STRIPS

SHELL VENEER PLY STRIPS

These are super-long strips made from our patented veneer ply sheets. Advantages over the traditional style strips are numerous:

**Deeper and more consistent color, which will not sand away.
**Joints between strip sections are fewer and much less obvious or distracting.
**Computer cutting produces totally even widths and perfectly squared ends -- no hand fitting.
**Allows new types of shell, or variations on old types, to be used: 20 selections, as opposed to 4 in traditional style!
**Breaks more evenly, and into smaller segments, when fitting to curved edges: will not break at odd angles, as it has no natural fracture lines or seams.
**HUGE reduction in installment time (75-90%!), at minimal additional cost. What's it worth to you to be able to do 4-8 guitar tops in the time it now takes to do one, while at the same time improving the quality?

STRAIGHT STRIPS (5.250" long X .050" thick. 13 pieces do one guitar edge):
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SPARKLE M.O.P.
WHITE M.O.P.
GOLD M.O.P.
BROWN M.O.P.
BLACK M.O.P.
AGOYA
DONKEY EAR ABALONE
KOREAN AWABI RIM
RED ABALONE HEART
PINK ABALONE
PINK ABALONE SELECT
PINK ABALONE HEART
GREEN ABALONE STANDARD
GREEN ABALONE SELECT
GREEN ABALONE RIPPLED
GREEN ABALONE HEART
PAUA ABALONE
PAUA ABALONE RIM
PAUA ABALONE HEART
SPARKLE ABALONE


CURVED STRIPS (4.75" X .050", 4.921" I.D. = 125mm I.D. 3 pieces/rosette):
<click to enlarge> SPARKLE M.O.P.
WHITE M.O.P.
GOLD M.O.P.
BROWN M.O.P.
BLACK M.O.P.
AGOYA
DONKEY EAR ABALONE
KOREAN AWABI RIM
RED ABALONE HEART
PINK ABALONE
PINK ABALONE SELECT
PINK ABALONE HEART
GREEN ABALONE STANDARD
GREEN ABALONE SELECT
GREEN ABALONE RIPPLED
GREEN ABALONE HEART
PAUA ABALONE
PAUA ABALONE RIM
PAUA ABALONE HEART
SPARKLE ABALONE


SHELL "HERRINGBONE" STRIPS

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Used for several years now by Martin Guitars on their limited edition "Eric Clapton" models, these are now available to the little guy! A perfect example of modern CNC-cut shell laminate, the tiny shell chevrons flank a .020" (.5mm) wide abalone center strip, all embedded in a custom-formulated black epoxy. The straight strips can be most easily conformed to guitar curves if first pre-heated with a hair dryer to slightly soften the epoxy while installing. Strip ends are shaped to interlock within the "bone" pattern; width is .098" (2.5mm), thickness is .060" (1.25mm). Two shell types are now available, Agoya or Paua abalone:

(SS-HERR-A) STRAIGHT STRIPS : Pale colored AGOYA shell chevrons on each side of a STANDARD GREEN ABALONE center stripe, 9" long (229mm); 8 pieces do one “Dreadnaught” style guitar top edge.

(CS-HERR-A) CURVED STRIPS : AGOYA and GREEN STANDARD as above, 4.75" long (121mm); 4.75" i.d., requires 3 pieces/standard rosette, or 4 pieces for a full 360° circle.

(SS-HERR-P) STRAIGHT STRIPS : Rainbow-hued PAUA ABALONE chevrons and center stripe, 9” long (229mm); 8 pieces do one “Dreadnaught” style guitar top edge.

(CS-HERR-P) CURVED STRIPS : PAUA ABALONE as above, but these pieces are 2.625” long (66.7mm), 4.75” i.d., so it takes 5 pieces/standard rosette, or 6 pieces for a full 360° circle.

SHELL STRIPS, TRADITIONAL STYLE

All strips are cut from solid shell, and except as noted otherwise (as for the Violet Oyster strips) are .050" (1.27mm) thick and average about 1” long. Strip ends can be squared with a file or nipped off with a sharp pair of side-cutters. It usually takes about 70 pieces (approx. 70") to do one edge on a large guitar body; about 290 pieces (approx. 290") for a Martin D-45 style guitar – more, if adding shell along the neck edges, heel, peghead, back center stripe, etc. Soundhole rosettes take about 15 pieces (15"). Always order extra, especially if you wish to more closely color-match the pieces.

