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Inlay finally finished for the second time

Posted by Jonnycake White on Thursday, August 13, 2009

I finally was able to spend more time on my Kirtland banjo inlays, getting them re-engraved after having to sand the fretboard flat after gluing it to the neck.  This time I used more of a wiggle engraving technique when going around tight curves, and I think it turned out better.  By wiggle technique, I mean rocking the graver rapidly back and forth as you push it along the line.  By that means you can advance it with less force than otherwise, and get a deeper channel.

Speaking of engraving inlays, last night I went to our local luthier's group meeting.  One fo the members had finished a very unique 9-string guitar with an elaborate serpentine pearl inlay up high on the fretboard - probably from the 12th fret to the 17th or so.  It had the serpent's or dragon's scales engraved.  I asked him how he had done the small radius curves for the scales, and he said "just the way you showed me."  Except it looked like he did a better job than I could have done.  

Back to my building efforts, as soon as I got the inlays re-engraved, I started to correct another problem.  I had some trouble side-profiling the peghead so that there was a noticeable thinning where it joins the neck - not a good place for thinning in any case,  At first I tried to smooth it out and call it a feature, but I decided to thin the whole headstock down to match, and build it back up again with layers of alternating color veneers.  So yesterday I ran it under a sanding drum chucked in my Shopsmith, taking it down to about 7/16" thick.  Unfortunately I also took down a sizable portion of my left thumbnail in a moment of carelessness.  I built it back up with super glue and tissue paper until it grows back out.

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