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Robe patineuse manches mi-longues Here are some pictures of an 18Kt gold vine and a great flame inlay. They are not finished yet but I thought that you might like to see how they are coming along. The pictures don't begin to do them justice. The gold is buffed up and shines so much that the camera can't capture it. The flame neck has so much iridescent blue in it but the camera doesn't show this at all. The fretboards are both Bois d' Rose and they have this great red and black streaking. 

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Here the flame inlays are getting cut. Takes forever but they are within a few ten thousandths.                                                                                                                    
The fretslots are notched through the pearl or if the pearl extends across the fretboard then wood is left for the frets to compress.
The fretboard is getting arched again to cut the gold flush. At this point the hideous sanding begins. Files, sandpaper, and steel wool to remove all the marks and get it ready to be buffed. This takes forever. Tons of work to get it all smooth and ready to buff.  The fretboard and inlays will have a shine like chrome on them soon.
The fretslots are being cut here. That tiny little endmill is only 20 thousands of an inch. That is .020".   It's about the size of a needle. These things are expensive and they break if you look at them wrong. It takes a while to do the fretslots but when they are done, they are within around a ten thousandth of where I want them to be. That is like taking a hair and dividing it 50 times. Now, get out  your microscope and you can see how accurate that is. That should be close enough.  It cuts the fretslots and arches the slots just like the fretboard. This leaves no air space anywhere and should theoretically contribute to the Diablo's tone.
 I had to get an air spindle to spin these tiny endmills fast enough. This thing is so cool that I got another one. They both spin at 40,000 rpm and are very quiet. I am devising a way to use solenoids and air cylinders to make it so that the air spindles can ride up and down on the side of the head. That would make a lot of cool noises too. Kind of like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. How do I keep sawdust out of that chocolate river? Humm, have to work on that.

I also made an arbor out of titanium to hold a saw blade. That will be really cool to mount it sideways to do the fretslots. It is kind of scary at first because it hangs out of the spindle with this coiled air hose and regulator hooked up to it. Once, the spindle came on at 10,000 rpm and threw a fit! Busted air lines, a loose air hose spraying mahogany sawdust everywhere and this air spindle hanging in there and spinning at 10K rpm! After I got it stopped, I couldn't seem to get near that machine for about an hour. Kind of skiddish.

I call this machine "Slacker" because he enjoys sitting and relaxing so much. That is my fault so I can't blame him. Here Slacker is doing fretslots with that air spindle hooked up to him.  He is probably very confused right now because he is actually working and wondering " how did this happen?". He seems to rejoice in sitting still and observing me. It's fun to surprise him and make him work for hours at a time. He can't complain because he has no vocal chords. Very obedient too. He especially delights in following instructions when I give him the wrong ones. Oh the joy he finds in taunting me.

I can never blame him for messing something up. He just doesn't do it unless I tell him too. Other than that, Slacker is amazing! Every time he does something, I am still in awe of his accuracy and what he can do. Now, if I could just get him motivated. 

In these two pictures, the flame inlay is being cut. This inlay is the one that I said that I would never do again. Well, I worked on the inlay for days and made it so that this is one of the most stunning inlay ever. Guess that I will have to keep doing it now.  It looks really  hot rod like. 

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