Shark Inlay - How Durable is Inlay
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I get asked quite often, "how well does inlay hold up?" "Will it last a life time?" "What if it gets wet?" And my personal favorite, "Will it pop out or crack if I adjust the truss rod on my guitar?"


I have been telling people for years, that my inlay will last and stay looking good for a very long time. However, I never really had any proof of my claim until now.


This week I got my proof. I received one of my inlays back for repair. It was a key chain inlayed on both sides. It had been heavily used as a key chain for about two year and had taken a lot of abuse from that, as you can imagine. But . . . that wasn't why it was back in my shop. The keys had been lost in a church parking lot back in December. In March, they were found by a church employee after he had RUN OVER IT WITH HIS TRUCK. The key chain had not been found up to that point because it HAD BEEN LOST IN A SNOWBANK ALL THAT TIME.


The owner was glad to have his cherished item back, but feared the worse. When it arrive in my shop, it looked bad. The finish, what was left of it, was flaking and puckered. The wood (originally a nice piece of walnut) had turn gray from water damage. The inlay was barely visible through the dirt and grim. What a mess.


Now here is the amazing part. I sanded off the old finish, restained it, and put another coat of polyurethane on it and it was as good as new. NONE OF THE SHELL WAS DAMAGED. None of the pieces popped out, or were chipped, or were even badly scratched. A little rubbing with very fine steel wool brought the color right back to life.


Now I can't say all inlay could do this. But inlay done right can. By "Done Right", I mean that no corners were cut in the process to reduce costs. The inlay has to be deep set, glued with industrial epoxy, and well fitted in the wood. If these things are done (which I always do), your inlay will look great for a very long time.


Here are pictures of the key chain before and after. Can you tell which is which? .... Give up? The fixed up one is on the right (or below depending on your monitor's resolution).