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View Full Version : Sources for bone/plastic bridge inlays for ukuleles and for acoustic guitars



imperialbari
11-18-2011, 11:36 PM
Some ukes and guitars come with bridge inlays that are not glued. Technically it is very easy to lower the string action of such inlays by scraping or filing them.

However I have no chance to set up a workbench or a wise in my home. And anyway the process isnít reversible without getting a new inlay.

So I would want learning about suppliers offering an assortment of bridge inlays searchable on-line by the parameters of material thickness (for fitting the actual slot), height (I know how to use calipers and also know a reasonable amount of geometry, so that I can make good estimates of the needed height), and length (this parameter is less critical as long as the inlays are long enough - cutting them to length will be no major problem).

As I live in Denmark, a supplier from within the EU will make logistics easier, but imports from any country with a good business and legal reputation certainly will be possible. I have imported several instruments and other items from mostly the US, but also from Canada and from Switzerland aside from frequent deals with several EU countries.

Klaus

mik55
11-19-2011, 12:04 AM
God dag Klaus,

replacing the bridge inlay is not a big thing. I did that for my Kala tenor as I was not happy with the spacing on the original inlay. So I got a bone inlay blank - from a local guitar luthier - cut it into size, cut some grooves to correct the string spacing, sanded & polished it.

This is how it looks now:
http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff281/n6kvH938z67Rg/KA-ASAC-T-Saddle-Detail.jpg

Regs
Mike

imperialbari
11-19-2011, 12:27 AM
Thanks for the reply!

Where I live in the outback there is no local luthier. And yes, I know about the work process and would be able to carry it out, only I cannot set up an ever so small workshop with my desired tools in my small home. What I want is an online selection of blanks in a hopefully sufficient number of small increments to allow picking some samples close to my estimated needs.

My question comes right now, because I looked at a certain guitar type, where the reviews complain the action being too high, to which the reply of the maker has been an offering of lower bridge inlays to buy. For me the right approach would have been supplying that guitar with 3 or 4 inlays of varying heights.

Anyway there must be an online market for the desired variety of bridge inlays. And my asking is for good hints in searching that market.

Klaus

mik55
11-19-2011, 12:47 AM
OK, point taken.

Then take a look at this (http://www.wonderwood.de/catalog/index.php?cPath=95_37). Might be fitting your request.

imperialbari
11-19-2011, 01:30 AM
Thanks, this was helpful!

The saddle inlays available from that site are very specifically intended for certain makes and models. However I learned that my use of the word of inlay will bring me nowhere. Saddle is all fine. I am not at all through doing my searches, but already I got wiser from reading this page:

http://www.guitarsaddles.com/products.asp

I certainly would like to change the plastic saddles of my two Clearwater ukes (concert & baritone) to bone.

In the end I may have to bite the bullet. The problem is not so much buying the tools, but going to an open workshop at a local centre for senior citizens is not as nice as having ones own workshop. However bolting a workbench to the floor is not possible here at home.

I found it interesting that some guitar saddles are 2.5mm thick, whereas the one on my Kala pocket uke is 2.85mm thick.

Klaus

mik55
11-19-2011, 01:59 AM
The problem is not so much buying the tools, but going to an open workshop at a local centre for senior citizens is not as nice as having ones own workshop. However bolting a workbench to the floor is not possible here at home.

Making a such bridge inlay from a bone blank is definitly no rocket science. All you may need is a little saw and some sanding papers but definitly no specific workbench or professional equipment.

imperialbari
11-19-2011, 02:09 AM
The science is not in the work itself, but in the work-arounds needed when age has inflicted upon ones joints. If the objects a secured firmly while I work on them the likelihood of a desirable result is much improved.

Klaus

WhenDogsSing
11-19-2011, 02:38 AM
Here's a great source for blank saddle material:

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Nuts,_saddles/Acoustic_bridge_saddles.html

I use a vise grip made for working with tin to hold the saddle blank while I sand it down. I've added a picture of the vise grip below. I use a Dremel Moto-Tool with sanding attachment for shaping/sanding the saddle blank.

Hope this helps.

imperialbari
11-19-2011, 03:12 AM
Great source! Thanks!

Klaus

mik55
11-19-2011, 03:29 AM
As we are not talking about working on a mastodon's rib but on a very tiny piece of bone (the bridge inlay for my Kala Tenor is 2.9mm thick, 52.45mm long and 7.1mm high) I prefer to use my fingers to grab the inlay and work it over the sanding paper laying flat on the table in front of me.

@WhenDogsSing: Using a Dremel for such a job seems to be a bit of an "overkill" to me. Altough you are able to ruin your work much faster with such a high speed tool ... :)

WhenDogsSing
11-19-2011, 07:57 AM
@WhenDogsSing: Using a Dremel for such a job seems to be a bit of an "overkill" to me. Altough you are able to ruin your work much faster with such a high speed tool ... :)

Hee! Hee! Hee! I only use the Dremel when I am shaving the bottom off of a saddle to reduce its height. You can clamp the saddle into the vise grip such that the amount you want to shave off is sticking out of the vise grip. The Dremel does a great job removing that excess.

I use sandpaper when I am making a new saddle out of a saddle blank. I use sandpaper to round off the ends, compensate, etc.

I love the TV show "Tool Time" and yes, my first name is Tim too...!!!

Hee! Hee! Hee! Again...!!!