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Router required for inlay work

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Router required for inlay work

Postby Dynamic Mike » Fri Nov 29, 2019 1:48 am

Inspired by this Harvey Leach video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnWxBf12V8Y I quite fancy having a go at some intricate inlay work. I've found suppliers for the basic materials (including MOP offcuts etc. for practicing) & also the necessary fine router bits. I have a jewellery coping saw & suitable blades, so I'm pretty much ready to start.

However, the only router I have is a half inch chuck Makita which weighs a ton & kicks like a mule. Can anyone recommend a small router like the one that appears around 16 mins into the video. Price isn't really an issue as it's pretty much all I need to purchase to get started.

Any recommendations greatly appreciated.
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Re: Router required for inlay work

Postby Wonks » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:49 am

A lot of the people I know who've done inlay work on their guitars have used a Dremel with a StewMac router base (as it's much better than the Dremel option). You should be able to find the router bases in the UK, rather than import from the US. I did.

You'll still need some small, sharp chisels to finesse angled corners.
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Re: Router required for inlay work

Postby Wonks » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:13 am

e.g. https://tonetechluthiersupplies.co.uk/p ... -base.html

Currently £50ish at StewMac without shipping and VAT+import duties + PO charge, so likely to be a cheaper in the UK.

You can get an 'air pump' that's supposed to blow residue away, but they are just aquarium pumps and are useless at doing this (a good idea that fails to work unless you use much higher air pressure). Better to tape a vacuum cleaner nozzle down near the workpiece.
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Re: Router required for inlay work

Postby zenguitar » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:35 pm

The Dremel with the StewMac style router base is ideal.

And the advice to have a vacuum hose close when cutting is excellent. As the dust from cutting pearl can be an irritant it is a good idea to use the vacuum then as well. Of course, that risks sucking up the pieces you are working on, so get a piece of fine mesh (like a net curtain) and fix it over the nozzle with a rubber band.

I use epoxy to glue, and add black dye with a little brown added when inlaying into ebony.

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Re: Router required for inlay work

Postby Dynamic Mike » Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:22 pm

Thanks guys, my dad was a joiner who repaired antique wooden clocks and the like for a hobby so my tool collection far exceeds my talent! He also made sure I knew how to look after them, so I can sharpen a chisel, set a saw etc.

However I wasn't sure a dremel had the required speed or torque so now I can safely order one over the weekend. I've got a pump salvaged from a vacuum former which should take care of the dust problem.
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Re: Router required for inlay work

Postby wireman » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:28 pm

Very interested in this thread since I didn't realise a Dremel could be used for inlay work. However just wondering if you can get TCT 1/8" router bits?
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Re: Router required for inlay work

Postby Wonks » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:16 pm

Dremel specific router bits, which have a 3.2mm diameter shank IIRC. So not meant for big routs, but fine for small jobs and things like routing edges for binding.
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Re: Router required for inlay work

Postby zenguitar » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:22 pm

These are the kind of bits I use for finer inlay...
https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/T ... _Bits.html

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