Making a couple rosettes

Hey, I have some time, so I’m catching up.

Here is how I made the rosettes for these two guitars.  I went with a geometric style.  Very similar to my first rosettes.

Started with humble beginnings of walnut, cherry and flamed maple.  These were glued up as you see here.

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Then I used an incredibly high tech fixture to cut 45 and 42.5 degree angles on each piece.  The goal being 7.5 degree segments.

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These segments were glued into logs.  Notice the “sorting matrix”.  This helped keep the pieces separate.  There were three different variations of wood placement and each of those had opposite angles on each side.

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Then the logs were sliced and sorted.

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Then I played with some variations of patterns.  There were a ton of permutations.

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I picked two of my favorites.  Then I cut a test channel into a piece of scrap and bent up the purflings.  Fitting these was very low tech.  Cut to approximate size.

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Inside and outside sanding block to fit.

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Then I cut the channels into the real tops.  Used a home made circle scribe.  Now that I’ve done at least 12 channels with this scribe (7 for guitars and at least 5 tests), I should really take my time and make a nicer one on a mill.  This one was made with a hack saw, files, a drill press, and some taps and dies.  The only thing I would add is a dial height adjustment for the blade.  I made the blade, a spear point with  W1 tool steel that I sharpened, hardened and annealed.

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Then a chisel, followed by a mini router plane.  

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These are my 6th and 7th rosettes.  I’ve never used a power tool for this.  Cutting a .050″ deep, accurate channel, in a .095″ thick piece of soft wood was really intimidating at first.  After the first one, I loved it.  Its really one of my favorite parts.  I like the peace and quiet, as well as the clean cuts, when using hand tools.  

The first rosette ready to install.

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This is my favorite part.  Planing and scraping down after the glue has cured.

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First rosette done and scraped close to flush.

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Second rosette installed.  This one in a cedar top.

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This is where the guitars stood just prior to bracing the tops.

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Ok.  Last two posts almost caught up to where I am now.

Should be closing these up soon.

A bit late on guitar updates

I’ve been really bad at keeping this up to date.  There are probably about 15 posts I could make at this point, but I’ll keep it short and post a pictoral update.

I actually made a test guitar body to try a few things out.  I’ll skip all that stuff and move to the real guitars.

For these two, I wanted to try laminated linings, made of basswood and walnut in this case.  After one other attempt in laminating right on the guitar form, I made some simple fixtures and roped them together.  This worked really well.

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These will be my first cutaways.  The sides were thicknessed, primarily with the drum sander, then switching to a scraper.  The bass side was a simple bending operation.  The treble side was a bit more complicated.  I bent the waist and lower bout, then cut the side at the start of the cutaway and bent the remainder in reverse.  All this to get a good match on the wood grain and ambrosia stripe.

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The match was good enough that I decided to try to miter the point and skip binding it.  Worst case is if it didn’t turn out, I could resort to binding.

Mitered the tip.

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Came out nicely.  I even wrapped the side over the neck block, simply because I didn’t decide on a final style for the heel yet.

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Back to the linings.  Rather than just radius the inside corner, I had a scratch stock that I made.  I used it to dress the profile.  Came out well and probably didn’t take any longer than a simple radius.

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Inside detail of finished rim.

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Finished rim.  Minus soundport.

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The tops and backs were joined.

The bracing was split and prepped.

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I did a fairly tight radius on the backs.  This led to a rather unorthodox clamping method, both for the changing radii and for a quick glue up with hot hide glue,

Trial fixture.

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Better final fixture.

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I also made all the binding from raw wood as well as the rosette.

Here is the binding.

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And purfling.

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I’ll make a separate post on the rosette.

Thats about it for now.  Short post for a lot of work.

Starting a couple more guitars

After a brief hiatus and doing a bunch of small projects for the shop and in the house, I decided to start a couple more guitars.  On the subject of shop projects, I should post those soon.  I just haven’t felt much like writing these days.

