Abalone Inlay

Hello everyone. I’m in search of advice about what thickness of abalone I should use for a guitar project, specifically for the brand inlay on the head and not the fretboard. Has anyone done this? Also, any advice on settings? Thanks,

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How about Mother of Pearl?

Yep…that’s the same as abalone. Have you done inlays with it? If so, what thickness and how did you set it up to match the depth of the engrave or score?

I have not, but there was a post last week doing mop inlay. Let me find it real quick.

Here it is…


I would test for the perfect settings on a sample of the same wood you wish to excavate. All woods are different, in the grain, hardness, etc. No single recommendation of “settings” is likely to be just what you need. Testing for your particular material thickness and engraving depth is the only way to dial it in.


From what I’ve seen you can go with very thin sheets of shell or ground up shell you set into an epoxy. If you go the ground up shell route you can basically fill your engrave to depth.

If you want to cut from a solid sheet you’ll be looking at a lot more work. First, your engrave will not be uniform in depth. The laser deposits a uniform amount of energy into a non-uniform material. So you’ll need to sand your engrave area to remove char and teeny, tiny ridges. Note that the edges will be slightly shallower than the center - they don’t get as much time under the laser. Then you will probably have to sand the head down so the engrave is the correct depth. But, hey, fine instruments aren’t supposed to be easy? Right? As for cutting the shell here are two threads.


Thanks for the details!

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