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Prince of Pearl™
The Abby of Awabi™
The Sultan of Shell™
The Mother of all Pearl ™
Vicker of Veneer™
Prince of Paua™
The Mother of all Inlay™
The King Tut of Tahitian™
F R E E !!! Postage, Handling and Insurance is included in our posted catalog prices. If the product you order is $12.50, you pay $12.50 to get it to your mailbox and that includes Shipping, Handling and Insurance. We, unlike many internet businesses, are NOT in the product shipping business -- We are in the Inlay Materials Business only.
How much does it cost to ship to Canada?
You can ship up to 10 3"x 5" sheets to Canada for $5.00 (USD) or 5"x 9" sheets for $7.50 (USD)
How well are the inlay sheets packaged for postage to prevent breakage during shipping?
We note that some
breakage does occur during the shell's product and some sheet chipping in
transit if possible. This is normal, and your orders are shipped oversize to
compensate for any damage. Average sheet size is 3 1/8" x 5 1/2, but sold as 3"x
5." However our current "packing" method is the best we have ever had!!! We have
never had a broken sheet (as a result of "Customer Mailing") since this method
was employed. The Packing material we use for shipping/protection
also makes a good
substrate for the MicroVeneer and Micralone and bring overall thickness to .05"
to .057" That is a perfect for use with block-type inlay cavity depth
Yes, all our products are made from all nature shell using the very shell we claim them to be. That is, Paua is made from Paua, Mother-of-Pearl is made from Mother-of-Pearl, etc. We use a patented process so the layers of the nacre can be removed (one at a time) and flatten and reformed back into their natural layers. This process leaves the shell with all its nature beauty and luster that it had originally. Unlike our competitors products, our product is not crushed and reassembled shell nacre, but a product where none of the shells nature beauty is lost by its construction.
On light shells use Semi-Gloss white(s) colors (eggshell, flat white, off-white, etc.). Glossy colors can wash out the pearl effect, so only use a Semi-Gloss or a "flat" white to tint light color shells. We use browns to blues to blacks to "back" our dark shells like Paua and Green Heart Abalone on the mounting side. However, if you want a lighter color you can use a light color (white, beige, etc.) It is generally recommended that you tint the whole (mounting side) at one time. You can very easily "Tint" the lighter color shell by just spraying the desired color on the mounting side of the veneer.
Your site talks about tinting or dying the shell- is it possible to do that on your own- what does that entail?
You can tint the
Product line (ONLY) yourself. We tint our products by adding the desired color
on the backside (glued side) and on dark veneer we shoot a light coating on the
topside with a color tinted clear coat. You can also simulate this effect by
misting the topside with a color and once dried shooting clear coat over that.
This topside coat is not necessary on light color veneers and only a clear coat
is use (if desired) on these lighter veneers topside.
I want to put it on my strat pickup covers. Can it be creased for 45 degree angle? Any ideas for me concerning covering single coil pickup covers or other objects with 90 degree curves?
Our products can't be ceased (at a 45 degree angle) but it can be cut and butted edge to edge at any angle almost seamlessly. So the bottom line is that our shell veneers will work for your application.
How do you polish your inlay sheets?
After you have buff the shell (with 0000 steel wool) you can buff it again using a drumel-type tool (with a buffing wheel) and the correct buffing compound if you want. However the shell will just about look like the pictures once you buff it out with the 0000 Steel wool and no further work is really necessary. Don't use dark (reds, black, etc.) rubbing compounds on light colored shell. On dark shell it doesn't matter (except don’t use white buffing compounds on paua). A final buffing using a carnauba wax will finish the bulk piece off and make it ready for cutting. Buffing should be done before you cut the shell into your inlay pieces. Also note the shell won't take on it's true color until you give the backside a "color." Use a dark color, non-gloss (flat) on dark shell (use black, brown, dark blue, etc. on paua)
Your product pictures have a glossy "look" to them what do you coat with or do you polish it?
You can bring out a very high
gloss two ways. First, is to clear coat (with a spray urethane or lacquer)
however this will yellow over time (we highly recommend (and use)
available at most Hardware or home improvement store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.)
with don't seem to yellow al all. "Yellowing" will not affect dark shells like
paua, but will seriously change the appearance of light colored (white) shells
(MOP, etc.) over a few years.
What product is best to provide a clear finish over the shell?
