have to create a cavity that matches an inlay piece. This involves tracing the piece, cutting the cavity, test fitting, and then fine fitting.
You can spend hours getting the pieces to fit well, and then one small mistake with the Dremel and you put a giant gouge in your inlay cavity. It’s rough stuff.
Thankfully, you can take advantage of something that the wood turning community has known about for a long time. This kind of inlay lets you accomplish just about the same look but with far less fuss…
Why Epoxy Inlays Are Awesome
With epoxy inlay, gone are the days of fitting inlay pieces. Since your inlay material is a liquid, it always fits. The only thing you have to get right is the cavity area. If you can cut out a nice looking cavity for the inlay, you will have something beautiful in the end.
Taking out half of the equation by not having to fit the inlay piece actually takes out way more time than half. You are going to skip the fitting process completely, and simply pour the inlay material into the cavity.
Once it’s dry, you can come back and sand it flush to the surface. At that point, you can Dremel again for more inlay work, or simply coat the inlay with the finish of your choice. It’s super easy, and if you can mix epoxy, you can create a liquid inlay.
Epoxy Inlay Options
There are a couple options when it comes to epoxy inlay. The easy route is buying a pre- mixed epoxy inlay, like Inlace. The other option is to buy epoxy and then buy filler ingredients and make your own custom filler from scratch.
The easy way to get a great looking inlay is to use Inlace. If you search online or in a fine woodworking store, they will have a few options. The product is already mixed for you, and all you have to do is add hardener. The drawback is that the color choices are limited.
If you feel a little more adventurous, then you can buy any clear 60 minute two part epoxy, and add your ingredients yourself. The same company (Inlace) sells the nuggets, granules, flakes and more, to make your own secret inlay mixture.
Remember to experiment a little before you commit to a look, and write down the recipe so you can make the same thing twice.
Guitar Making Tip No. 794 Wrap-Up
Inlays are tough, but they are expected on a handmade guitar. If you want a way to make something more interesting without making it too difficult, try epoxy inlay. This is where you create an epoxy mixture and pour it into your inlay cavities.
Pouring the inlay is far easier than fitting tiny pieces. When you pour, the only thing you need to have right for the design to work is the cavity. That’s it. No fitting. No fussing. The liquid takes any shape you pour it into.
If you have any questions on Guitar Making Tip No. 794, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them for you. Happy building.
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Tip No. 794 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.