Friday, September 5, 2014

Custom Inlay for an Upright Bass Tailpiece

 The owner always wanted an ebony tailpiece to match the fingerboard, and decided to have it custom inlayed while she was at it.

From THIS:


Here's how I did it: I created the design to fit the shape of the piece and to represent a tree with roots which were symbolic to the owner. I didn't want to make it a realistic tree, just to suggest it and create an overlapping, interwoven design. Once the design was complete I printed it out, cut out all the pieces and glued them to the Abalone shell and reconstituted stone pieces

I hand cut each piece using a jeweler's saw and glued them to a piece of black paper using thinned white glue to keep them in place.

I also cut the printed design out of a piece of white paper and glued it to the tailpiece to give me a very clear edge to rout to.

After routing out the channel with a Dremel, I used water to loosen the glue and remove the cut pieces from the black paper.

Then I fit each piece into place.

Since I am inlaying thin flat, rigid pieces into a curved form, I had to cut them at strategic places and bevel the edge, so that when I sanded the curve, the inlays would be down in the channel.

The final piece was my "F" script logo, also hand cut.

After filling, sanding and polishing, it looks like this:

As a final touch, she wanted a moon and stars on the bottom of the fingerboard, representing her and her four grandchildren.