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Guitar Making and Repair/rosewood fretboard repair


fretboard fix
fretboard fix  

I'm trying to repair a rosewood fretboard, and I've got some similar-in-color rosewood dust, that actually looks a little bit lighter than the neck. I packed the dust into the chip and then placed a drop of super-glue on top. Once the super-glue dries, the resulting repair just looks like an ugly black spot and it does not blend nicely into the wood. Even after sanding level, it still retained it's darker qualities. Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong here?



It's a tough one!  As you discovered, wood dust almost always becomes permanently darker when saturated.  Some options are: 1) use much lighter dust that will match the fingerboard when cured (but this is impossible to judge without doing experiments on a piece of matching scrap wood); 2) from a piece of wood with closely matching color and grain, cut a small piece and use it as a plug (it's easiest to fit a round piece into a small drilled hole); 3) instead of wood, use an epoxy resin to which has been added a blend of special resin dyes to match the wood -- if the rosewood is varicolored, fill the little hole with 2 or 3 tiny blobs of similarly dyed epoxy which will break up the patch into several colors and make its outline harder to see; at a place which sells furniture repair/refinishing supplies, find some shellac stick repair material which matches the rosewood, melt it into the cavity, and sand flush.

Best of luck!

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Duke of Pearl


Anything to do with inlay work, especially in regards to natural marine shell materials (Mother of pearl or MOP and abalone, etc.), but also ivories and tortoiseshell.


Co-owner of The House of Banjos, Denver, CO (1963-1964); owner of Erika Banjos, Van Nuys, CA. (1965-1989). First began processing shell for inlay in 1968, but from 1981-1985 got out of the industry to become a professional gold miner (suction dredging). In 1989 the Gibson Guitar Co., Montana Division bought the stored shell business, and after I spent a month at their factory setting it up and training workers it operated as their Erika Division until 1991, when they decided to close it. This allowed me to get back into the industry, and from 1992 until the present I have been supplying shell as Duke of Pearl, with 4 shops in Seoul, South Korea and a small factory in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 1998 the first of 3 U.S. patents were awarded to myself and Larry Sifel (now deceased founder of Pearlworks, in Mechanicsville, MD) as co-patentees of the laminated shell sheet material known as ABALAM® (or ABLAM). Am also a specialist dealing in mother of pearl antiques and collectibles, with an internet shop, Chainsaw Chuck, on the Ruby Lane website.

Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (ASIA); Guild of American Luthiers (GAL); National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM); Northern California Association of Luthiers (NCAL).

American Lutherie (ASIA quarterly journal); Guitarmaker (ASIA quarterly journal); "A Guitarmaker's Canvas", Grit Laskin/Backbeat Books (wrote "The Colorful History of Inlay" chapter); technical threads on many online instrument forums.

High school and 2 years of Junior college.

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INSTUMENTS: Collings, Kevin Enoch Banjos, Fender, Gibson, Goodall, Renee Karnes Banjos, Michael Keller, Larrivee, Martin, National Resophonic, James Olson, Ome Banjos, Ovation, PRS (Paul Reed Smith), Kevin Ryan, Santa Cruz, Stelling Banjos, Taylor, and many others. INLAYISTS: Paul Bordeaux, Steve Carlson (NC Solutions), Tom Ellis (Precision Pearl), Bryan England (Custom Inlay), Ren Ferguson, Grit Laskin, Craig Lavin, Harvey Leach, David Nichols, Pearlworks, Larry Robinson, Jimmi Wingert, and many others.

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