Guitar Making Tip No. 833


Guitar Making Tip Number 833 is about making square holes. A round bit cannot make a square hole, so you need to think about that in your inlay design. There are a few ways to make it work, and here they are.

Making Cavities for Inlays

guitar making tip number 833The most common time that you will be making a hole for something else to fit inside is when you are doing inlay work. It’s important when making your design, that you consider the tools you will use.

A tool with a spinning bit cannot make a sharp corner. If you are using a Dremel tool, even with a very fine bit, all of your corners on your inlay cavity are going to be rounded.

If you make a plan around that fact, then it will be no problem. However, if you need to have really sharp corners in your design, there is something you can do as well.

It’s all about the planing stages when it comes to making a great looking inlay. You need to think about the tools you are going to use, and design your inlay accordingly. Here is what you can do to get a great looking inlay, no matter the sharpness of the corners…

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Modify Your Design to Round the Corners

One way to overcome the sharp corners issue is to round the corners in the design. This does not mean that they can’t still be sharper than other areas of the design. It only means the corners can’t be sharp.

The limiting factor for the sharpness of the corners will be the diameter of bit that you have to work with. If you have a really fine bit, then you will not have to round your corners and points very much. A bigger bit will mean a more graceful rounding is needed.

Modify your design, and then you can accomplish the entire thing on the Dremel or the router without switching tools. The design will still look great as long as you cut it in well, and you won’t have to worry about corners at all.

Use a Chisel to Cut the Corners

Another way around the issue is to use a chisel. After you cut out the majority of the middle sections with the Dremel, come back with the chisel and sharpen the corners. This is a simple process, and only requires one more tool.

Identify the corners that need additional work, and begin the process. Select a very sharp chisel or hobby knife that can slice through the wood effortlessly. Mark out the areas where the corners need to be created, and simply use the tool to create them.

Work around your design until all corners have been addressed. Check the fit of your inlay pieces as you go. It’s best to fit each of them one at time time and then move to the next fitting with your knife or chisel.

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Guitar Making Tip No. 833 Wrap-Up

Inlays can be beautiful to look at, but difficult to accomplish in some cases. It’s important to understand how the tools that you are using limit your designs. A round spinning bit cannot be used to create a square cavity, so you need to make a choice.

Either modify the design so that the corners and points are slightly rounded to match the bits that you are using, or come back at the cavities later in the process with an edged tool to cut them. Either way, you will save the hassle of trying to fit something square into something round.

If you have any questions about Guitar Making Tip No, 833, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.

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Tip No. 833 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.


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