How did they do this?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Peterstoneleigh
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How did they do this?

Post by Peterstoneleigh » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:26 pm

How would these mother of pearl inlays be made - saw/knife/file?
What is the black stuff in which they are placed?
As you see I need to make one somehow !
Help appreciated, Peter
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OldPotter
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by OldPotter » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:42 pm

There is a book available from stewmac. I used to have a copy but can't find it now. One reviewer says that they learnt more from Y tube.

Someone I know has had some very neat pieces CNC cut. Might be the cheapest option. Might be difficult to colour match the original.

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Michael.N.
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:49 pm

The pearl pieces themselves would have been cut out with a marquetry fretsaw by folk who specialised in cutting pearl. They were cutting pearl out for all manner of objects, not just musical instruments. In fact instruments probably represented a fraction of their work.
The pieces are set into a black filler, almost certainly some type of animal glue and ebony dust. When I make the filler I add a touch of glycerin to prevent the filler from becoming too brittle.
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Jose Marques
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Jose Marques » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:15 pm

Like Michael said is a filler

It can be done with animal glue or epoxy mixed with ebony or in ancient times the olders used charcoal, in my country lots of resettos for folk instrumens were made like that
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Alan Carruth
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Alan Carruth » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:22 pm

Shell inlay like that used to be fairly common on Classical guitars, but fell out of favor when the more austere Spanish instruments became fashionable, as far as I can tell. The guitar the Flamenca plays in 'Casablanca' has a lot of shell on it. Much of the pearl work on those old instruments was not all that carefully cut, but it certainly was flashy.

To continue where Michael left off, once the shell is set in the mastic it can be leveled off, and the lines engraved. These could be filled in either with more mastic or with engraver's wax. These days a lot of us set shell in either black cyanoacrylate glue or a mix of epoxy and ebony dust. It's more common to do such inlay into ebony than anything else. In part it shows up better, but it's also much more difficult to inlay into a light wood and do a neat job. It's hard to find a light colored filler material that won't show on spruce or maple, although the violin maker's lycopodium comes pretty close. Some of the older guitars would cut very sloppy pockets for the inlay, filling in with gobs of mastic, and black is the easiest color to match.

Peterstoneleigh
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Peterstoneleigh » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:55 pm

Thanks all for the information. I guess I had to assume they must be made by hand of course but the intricacy and consistency is amazing.
Peter

simonm
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by simonm » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:00 pm

I was told of makers using pear wood dust dyed black. Charcoal sounds like an interesting and logical option too.

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Michael.N.
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:32 pm

Peterstoneleigh wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:55 pm
Thanks all for the information. I guess I had to assume they must be made by hand of course but the intricacy and consistency is amazing.
Peter
That guitar/rosette looks like it might be from around 1900 or perhaps later. It's quite possible that the pieces were cut on some type of powered fret saw. They had quick methods of producing multiple pieces even in the 18 th century, which is why all that Louis XVI fancy marquetry furniture exists, courtesy of the chevalet.

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vesa
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by vesa » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:23 pm

Romanillos bedded mother of pearl in charcoal/araldite mix in his FE 08 copy.
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Guitar-ded
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Guitar-ded » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:10 pm

In the hope it's of some use there's a guy called 'the Duke of Pearl' (dot com) who's pretty well known and supplies all sorts of inlay stuff.
He's apparently a good source for help and troubleshooting too. He may be worth a look.
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attila57
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by attila57 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:25 pm

Peterstoneleigh wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:26 pm
How would these mother of pearl inlays be made - saw/knife/file?
What is the black stuff in which they are placed?
As you see I need to make one somehow !
Help appreciated, Peter
The black stuff is traditionally black mastic.
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Peterstoneleigh
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Peterstoneleigh » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:59 pm

Belated Thanks guys for your interesting/helpful info. Peter

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Doug Ingram
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Doug Ingram » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:33 pm

A lot of this inlay is actually much simpler to do than it might appear. As has been mentioned, cut the large pieces, glue them into the channel, flood with filler, flatten, engrave details, fill the details.

I use epoxy for filler but I don't use ebony dust. I can't fathom sitting and sanding the ebony to make enough dust to pigment the epoxy enough for a good black. Instead, I use resin pigment which is available in a wide variety of colours. The challenge is to prevent pigment wicking into the grain of light coloured woods. A seal with shellac can work, as does some border rings.. I also find that adding a bit of silica powder to the epoxy helps a lot.

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lagartija
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by lagartija » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:14 pm

Couldn't one use lampblack (aka carbon black) mixed with epoxy? We used to use it in the lab to make absorbers or "black body loads" for our instruments. The powder comes in cans. It is extremely fine so best to use a dust mask when handling it.
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Michael.N.
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Re: How did they do this?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:55 pm

I've used lampblack, with hide glue. It works, it is a fine powder though. I collected a lot of ebony dust from the bandsaw after I had cut up a bass fretboard into bandings. I've mixed the two - lampblack and ebony. Lot's of things work for this.
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