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  1. #1
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    Default Inlay - astounding ACCURACY - how?

    I follow a Japanese inlay guy who uses shell on guitars. His work is beyond belief.

    hotaka_custom_inlay

    There are many others just like him. Its all done by hand. No CNC. No machines. All hand.

    BUT, what I cannot fathom is how he (they) mark the timber to be inlaid into so accurately with their completed object.

    He is an example of an owl. It is shown in various stages of completion. There are more images on the link below. Building the object is not a problem for me, I've nailed this, but once the object is done these guys seem to somehow trace with astounding accuracy onto the underlying material and get it absolutely and utterly gapless.

    I have never even come close. Less than not close.... they manage to get it PPEERRFFEECCTT.

    Anyone know how it is done?


    hotaka_custom_inlay Owl and branch

    hotaka_custom_inlay-73256006_175762466815121_5063494900482567286_n.jpg hotaka_custom_inlay-74335859_104110107664657_7536444325306065453_n.jpg hotaka_custom_inlay-75580718_2498148173639320_8682299400232525719_n.jpg hotaka_custom_inlay-74510279_192276015147080_8648008951690765100_n.jpg hotaka_custom_inlay-76992913_192008631962486_8652865060574714324_n.jpg hotaka_custom_inlay-72789103_2172766336158715_3309670667870027358_n.jpg

    and these snow flakes????? WITCHCRAFT !!!!!

    Just look closely at them, its crazy.

    hotaka_custom_inlay-50289617_2256852867693384_2611909347746017165_n.jpg hotaka_custom_inlay-51325210_645071495923257_4213162614393903015_n.jpg hotaka_custom_inlay-51007607_2554810761258031_3195485272893595626_n.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Default

    Honestly I think it's just excellent hand-eye coordination and patience in tracing the parts with a knife!
    I've had a lot of success with tracing with a sharp knife though I certainly wouldn't put myself in the league of the above!!!!

    It's always great to see others' skills! Sometimes it's hard to imagine how they got to this point but no doubt it's practise practise practise!!

    Also just to add I don't use a powered router for complex shapes - to easy to slip! Knife plus chisels/gouges, and a hand router if it's a large area.

  4. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by woodPixel View Post
    I follow a Japanese inlay guy who uses shell on guitars. His work is beyond belief.



    Anyone know how it is done?


    ...and these snow flakes????? WITCHCRAFT !!!!!


    hotaka_custom_inlay-51007607_2554810761258031_3195485272893595626_n.jpg
    Hhahahaha! - "whitchcraft"
    Perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye with these snow flakes. I'd like to know how this was done too.
    I need to fab a simple inlay after a work piece fell and hit a tech-screw that was poking through the shed wall
    Can anyone suggest a good step by step link?

  5. #4
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    Default

    Hi woodPixel,

    Donít know how these guys do the tiny snowflakes, but to inlay diamond-shaped escutcheons and stars I use this technique.

    Put a dob of superglue on the back of the insert then position it on the background. Once the glue dries, cut around the shape with a brand new scalpel blade (I use Swann & Morton 25A). Then put a scrap of timber against the side of the piece being inlaid and give it a sharp sideways tap with a hammer. Many superglues donít have a lot of shear strength so the inlay piece comes off easily.

    Then clear out most of the inlay pocket with a router plane or (my preference) a Proxxon rotary tool with a micro sized carbide bit all mounted in a MicroFence router base. Stewmac have a cheaper version of the router base for a Dremel. Iíd recommend avoiding Dremelís own router base - I found it nowhere near accurate enough for these small cuts. I finish off with a 3mm chisel, sneaking up on the line and making the final cut (the one on the line) as an undercut i.e. angling the chisel or scalpel so the edge of the inlay pocket slopes very slightly as the depth of cut increases. This way the inlay pieces have less resistance, fit tighter and leave a little room for the glue.

    This is probably nothing like the way the experts do it but it works fine for my purposes.

    Best regards,

    Brian

  6. #5
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    Apr 2014
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    Unhappy

    Found a pic of the Microfence router base and Proxxon.

    iíve added a clear polycarb base for stability and use two hands when cutting - I have a foot control for the Proxxon.




    A95ED55D-4D51-401B-8298-FA2FA77A30B6.jpeg


    Regards,

    Brian

  7. #6
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    I've the stumac and the LMI plunger. Brilliant both of them.

    They complement a Dremel plus a rotary tool I bought off the forum. Again, amazing.

    From Stumac and AliExpress are hyper fine bits.... Concerningly small!

    But these guitar inlay blokes are wizards with dark arts! They get detail I can't even begin to imagine how to achieve...

  8. #7
    Join Date
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    Default

    Could they perhaps reverse the logic.
    Cut hole in timber first.
    Then grind the shell to fit.
    Apologies for unnoticed autocomplete errors.

  9. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by woodPixel View Post

    Anyone know how it is done?
    I guess by working for many hours every day at the craft and having masters who teach them for years. Most Japanese craftsmen become good because of their years and years of dedication to learning.

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