Abalone inlay ANYONE?!

Hey all, I was browsing boards in a northern cali surf shop a few years back and came across a retro fish (not sure of brand/shaper) that had abalone inlay on the deck… like a pin stripe sort of. REALLY pretty and I’ve personally never seen another like it. Anyone ever see something like this, and maybe some ideas how its done and what the material is? Could be a fun project for a super flashy board, wall-hanger or not. Just curious, thanks guys!


Want to see inlay?

Go to www.klappergallery.com Click on “recent shows” then “view artwork”.

There’s some inlay!

Lot’s of folk here have done nice inlay work. Robbo’s HWS comes to mind.

…yes, recently I did a couple (on PU boards)

I d used tortoiseshell and the tiny tools that a jeweller friend of mine lend me

I did one on the bottom about 15" from the nose and the other on the deck near the tail

I made the draw then a template, then in the board, and then the cut

sanded the shell to had a somewhat flat surface, then put the template and cut

then put the tortoise in the board with resin and a bit of white pigment

wiped off the resin leftovers, then applied fiberglass and resin onto, then H Coat

OH MY! Those photos are waaaaaaay beyond what I was thinking. How in the hell do they do it? Where do you even get those materials and inlay them into the foam?

This whole topic has really peaked my interest. Craftsmanship on a whole other level indeed.

Where would you get the shell materials and how would you work them?

Very impressive!

I have used the micro veneer at InlayUSA.com,very nice stuff.At .15mm-.025mm you can cut it with a utility knife and it is as thin as paper.Or you can get it lazer cut=expensive.Shwuz did some nice logos.

Have fun,


Cheaper than you think for laser cutting.

I took the digital file to my local trophy shop, the good-ol-boy at the counter charged me $25 to convert the file so his cutting program would read it, then $8 for each cut. If I use three different kinds of wood/materials for a logo, it costs $24 to cut all three, but it also yields three whole logos once completed, so only $8 each. The Abalone from inlayusa is the most expensive part. I did a batch of 12 logos, with materials and everything it totaled right around $100. With creative placement of parts, you can really get a lot of mileage out of those 5"x9" sheets of paua abalone.

Here’s a hint though, try to keep the design simple. My laser guy charges by the linear inch of cut, not to mention the assembly nightmare it is to keep all those little parts together. I spend around an hour per logo of breakdown/assembly.


Another 2 cents from me, I tried to cut some leftover bits of the veneer with a razor knife, as well as with the “masking tape both sides, cut with sharp scissors” method, and all I wound up with was a handful of abalone chips. For my $$, the laser was priceless.

that’s beautiful shwuz!

I found this company that makes this laminate material that looks like anything from stainless steel to burlwood to abalone ect. Its kind like a veneer with an adhesive backing. It looks like you could cut the stuff with a vinyl sign cutter from a vector file.


That’s beutifull work. I read the thread and thought I’d like to look at that, because I was working for Paul Hutchinson in 74’ and he was doing mother of pearl inlays then, all by hand. That is trully beautifull, thanks , H.

Hey Shwuz!

And here I imagined you with an exacto knife and micro chisel, up all night, carefully whittling away :slight_smile:

Great work just the same!


Want to see inlay?

Go to www.klappergallery.com Click on “recent shows” then “view artwork”.

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o156/easternpacific/IMG_0363.jpg Aloha llili - Most of the work done by these guys is overlay work, coupled w/ glassing techniques that have no feel of displacement. A true colaboration. ==ep