Epoxy, CA glue inlays

I’m looking to start experimenting with inlays, filling them with dyed epoxy or CA glue. Starbond, Alumilite, etc. Gorilla makes clear epoxy in syringe form as well, also comes in a solid black. Anybody have experience with any of these and can provide insight into using them?

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If your final product will be finished, lacquer or equivalent, I’d recommend CA glue. I made guitars with fancy inlay for years and found that epoxys will shrink a bit leaving a slight indent around the inlay, After switching to CA glues, this issue went away.

I’ve seen it said that CA glue has a “negative index of refraction”. As a retired physics teacher, I fail to see how this could literally be true based on strict definitions. But the point was that light would, upon entering any glue filled spaces, bounce around internally in such a way as to reduce the visibility of the line. I found this also to be the case.

That said, I tested my first inlay with the Nomad and saw nary a line!


If you decide to go with CA, you need other options than mixing a color into the glue as you can with epoxy. There are a few ways to do this.

The avatar I’m using on this site shows MOP and silver inlaid into ebony. If inlaying into a black pocket like this you can find black CA glue, and amber, at stewmac.com. You can also use one of their slower setting CA’s then rub some fine dust, sanded from the substrate you’re using, into the crack. Or, if your inlay can tolerate some sanding, press the dust into the crack and add a thin CA on top. (This assumes you’ve already applied glue to the bottom of the inlay to secure its attachment.)


Yes I’ve used ca glues for many years for inlays and repairs , if your wanting to add a color you can use thin ca glue and add color buy taking. A colored marker as your choice of color and using a piece of plastic or something that the marker will not penitrate into , add ca glue to the plate or plastic whatever you useing , take the marker and mark and make enough to where you have enough color , use a tooth pic or whatever you want to stir it with grab enough ca glue and add it to the color and mix , you have now added color to your ca glue , you can use multiple colors to get the color your wanting , works very well , there are so many tricks with ca glue that you can do and this is just 1 of them , been doing this for over 25 yrs on guitars and other stringed instruments and it works on anything that ca can be used for .


I found a good source for Epoxy resins and color additives at pretty reasonable prices. Below is their info from their web page. I found the same kit on Amazon at a much higher price. I ordered the kit and 7 colors for a total just under $75 plus another $18.50 for shipping - a total of $92 for all. The colors require only very, very few drops to color burst a whole mixed batch. Follow the mixing instructions and Safety call outs. Epoxy mixes get very hot when they exotherm, so, use caution about flammables and combustibles also (like paper cups & tissues).
Specialty Resin & Chemical
58100 Park Place
Dowagiac, MI. 49047
Email: dan@specialtyresin.com
Office Hours:
Monday – Friday 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Phone: 1-269-462-9256


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