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Monts 01-24-2021 07:20 AM

Make my Pearl Inlay shine
Laid some pearl diamonds in the fretboard. There are two that I just can't get to shine as pearly white as the others! Any tips on this? I've scraped them but for some reason they are keeping a darker tone than the others, maybe I need to let everything settle and try again later. What do some of you do to make those things shine bright?

BradHall 01-24-2021 08:36 AM

The iridescent layer is very thin. Once you scrape/sand beyond it there is no bringing it back.

HarryQ 01-24-2021 10:40 AM

Pearl can change in appearance as you sand it level with the fretboard. Sometimes it's a pleasant surprise, sometimes not so pleasant. It's just the price we pay for working with natural materials. If it really bothered me, I'd replace those inlays and hope for better luck. The less you have to remove from the inlay to get it level, the better.

Monts 01-24-2021 12:14 PM

Thanks guys, it's strange... I cannot find a reason why these 2 are darker, but they are. I don't really want to sand it anymore so I may just leave it alone. Actually, when the light hits it a certain way they look fine, but in low lighting they look darker.

Shuksan 01-24-2021 01:57 PM

Sometimes the apparent lightness or darkness of a pearl inlay is a result of the amount of reflectiveness you see which can depend on its orientation. It's often the case that an inlay is more reflective from one angle then others. Because of this, when I'm inlaying markers that are symmetrically shaped like diamonds or dots, I first lay them all out in the same configuration they will be in on the fretboard and then rotate them individually until they all show the same reflectiveness from the same viewing angle. I then keep track of their individual orientations and inlay them that way. That helps a lot to get a uniform look.

It's also important to inlay them as close to flush as you can. You want to keep sanding to the minimum possible so as to not change their appearance.

Bill Kraus 01-24-2021 08:27 PM

Drill a hole into the inlay with a small drill bit, heat the inlay with a soldering iron, and with a pin or small brad placed in the hole you just drilled, pull the inlay out and replace it.

John Arnold 01-25-2021 12:54 AM

I generally only see this effect when the inlay is too thin. It is a translucent material.

Monts 01-25-2021 07:03 AM

Thanks guys, so last night I decided to sand them a little more just to see what would happen, and they have disappeared completely! It's like they vanished into thin air! haha!

So yes, I'm going to need to replace them which is probably what I should have done in the first place. Never had this happen before...

Monts 01-25-2021 07:14 AM


Originally Posted by John Arnold (Post 6614405)
I generally only see this effect when the inlay is too thin. It is a translucent material.

I'm guessing these were probably sitting too high to begin with and I sanded off the top layer?

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