#1
Hey guys I need a bit of help with inlaying: I bought a paua shell in NZ with the intentions of doing a body inlay, problem is its a round shell and not a blank like you can get off of Stew-Mac. Does anyone have tips with cutting and sanding the actual shell so that it lies flat in the cavity?
BTW here is an image I found that kinda looks like m shell: fficial&source=og&tbm=isch&tbnid=oUNBg3_O4IN-jM:&imgrefurl=http://thebaldrysgokiwi.blogspot.com/2011/06/martinborough-wairarapa.html&docid=TjGAR94l6db4hM&imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bFD8bG8Xxww/Tf7p0GB2elI/AAAAAAAAAgs/GMpmWJ9L2f8/s1600/paua.jpg&w=450&h=345&ei=xcm1TpiCMNGYiAfL3-CCAg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=344&vpy=325&dur=3726&hovh=197&hovw=256&tx=84&ty=158&sig=112885314069326529744&page=1&tbnh=115&tbnw=152&start=0&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:0&biw=1280&bih=620">fficial&source=og&tbm=isch&tbnid=oUNBg3_O4IN-jM:&imgrefurl=http://thebaldrysgokiwi.blogspot.com/2011/06/martinborough-wairarapa.html&docid=TjGAR94l6db4hM&imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bFD8bG8Xxww/Tf7p0GB2elI/AAAAAAAAAgs/GMpmWJ9L2f8/s1600/paua.jpg&w=450&h=345&ei=xcm1TpiCMNGYiAfL3-CCAg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=344&vpy=325&dur=3726&hovh=197&hovw=256&tx=84&ty=158&sig=112885314069326529744&page=1&tbnh=115&tbnw=152&start=0&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:0&biw=1280&bih=620">http://www.google.com.hk/imgres?q=paua+shell&um=1&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&sa=N&rls=org.mozilla:en-USfficial&source=og&tbm=isch&tbnid=oUNBg3_O4IN-jM:&imgrefurl=http://thebaldrysgokiwi.blogspot.com/2011/06/martinborough-wairarapa.html&docid=TjGAR94l6db4hM&imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bFD8bG8Xxww/Tf7p0GB2elI/AAAAAAAAAgs/GMpmWJ9L2f8/s1600/paua.jpg&w=450&h=345&ei=xcm1TpiCMNGYiAfL3-CCAg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=344&vpy=325&dur=3726&hovh=197&hovw=256&tx=84&ty=158&sig=112885314069326529744&page=1&tbnh=115&tbnw=152&start=0&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:0&biw=1280&bih=620
#4
From Inlay.com:

Quote by Sean J. Barry
Several steps are entailed in converting an arched shell to flat pieces for inlay blanks. The first is to mark the shell (on the inside) to take best advantage of the figure and pattern, and to minimize the arch in any particular rough piece (the less arch, the larger and thicker the final blank). The resulting jigsaw puzzle is then bandsawn into arched individual pieces that are lined with mother of pearl on one side and with the shell exterior on the other. The rough exterior surface is then ground off to reveal the underlying mother of pearl. The resulting piece is anywhere from 1mm to 25mm thick (up to 1" for really thick shells at the lip), and it is still arched. chuck erikson, the man who taught me how to do inlay, had two large double-wheel enclosed grinders for flattening the blanks, and they did this job efficiently and well. i expect that other blank suppliers have similar equipment, because it is heavily tedious to flatten blanks against a normal grinding wheel, and the resulting product is very inconsistent. the amount of handwork that goes into planning, marking, bandsawing, and preliminary grinding renders the blanks rather expensive, especially for smaller, more difficult material, such as green abalone


I would take from that that it's going to be a massive ordeal to try to save a few dollars on flat blanks. (Though Paua has a beautiful shell). Nothing to stop you trying though, and I wish you all the best with it.
#5
Well to the first guy I just wanted to say that was a stupid answer, anyway I would have ordered online but Stew-Mac cant ship any of the blanks out of the us which would have been a problem. Anyway the acrylic idea sound quite cool! I may even have them kinded protruding from the body: kinda like little bumbs?
#6
Quote by zubin.isaac
Well to the first guy I just wanted to say that was a stupid answer, anyway I would have ordered online but Stew-Mac cant ship any of the blanks out of the us which would have been a problem. Anyway the acrylic idea sound quite cool! I may even have them kinded protruding from the body: kinda like little bumbs?



As you can see from Boysie8's post, there is a whole lot of unnecessary work involved in working with shell in its original state when you can quite easily obtain blanks ready to shape and drop into the guitar (including high quality paua blanks)... which I think justifies my answer.

FYI, there are plenty of individuals and business selling shell blanks on eBay, for example, and a lot closer to you. Stewmac, although they do sell a whole range of useful and specialist supplies, aren't the only place to buy things like this... Infact, the reason their products are so expensive is because they know that a lot of new and hobby builders don't always know where to go for things like this... the term "exploitation" springs to mind.

Please note that my previous reply wasn't meant to be rude or anything, just to the point. As one builder to another, I was simply trying to offer some advice, so my apologies if you thought it was a "stupid" answer.
Last edited by KempGuitars at Nov 6, 2011,
#8
I think the acrlyic idea sounds pretty sweet! If you do that make sure you post pics lol
“More metal than your gran’s left hip.” - Paul Allender on his PRS signature guitar