Step 2: Create a Design

Before you even pick up a saw, you need to make a pattern.
Create a design that is made up of separate, individual pieces.(think stained glass window)Do not leave any open spaces, or any stray lines.

After you've decided on a final design, make a lot of copies. Next you will cut out your pattern. You will cut around the outside of each separate piece, wich will make adjacent pieces of the pattern copy unusable. This is why multipul copies are required. Do not cut through the center of the line.*The main idea is, to have a clear line to follow when sawing through it later.

Now, glue all of the individual pieces to the chosen material. Try to plan ahead of time what colors/materials you want each piece to be.
<p>Great tute! </p><p>I'm considering an inlay over using a sticker on a guitar I am restoring ATM .</p><p>I know the inlay will look better but it means buying all of the tools.</p><p>Mmmm, decisions, decisions...</p>
<p>Great tute! </p><p>I'm considering an inlay over using a sticker on a guitar I am restoring ATM .</p><p>I know the inlay will look better but it means buying all of the tools.</p><p>Mmmm, decisions, decisions...</p>
<p>I cannot even imagine being able to do something like this. The inlays that you have pictured here are quite simply gorgeous! I am envious of your talent!</p>
<p>Wow. Beautiful work. Thanks so much for putting this together. I'm going to try my hand at this in the next few days.</p><p>I had a question though - how did you get that 3D effect on the design in the first picture? Forgive me if I misinterpret it, but I'm talking about the design on the headstock that looks like a tsunami wave. How did you make those black accent ripples? Did you simply draw on the material with pen, or is it something different?</p>
<p>Thanks the piece is very informative</p>
Those are beautiful!
<p>thank you so much for this tutorial. I can't wait to try inlaying on some wood pieces. I am going to try and cheat a bit though, and use my CNC router to make the pieces to insert as well as make the routered out bit into which to put the inlay.</p><p>I was thinking of trying this with brass. Have you ever used metal and if so, do you use a file to smooth it off? Thanks</p>
<p>I made it sort of. I did some stone inlay in a ring I made. The ring was pvc and the stone was just a piece of gravel from my driveway, but it turned out great I think. Please tell me what you think. I will be making an instructable on how I did it also. </p><p>Thanks for the inspiring instructable. I absolutely love how your inlays shine. How do you polish it?</p>
<p>Great writeup on inlay techniques! Thanks for taking the time to do this, I've been wanting to try this technique to embellish some of my furniture projects for a while.</p>
hey Jimmi, <br>we supply the premium inlay material lie white mother of pearl blanks, gold mother of pearl blanks, black mother of pearl blanks, red abalone, green abalone, paua shell blanks. here is our web site: www.exotichandcraft.com <br>If you want these inlay materials, please contact us to this email address: exotichandcraft@gmail.com <br>Thank you
hi jimmi, thanks for the tutorial, it really inspired me to try and inlay something, if you don't mind, could you tell me where to buy the inlay materials and what model router is best for the job? thanks, Matt
Whoa! That is so cool!
For anyone who missed the site plug at the start of this instructable go to ........&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; http:\\www.wingertguitars.com ........&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt; to see the amazing work his mom creates as one of a kind heirloom museum quality accoustic guitars. There are numerous high quality images of her work with some amazing original one of a kind art inlays of a wide variety of subjects. ........... <br> <br>I would not be surprised to learn that one of these guitars could sell for as much as $20-$25,000 dollars each. Possibly more given the present state of the worlds economy in 2011............... <br> <br>Thanks Jimmi for a very inspiring and informative presentation of the ancient art of inlay. .............Not a shill______Just Impressed!
That is really beautiful!
Do the peices stay glued to the wax paper or do you remove the wax paper before inlaying it into your project (box, gutiar etc)?
This is really nice!<br>
wow, amazing and time consuming I would guess..but the end results are stunning. I don't have the patients for something like that.
is that a black and decker rtx? and if so where did you get that router base and how well did it work with the rtx? anyone?