Any good quality, clear gloss of any paint-type* will work. We are and have used Minwax© Polyurethane Clear Gloss on all our products that calls for a top coats of clear for many years. We chose what urethane to use based on it’s available to the general public (it also helped that Minwax© gave us the best bulk prices on clear coats!). If you use any true Spar Urethane product you should have no problems with layer bonding and the like. Minwax© Helmsman Spar Urethane is sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other large discount retailers of home products nationwide. Clear Coating really make shell come alive, enhancing the over all beauty of the nacre many times over. You can simulate this look by wiping the veneer with a wet cloth (water or oil-oil last longer), that’s the look – “The Wet Look” that you get when you clear coat the topside of the veneer. It really is stunning with the "Wet Look". Clear Coating can be done after shaping without problem. In fact, many artists (re-)clear coat after shaping because you can cut the shell while the clear coat is still semi set. If you do, and set the piece in place immediately the clear coat will finish “self leveling” and bond to the material (wood) around it. The piece will self seal itself into place on its edges because of the way the clear coat self level as it sets up. Beginner's be warned, this take some practice and some patients. Do not mix paint-types *(enamel, acrylics, lacquers and varnishes and other self hardening top coats) in layer on the same veneer, they may not "bond" together properly. Use the same brand/type paints as the brand/type Clear Gloss you use.
How can I wrap "strips" of the veneer around a small radius like a fishing rod or pool cue?
The flexibility of the MicroVeneer® is directly related to the width of the strip use. A full sheet (5.5" wide) has an average flexing radius of 8 inches but the smaller the strip the smaller the radius is that it will wrap around. Most Fishing Rod or Pool Cue builders we deal with are very tight lip with their inlaying secret so we can only tell you what we have learned. Always cut the strips in the direction of the shell's grain or seam direction. If you examine the MicroVeneer® sheets carefully you will see they are made up of a series of strips call "seams" that run the length of 5"x9" sheets and the width of 3"x5" sheets (3"x5" sheets (three of them) are cut from one 5"x9" sheets). Always cut the strips so they run in the same direction as the seams.
Most of the builders are cutting very narrow strips (1/16" to 1/32" or less) to use on the small ends of the rods/cues and wrap them in a very shallow cavity (0.25mm) using a lathe or they are cut by hand. They then wrap these tiny strip edge to edge until it is the width they want. They repeat this process again but on the second pass they wrap the second tiny strip so they are over the (edge to edge) seam of the 1st wrap. They then sand (60 grit to 120 Grit to 300 to "000" steelwool to "0000" steelwool) so the inlay is flush (are almost flush) with the rod/cue blank. We have also heard of builder wrapping wider strips (up to 1/4") at the small end of rods by gluing (using fast set superglue) small sections of the strip at a time and use a piece of Teflon to hold the section in place as it dries (to keep your finger from being glued to the rod). One builder we know wraps his (needed) fingers in Teflon pneumatic/plumbing fitting sealing tape (sealer) available at hardware stores and holds the strip in place as it dries. Either way, applying embellishment strip of shell veneer to a rods is a time consuming process. The guy who uses the Teflon tape says he can now do a one inch wide strip at the end of a normal fresh water fishing rod (smallest radius) in 15 to 20 minutes (including drying and any needed sanding and buffing time) before it is ready to epoxy coat. The bigger ends are done in the same fashion but use you can use wider strips (up to a 1/2" wide each). This process takes some practice and all admitted that they wasted a sheet (3"x5") or two learning on a junk rod, old cue or cheap rod blank before they were able to do them professionally. Another method uses the strips covered with a clear shipping tape on the mounting side that keep the MicroVeneer® from breaking or cracking (or at least keeps the strip in one piece) while the same wrap and glue process is done. We think one of the "Big Guns" is using a similar method but put the tape on the outside, pre-wrap them on a slightly oversize "Jig" and then apply a superglue to the mounting side of the MicroVeneer® and wrap the strip (with tape that is 2 or 3 times wider then the MicroVeneer® strip) and let the tape hold the MicroVeneer® in place. Once dry they remove the tape and do a little clean up (glue and tape) with acetone, sand and buff and it's ready to clear coat epoxy or a Flex Coat.
If you just glue it to an instrument (without an inlay cavity) and finish over it, won't you feel a ridge or bump?
The MicroVeneer®r are as thin as 0.15mm (approx. 4 sheets of 10lbs paper) because of this with multi-costs of "finish", applied correctly you can completely conceal the "ridge" from being able to be feel it. Another trick is to bevel the lead edge (with sandpaper, etc) of the inlay piece so it tapers to almost nothing at the edges. Lastly a very shallow cavity can be acid etched into the receiving surface to overcome any "...ridge or bump... Do to the danger of working with acid we DO NOT recommend using this method!
