A Mother of Pearl Rosette Strip

I was busy gluing together strips of mother-of-pearl (MOP) to form a rosette, and thought I’d take a picture of the process:

mop_rosetteYou can see from the picture that MOP obviously does not come in giant pre-manufactured rolls because it is harvested from the shells of small mollusks – so it’s more like 1″ long strips – and all of the little strips have to be glued together into a continuous strip, along with adding a black and white border of purfling on each side

This long strip will then be cut, mitered, and reglued into the standard 5-sided shape that I use for rosettes, and then inlaid into the soundboard. It is for another “Atlantis” bowed psaltery I am working on. (And yes, you will notice that the strip is being glued together with lowly clothespins, slightly modified.) Here is a picture of the finished product inlaid into the psaltery:


Shortly after this picture was taken, I came very close to gluing my fingers together! I still haven’t done that yet, but I expect to soon, as I can be quite careless with the initial gluing. (I use cyanoacrylate ester (CA) glue to adhere the shell strips together, which is basically just a fancy name for super glue.) Thankfully, I also keep a bottle of CA solvent nearby, to undo any bonds that turn out to be *ahem* less than handy…