I am juggling a few projects these days. While I am waiting on hardware for the cabinet, I will jump back on to AJ’s Strat. I had planned to run five rays of maple across the body, but AJ wanted to personalize the guitar a bit more, so I am adding his initials. I felt pretty confident inlaying straight lines, but letters are something new for me. I cut them out on the scroll saw a week or two back. I laid them on the body where I intend for them to be, then I traced them with a fine pointed pencil to get as close as possible.
I intended to cut the letters out with my 1/16″ straight bit, but it decided to quit on me and broke off on the very first cut.
I bumped up to my next smallest bit, 1/8″. I took my time and followed along inside the lines of the letter. The letters were cut thinner than 1/8″ in some places, but I don’t think the gaps will be too noticeable.
With the first letter cut, I did a dry-fit.
Normally, when you inlay wood, you don’t go too deep. I have to sculpt curves into the body so I sunk the letters in 3/8″ so that if I needed to cut down an edge near a letter or a ray, there would still be maple showing.
I don’t know why, but after the first letter, I decided to cut in the rays next. This was accomplished by clamping a straight edge parallel to my ray location. Then I just needed to run the router along the straight edge. I decided to shoot the ray 1/2″ past the edge of the guitar body so I wouldn’t damage the groove while removing the router.
With the rays done, I finished cutting out the letters. The “B” had some thinner parts so it will definitely have some small gaps.
I decided to use my 2-part epoxy on the letters. Since I am finishing this with a clear coat, when finished, the clear epoxy should fill the gaps without affecting the look of the finish.
My applicator needed to be thin but stiff so I snagged an old piece of wire clothes line and shaved off the plastic. It worked well, I was able to spread the epoxy evenly.
I pressed the letters into the epoxy and set them firmly in place with a hammer.
The rays were easy to make tight, so I switched over to wood glue to hold them in. The epoxy sets in five minutes. The glue is easier to work with. I cut off the epoxy coated end of my applicator and used the new, plastic coated, end to apply the glue.
The rays were set in place with a hammer as well. The squeeze-out was only at the ends so it won’t affect the finish. I made sure the rays would end under the cover plate for the pick-ups so it wouldn’t look weird.
With everything drying, I will give it a day or two then figure out how to plane or sand down the excess maple, now sticking up out of the guitar body…