inlay question

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Daryl Rosenblatt 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #2794

    Roger Schroeder
    Participant

    Hi, Woodworkers,
    I’d like to dress up my next project with some well-placed mother-of-pearl dots. Has anyone had experience with this material? I’m wondering how well the dots sand and if they will survive a jointer. Whatever you can share will be gratefully received.
    Hope all is well with everyone and happy holidays to those who celebrate a new year early.
    Roger Schroeder

  • #2817

    Charlie James
    Participant

    Roger, the dots are not made for a jointer for sure, they are fragile and thin. After you glue them, just a little proud, you can sand them and using progressive sheets of sandpaper can bring them back to a high luster.

  • #2825

    Bill Leonhardt
    Participant

    Roger,

    Daryl and I took a class last fall on inlaying mother-of pearl. I agree with Charlie and I would stay away from the jointer.

    I found that the materials cut easily with my normal inlay tools (fret saw) and, when cemented into a routed-out space, they sanded easily.

    Bill

  • #2826

    Daryl Rosenblatt
    Participant

    I’ve frequently used mother of pearl dots, and you need to pre-polish them. That I do is stick them on the back of double sided tape, and then sand them, starting with 320 grit, and working my way up to about to the uber fine grits of micro mesh. I then glue them into the holes of the surfaces that are already totally planed, sanded and ready for finish. A drop of glue, tweezers to handle them and it works great. THere is no way they can be jointed, not a chance. It’s a very brittle material, and don’t use any power tools or edged tools on them at all.

    I have oiled over them, but they don’t really need a finish. There is no perfect adhesive for it. Epoxy works well, but your project is already sanded. CA can work, especially if your hole is the right depth, because you don’t want any to work it’s way to the surface. But the CA won’t have the same shear strength as epoxy. A drop of DUCO cement works well also. A very small drop into the hole.

  • #2827

    Daryl Rosenblatt
    Participant

    I realize I should have said why to pre finish them. The dots, more than regular sheets, don’t have the size to display the sheen and 3D qualities you want, and you don’t want to micro mesh a regular wood surface. Also, sand a few extras, because some can pop off the tape and Murphy’s Law states (and I can prove) the dots will travel to the one spot on the floor both farthest away from you and onto an spot the exact same color.

  • #2831

    Charlie James
    Participant

    There’s the answer! I learned something as well, thanks.

  • #2834

    Roger Schroeder
    Participant

    Guys,
    Thank you all for the tips and advice. This is where the forum really pays off for me.
    Roger

  • #2837

    Daryl Rosenblatt
    Participant

    Like most inlay techniques, it’s easy once you know the “secret,” which really isn’t all that tough. The most difficult part: Drilling the hole to the exact depth. For that you need some spare dots, some practice wood, a sharp brad point bit and a drill press. It’s almost impossible to do it with a hand drill, because you are drilling to maybe 1/16″ or less, and nobody does just one dot. You want them flush to start with (since you’ve already polished them). The brad point bit also gives you a pilot hole where the excess glue can go.

    I think you can use Titebond II (not III or original) if you wipe down the dots and hole with acetone. Which is way too much trouble, so I went with Duco, which has held up for years. However, once the dot is in, let it cure overnight, because it can still pop out, and that dot will also obey Murphy’s Law.

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