Friday, July 28, 2006

Back to work on the headstock inlay

I discovered an awesome setup for cutting mother-of-pearl. I didn't think it was too difficult cutting it by hand, until I tried this. Both of these items are borrowed, but I'll be buying one for myself, no doubt. I think the key to not breaking a piece is to only have as much sticking out from the clamp as you have to. With this, regular cuts, turns and yes filing seem to go much faster and more accurately than by hand. You can get both of these items for a combined price of around $40 at Sears. One is a benchtop vice, listed for $29.99, and the other is a mini bar clamp, I think it's a little over $10.

I forgot to mention, I picked up a set of Xacto brand needle files. These are a must for working with MOP. I learned that almost nobody makes perfect cuts with a jeweler's saw, you have to go back and file the rough edges, smooth the curves, etc. This set was about $18 and well worth the price.

**EDIT: Forget this setup and buy or make a pearl cutting jig like Stew Mac sells. I'm using that now, with a blower to keep the work area clean, and it's 100 times better than this. -Darren Kern, 7/28/06


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