Yes!!! Our veneers come from the highest quality shell nacre available and once inlayed you can’t tell then from natural shell blanks. Both MicroVeneer® and Micralone® can and are used for even the most detailed of guitar (any) inlay work. Company like Gibson, Fender, Guild, Taylor and Martin (just to name a few) all use MicroVeneer® in their current guitar lines.
The MicroVeneer® is a raw veneer and requires some buffing/polishing before it is inlayed. It is also best to add a appropriate color on the backside (side you glue) of the veneer to give it an even appearance once it is inlayed. Use flat or off whites on light color shells MOP, red, green abalone) and browns to blacks on dark color shells (paua, green heart, black-lip).
What other materials will I need to install them into the wood?
of our products can be adhered to woods with any common 1 or 2 part glues.
Henkel's Loctite SuperGlue is very good with 10 or 15 seconds of "working time"
and for larger area 3M's Super77 is very good. All the normal wood and plastic
glues work very well as do epoxies though we have had problem with curing with
Henkel's fast set (under 1 hour) 2 part Epoxy produce line.
I have heard about "Acid Etching" inlay cavities" in the wood to reduce ridges- Are there other method to inlay your products?
Acid etching is an art-form which we do not directly support because of the danger of working with the acids required to do it. We have heard of artist who have careful painted acid on the wood and then neutralize it with a water flush (blast), followed by drying the wood completely (some wood grain rising may occur from the water). This operation is not recommended by InlayUSA due to its inherent dangers.
If your project requires that all inlays “Feel” absolutely flat (with no ridge between the materials) you may be forced to hand cut cavities in the wood. However, your cavities will be 10 times shallower then standard .05” to.06” shell blanks cavities that must be created using standard shell “blanks.”
You can also laser etch the wood and generally get a pretty good price when the wood is etch and the shell is cut from the same artwork. We currently only recommend that you use local laser cutter where you can often “oversee” the cutting and etching of your project. However, there are some overseas laser cutting/etching companies that are during work for half or less of what is cost with U.S. Cutters. But here you have no control, stuff could just disappear, get broken in transit (either way), wrong artwork/project returned. You see where this is going!
you can have the shell laser cut (to your shape) with a 45 degree bevel. This
allows you to mount the piece so it is glue on the bevel edge and hiding the
ridge by a gradual transition between the two materials. The “ridge” is still
there it just much harder to “feel” because of the slow transition between
materials. Please note the ridge we are talking about with nothing done for a
cavity or bevel is about half as much “ridge” as found on pin-striping on cars.
The veneers thickness varies between .003” to .005” (.05mm to 1mm). This is very
thin and doesn’t really afford for much of a “catch-edge.
I bought an inlay sheet from you guys, can I really affix it to wood without creating a cavity. and if so what kind of glue would you recommend?
Yes! You can glue the MOP inlay sheet directly to wood without creating a cavity. However if you want it to feel absolutely flush to the touch you need to bevel the edge (sand the edge down to an angle) on the piece that you have cut or create a shallow cavity to mount them in. You can also use multi coats of a clear (gloss) paint to fill the seam along the edge of the piece you are gluing down by spraying several cost over the piece once it is mounted. Any clear gloss spray paint will do, we recommend Minwax’s Helmsman Spar Urethane. To determine if this will be necessary place the cut piece on a flat surface (say the wood you are going to use), hold the piece down and carefully rub over the edge between them. It will feel like rubbing over the transition between several sheets of paper. If this “ridge” is too noticeable (ridge is too high) use the above techniques to reduce the “ridge” between the two materials. You can use any 1 or 2 part adhesive for your application (superglue, epoxy, wood glue or Elmer’s etc.). Most commonly superglue is used but it has very little “working time” so great care must be taken if it is used. Slower setting superglues are available at most hobby shops; they will give you more ”working time” before they set, and this is what we recommend. The stuff that comes in the small tubes and is available everywhere only has about 2 seconds on working time, so be careful if you use it!
Yes our tinted MicroVeneer® are safe for a baby’s environment and are not toxic even if they are exposed to the child’s mouth. We use the same clear coat finishes that are federally approved for baby furniture. The shell itself is also non-toxic per Federal studies – This is the same material that every child in encouraged to” …put it up to your ear” (touch you skin to it) and hear the sound of the ocean”! Nacre (shell) is only dangerous if it is “ground” into a fine dust and breath into the lungs.
WHAT ARE THE PRICES FOR 5X9 SHEETS OF INLAYS?
WHAT DOES TOP STRAT MEAN?
Top-Strat® is our MicroVeneer® mounted on a substrate base (.047” thick) that make it cut and shapes just like all natural shell blanks at a 1/10th of the price. It is an excellent product for doing “Block” inlay like on Gibson’s Les Paul.