Where to buy Mother of Pearl?

Does anybody know where I can buy Mother of Pearl suitable for inlaying wooden boxes? Also, how to cut Mother of Pearl, is it brittle etc? I'm hoping to cut patterns that are quite detailed, I've seen it done (eg. www.koreanboxes.com). And finally, is it expensive material? Thanks, Bini
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Well, one source is luthier (stringed musical instrument) supply houses like:
http://www.lmii.com /
or
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Inlay,_pearl/Blanks/Packages_Of_Pearl_Inlay_Blanks.html
And yes it can be VERY expensive if you're going to do a larg amount of it.
On Thu, 14 Jun 2007 02:11:42 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Where do you live?
There are a lot of sources, especially in the Eastern US catchment basins. Mikimoto used to buy his seeding beads from the Tennessee river mussels.
JJ
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You can get it from Grizzly, the pres is a luthier.

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com writes:

I'll second Bini's request for information about working mother-of-pearl. I've some abalone shell fragments that I'd like to use for inlay, but the stuff is _hard_.
scott
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Scott Lurndal wrote:

Here is one source of info:
http://www.inlay.com/inlay/pearl/pearl-1.html
A Google search will yield numerous suppliers.
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On Thu, 14 Jun 2007 02:11:42 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

In person, at rock and gem shows. It's a fraction of the price of the knifemaker's suppliers, and they're in turn a fraction of the luthiery suppliers
It's brittle, it's annoying and there's a dust hazard. Better grades have a more constant thickness and a re bigger and flatter, all of which makes it easier to work with.
IMHO, do some cow horn inlay work for practice first. The skills are similar, but it's not so annoying brittle.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I have no experience with this material, but when I saw your question it reminded me that Grizzly sells Mother of Pearl[1].
[1]: http://www.grizzly.com/products/searchresults.aspx?q=mother+of+pearl&submit.x=0&submit.y=0
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Take a look on Amazon at this book:
The Art of Inlay: Design and Technique for Fine Woodworking by Larry Robinson
An excellent text by a guy who knows what he is doing. The covers alone are worth looking at.
As for the rest, what everyone else said.
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I don't know about Mother of Pearl, but I have done lots of work with abalone shell.
First of all you need to wear a good mask so as to not breath the dust from that stuff, it's likda nasty.
You can saw it with a fine jewelers saw, (have never used a scroll saw, but I don't see why it wouldn't work). It is abrasive and will dull a saw blade rather quickly.
You can sand it with a disc or belt sander. One thing you need to do is keep it cook when sanding, the stuff gets real hot, and will crack if it gets too hot. I just had a container of water close at hand, and would just douse it to keep it cool.
The stuff polishes up really nice using jewelers rouge on a buffing wheel.
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