Jimmi Really nice instructable.....the pics are great and the work outstanding. I would like to be sure about thickness of inlay you are using..... Step 1 says -wood,shell,stone,metal,plastic...etc.(about 0.004 thick) That's about the thickness of a safety razor blade......controlling depth when routing for this thickness must need really careful set up and control during routing. Later on you mention in one of your replies 0.060 thick. I am hoping Step one should say 0.040 not 0.004.....sneeze and it's gone forever! Here in the land of the rising sun these inlay materials are really expensive particularly abalone shell.....The thicker shell is generally more expensive than the thinner.......
Googled &quot;How to inlay&quot;......Checked out your instructable.......Perfect......exactly what I needed........Nice work-woman-ship<br />
Great tips, and inspiring works. Cheers for the instructable!<br />
This really breathtaking work, and the Instructable makes the process seem very doable. The only router I have is very large and not-so-handheld, would a dremel tool have enough power to pull off the downcutting?
Absolutely.&nbsp; I use a dremel and the precision router base found at Stewart-MacDonald (stewmac.com).<br />
Can you show pictures of the jig you are using?&nbsp; &nbsp;Looks like theirs some sort of support or something that the router is one?<br />
where do you get the mother of pearl (and the other stuff)? <br /> <br /> I wanted to do an inlay on one of the knife handles im making.
These are absolutely gorgeous. Just wow!<br />
Beautiful! Love it! I want to do this to my acoustic. Did you take the neck off of yours? That would mean that yours has a bolt-on, right? I don't think mine has a bolt-on neck. (Its a classical). Please help! P.S. 5 stars
just a quick question how many guitars did you jack up during the whole span of doing this?
wow... that's incredible
Excellent instructable! Well written instructions, good pictures, and it's definitely fun to look at the amazing end results.
Love the Instructable. How do you keep the inlay affixed to the base when you set it?
Very beautiful! are you a luthier, or do you just do the inlaying?
These arnt just inlays that you made there master peices .
Highly impressive. Very nicely done!
Thank you for the excellent Instructable! Personally, I've had nothing but trouble with using an X-acto knife to scribe. What I do instead is take a small piece of stainless steel rod (approx. 1/8 in dia.) and insert it into the chuck of a drill. While spinning the rod I hold it at an angle to a belt sander. What you will get is a near perfect and very fine pointed tip that is plenty sharp to scribe with. It will also hold an edge quite well, but when the tip does become blunted just repeat the whole process. That's just me though. Great job and thanks again!
You do incredible work! What size bit are you using to rout the inlay channels?
I'm curious to know how you did the "stained glass window"-like black lines between the pieces ( like in the second picture of the intro). I imagine you use a black strip of something to separate the pieces, surely lot more easy than trying to create a regular spacing between pieces and fill it with ebony dust later.
hi is my first time trying these. do you think shell tiles for walls have the same use as the shell inlays you use? by the way love the job.
It is impressive that the dust matches exactly with the wood you used. When I do things like this I usually use the sawdust that I carved out mixed with epoxy. I love the way you did this. You are awesome.
this is awesome.. i'm officially inspired
how did you remove the frets?
well you can pry them out they are held in with glue
Professional repair shops steam the frets with something like an espresso wand, which loosens the glue.
i had one fall out of my old telecaster
when looking for a jewellers saw I can only find 1/0 to 6/0 size blades with no mention of 000, are any of these sizes suitable? Thanks
Your talent is quite remarkable as I myself do this type of inlay work mainly into bone and such. E-mail:- rb_52@pivit.net.au <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5673697">dragonrising</a><br/>
holy **** that ROCKS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!<br/>i play guitar and have seen good inlay, but this puts all of them to shame!!!<br/>nice work!!!!!!!!!!!!<br/>

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an inlay artist. I work with a number of custom guitar builders to create custom shell or wood designs for guitar. (Mostly for ... More »
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