Strips can be sorted into color or figure categories for matched-piece work. If care is taken to color-match adjoining ends, joints between pieces will be almost invisible. Another effect is to gradually "fade" from one color to another, or even set up a "pulsing" rhythm by alternating light and dark pieces, or alternating pieces which light up at different visual angles.

In addition to musical instrument work, strips are also used in furniture, jewelry, boxes, picture frames, pool cues, letter openers, signs, nameplates, and many other applications.

Green abalone includes any heart or rippled material; Paua abalone includes any heart.

STRAIGHT TRADITIONAL STRIPS:
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WHITE M.O.P.
GREEN SEA SNAIL
GREEN ABALONE
PAUA ABALONE
VIOLET OYSTER


CURVED TRADITIONAL STRIPS:
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The following curved rosette strips are all cut to a 4.921" I.D. (4 59/64"=125mm). They will work with no visible misfit on diameters somewhat larger or smaller as well, and give better results than straight strips when going around tight curves, as for guitar cutaways and waists.

WHITE M.O.P.
GREEN SEA SNAIL
GREEN ABALONE
PAUA ABALONE
VIOLET OYSTER

TEFLON STRIPS:
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Edge bindings/marquetry are often glued up with a teflon plastic spacer strip laminated into the position where shell stripping is intended to go. When dry, the teflon is gently pulled out and shell strips glued into the resulting channel. Teflon strips are about 34"-36" long, and can be cleaned and re-used several times if care is taken

to not stretch them during use. All strips are $3.00/each, in the following sizes:
.047" (X .063" thick), .063" (X .063" thick), .079" (X .094" thick), and .098" (X .094" thick).

NOTE: Check width and thickness of each strip before using, as the Teflon sheets from which these are made can vary in size, and thicknesses might be mistaken for the .063" and .098" widths.

METHODS OF STRIP INSTALLATION
On soft curves such as around a guitar body, straight pieces are placed over a glue-filled channel and then forced into it by breaking into smaller pieces, the more the better, to conform to the curve. The breaks will be all but invisible in most abalone, especially in "select" or "heart" grades; pale shell types are also used, but those with more internal "figure" such as Donkey ab., Agoya, Awabi rim/ribbon, or Green rippled will have less obvious breaks. Some factories and even productive small shops are now having veneer ply material cut into huge curved sections which can fit an entire guitar top with only 9 or 10 segments, with virtually no need for breaking to fit! In the tighter curves of a waist or cutaway, some builders prefer using curved rosette material.

When installing the classic Martin-style "D-45" type of guitar trim, luthiers have developed several approaches. The laminated shell handles differently than old-style solid shell strips, not requiring as much force to break and allowing more breaks per inch, which results in a smoother looking job around curved areas. Best results require installing strips using watery/thin super glue; but this method calls for any adjacent wood to first be sealed to prevent the grain from absorbing glue and causing staining/finishing problems. Taylor Guitars recommends brushing a light coat of clear finish into, and next to, the shell channel before installing the strips, which only takes a few seconds of effort and virtually no drying time.

Here are some of the methods being used to install the strips in their channel, but experience will quickly teach you your own approaches. Practice on scrap forms until you gain confidence.

1) In a section of glue-filled channel, use left hand to feed a length of strip into the groove, while breaking it to fit with the rounded back of a spoon nested under the right thumb. When shell is in place, flow thin super-glue on the surface to stabilize any chips.
2) Same as above, either in a wet or dry channel, but the right hand mashes a strip into the slot by flexing down on a thin steel rule under the thumb, and sort of "trowels" the shell into position. Flood with super-glue before doing the next segment. This method leaves strips almost flush with the surface, greatly reducing the need to sand the shell down.
3) In a dry channel, as above, but right hand uses a ¼" thick piece of clear plexiglass with the lower leading edge rounded off (sled runner fashion), which is pressed flat to the surface as it is moved forward and crushes shell beneath it. This method allows you to see what is going on as the shell is installed. As before, flood well with watery superglue to stabilize loose flakes before doing next section.
4) Left hand feeds long strips, right hand gently taps/breaks shell into its groove with a small mallet. Flood with super-glue to finish.