Gluing Inlay Patterns


After all of your inlays are cut, it is time to glue them onto the fretboard, or the headpiece, if you have chosen to do that.

Arrange you inlays on the surface to be inlaid and make sure one final time that everything has been cut properly and that all the edge are smooth. This will be the final time that you can do this so be very critical of yourself. If you find any pieces that don’t quite fit, now is the time to recut them and make everything perfect.

Label Each Inlay In Proper Order:

Also, at this stage and before you start to inlay the pearl, you would be wise to take each inlay and label it on the back side so you have cronilogical order you can follow. Also, depending on the complexity of the inlay, you should place arrows to indicate the direction to the peghead.

It is very important, as you can imagine to keep the inlays in proper assigned positions to prevent any mix-up during the routing and gluing process.

Use Duco Cement for the Gluing Process:

In order to be able to scribe the inlay accurately on the surface to be inlaid, it is appropriate to glue each piece in place with Duco Cement. I prefer to use the Duco product because it will hold the inlays in place while you are carefully tracing the outline onto the surface.

Also Duco Cement can be very easy disolved with some acetone, without worry that the inlay will crack due to some prying or other coaxing to release the glue.

Use Caution When Using Acetone:

It is very important that when you are working with acetone that you work in a very well-ventilated place. I prefer to do this in my small finishing booth, equipped with an explosion-proof fan and electrical devices. Any spark or flame will cause this product to flash, so be extremely careful when using it.

Also note that Acetone will absorb through your skin very easily, so rubber or latex gloves are as a must for shop safety.

When placing glue on the bottom of the inlay, you should just dab the glue in a few places to that ensure adhesion. If you have very delicate inlays you will want to spread the glue evenly over the bottom surface of the inlay.

Firmly press the inlay into position and hold for a few seconds. When appropriate, remove glue squeeze-out while the glue is still soft.

Set the project aside for at least 24 hours to let the cement harden..

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