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Creating Clay Dots

 
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Joeglow
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Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Posts: 11054
Location: NY/NJ

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:23 am    Post subject: Creating Clay Dots Reply with quote

Creating Your Own Clay Dots

Here are steps I recommend to create authentic clay dots. For the following instructions I'm assuming you'll be starting with a neck that has no dots and preferably no frets.

1. Using a 1/4" hole punch, I'll pop out a hole in strips of painter's tape and lay them across the neck over the fretboard dot holes.

2. I'll assemble my little dot making tool kit which consists of a small measuring spoon, an eye dropper, and a piece of wire to stir with.

3. I use my measuring spoon to scoop a little bit of Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty.

4. I use my eye dropper to siphon some of my clay dot dye which is just some cheap fabric dye (a RIT rip-off), specifically yellow, brown, and some green mixed to taste...I don't have a specific recipe unfortunately. My dye mix is in a jar I cleaned out and I'll give it a shake before use.

5. I add my dye mix to my powder and stir it together to make a somewhat dry slurry. Stir well to ensure even incorporation of the dye. You don't want streaky dots or pockets of powder to reveal themselves! This is just a matter of feel, I don't have a specific ratio here. If you play around with this stuff you'll get an idea of how wet or dry it should be and how long that will give you to work with it before it starts to setup.

6. I'll use my finger and smoosh in some of the paste mix into the dot cavity and I'll be mindful to squeeze with some force as to avoid air bubbles.

7. Once I've hit each dot I'll go back and add a little more mix over top making sure to keep the area around the dot relatively clean so I don't make more work for myself in the next steps.

8. I allow the neck to dry about 30 minutes at this point. The clay that's made will be leather hard now, which means not totally dry but with some maleability.

9. With a standard razor blade I'll gently rake across the dot perpendicular to the fret slot, removing material carefully. The tape is still on the neck by the way.

10. Once I've gotten down to flush with the tape I'll let the neck continue to dry. Usually I'll busy myself with this or that.

11. After 30 minutes or so I'll remove the tape and scrape the dot flush to the fretboard, again scraping in a perpendicular direction. You want to follow the contour of the fretboard, otherwise you'll have a dip in your dot and I'm not talking icecream here.

12. There are typically some light razor marks left behind which I'll then remove by sanding. The grit I use is determined by how aggressive I was scraping and what sort of marks I left, but usually pretty fine.

13. Pat yourself on the back because you've just made something that looks instantly old and awesome! Congratulations you! By the way, the scraping and sanding stages highlight why this job is much easier to do with an unfretted neck.


Contributed by Josh
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