I've got an old Guild jazz box with loose and missing plastic fingerboard inlay. According to the fine folks at LMI, it's cellulous nitrate. The remaining inlays are quite aged and yellow, so I can't really use new stuff. Any idea where I can get my hands on some old stuff, or age new pickguard stock to look old?

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If you can find similar new material and just need to age it, I'll share my technique. I use alcohol leather dye (Fiebings) and dilute it until it's very weak, just enough to slightly yellow your M.O.T. (Probably 2% brown + 2% yellow + 96% alchohol.) Test on scrap for color and intensity. Wipe on, let it sit a short time, then wipe off. I play it safe and use a weak color and apply multiple times until I get the effect I want. The result is permanant.

I got some samples from a drum company. They sell all kinds of MOTS. Whether or not it's what you need....? You can age new and shiny with dyes. You'll have to see if you can match the "grain" pattern of the old and new.
I wanted to make a peghead overlay, so I bought a small vintage dresser tray on eBay for a few bucks. It worked OK. That project was where I learned about the flammability of nitrocellulose. Pretty exciting! Anyway, I have some tiny scraps left (too small for a pickguard but OK for fingerboard inlay) you can have.

Tim Smith
Looks like the grain pattern is pretty close. Thanks for the offer. I'll gladly reimburse shipping.

Shop address is 502 7th St, Oregon City, Or 97045.
Light a celluloid guitar pick and watch out!
Hey Christian;

I put a hunk of the MOTS in the mail yesterday. You should have it by the end of the week. The particular tray it came from was marketed (by DuPont, I think) as Pyralin.

Tim Smith
I think Pyralin is Dupont's name for plastic that can spontaneously combust, same root as pyromaniac.
Thanks a ton....
Speaking of aging plastic I found that you can put the ivoroid banjo tuning buttons in a mixture of two TBS of regular coffee granules to a half cup of water mixed in a baby food jar. Drop in the buttons and let them set for a few days. The longer you let them set the more brown patina the buttons will turn. Just experiment. I too have used the drum MOTS to replace inlays, and the Fiebings dye works wonders. Before you put the inlay in glue a piece of white paper to the back. I've found that the inlay stays a brighter pearl if it has a white backing than the dark backing of a fingerboard. If you want the inlay to look a tad darker then don't use the white paper backing.


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