So… the guitars.  Going for a couple OO size again.  This time with a cutaway, 14 fret neck, one with a spruce top, one with cedar.  Other options might be a sound port and a slotted peghead.

Start with design.  I wanted to make my own shape.  Started with a list of standard dimensions from OO and OM size guitars and drew my own.  Used the bent stick method of drawing curves.

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Made about 4 versions and picked one I liked.  I did a full scale drawing and I’m still kicking around what I want to do for bracing.

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I made the form.

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As far as wood goes, I bought a board of ambrosia maple that had some nice flame in it.  I marked off the pieces that I wanted and resawed it to size.  Finally got to use my new bandsaw for something heavy duty, and it worked like a champ.  I cut a total of 4 sets from this board.

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There are also some orphan (non book matched) pieces, as I was able to get 5 slices from the thickness.  I will make a test guitar box with those so i can play with some new things Ive been thinking about, as well as some brace options. Here are the two sets I’ll use for these guitars.

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As far as the rest of the wood goes, I laid it all out.  Cherry for necks.  Basswood for neck and heel blocks as well as linings.  Walnut, cherry and maple for binding, purfling and rosette.  Of course the ambrosia back and sides.

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Looking at all of this, I realized that minus the cedar and spruce, which is from British Columbia, the rest of the wood is local.  That being the case, I may go for a local wood for the fretboards and bridges.  It would be cool for the majority of these guitars to be made from materials that came from within a 50 mile radius.

Ok.  More for next time.

 

A bit more than making a new bridge

This is my dad’s first and, if I’m not mistaken, only guitar.

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Its a Harmony archtop, probably from the mid 50’s.  Dad just told me he got it in third grade.  This has been moved around a bunch.  I had it for a few years and most recently my sister had it.  I just got it back with the intention of making a new bridge for it and cleaning it up a bit.  Turns out that it needed much more.

The neck dovetail was pulling out, which cracked the side.  I later found out it cracked the neck block as well.

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So I decided to see what I could do with it, both for experience, and so it was playable and not destined for the trash.  This was a first for me.  He’s what I did, in pictures:

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Well, that was exciting.  I used hot hide glue for all repairs.  I put the neck back on.  Nice and straight.

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Now on to making the new bridge, in pictures:

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The finish was pretty rough.  I could have spent a ton of time on it or even refinished it.  Not being a valuable instrument, I just did some minor touch ups.

It plays much better then it ever did.  The ridiculously high action that I always remembered is gone and it plays and sounds pretty well.

Glad I gave that a shot.

Shop lighting upgrades

Before polishing the guitars, I decided to upgrade some shop lights.  I have very poor natural light in my shop unfortunately.

I stole two task lamps from above one of my benches.

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I had a thrown together lamp that I would roll around.  I made a new base and added the two additional task lamps.  I even made the center one on a height adjustable pole.

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Over the bench, I made some new pendants from some old high bay lighting fixtures that were destined for the scrap yard.

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Now just to experiment and find the right bulbs, especially for the portable lamp.  I’d like it bright enough to do surgery if I turn them on. 

Finished Guitars

Gallery

This gallery contains 14 photos.

I guess I neglect to update every so often. My first three steel string guitars, and my 3rd, 4th and 5th total, are finished.  Took quite a while.  I used micro mesh to polish out the lacquer after it cured. … Continue reading

Intermission for non guitar stuff

While my lacquer was curing for two weeks I took the opportunity to do a couple things around the house.

I installed an automatic gate opener for my drive way.  Of course I picked a particularly cold week to run 125′ of partially buried power cable and bug together a bunch of electrical connections.  Oh well… its done.  No pics.  Not that exciting, except to me, not having to get in and out of the car a few times every time I want to leave the house is a pleasure.

Another project on the back burner for about 2 years was restoring an old copper fixture that was original to my house.

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I guess when having electric lighting was a status symbol, this was probably extravagant with 16 bulbs in it. Originally in the dining room, the bulbs were facing down and exposed, and it hung about 8” off the ceiling. I ended up moving some fixtures around and replacing this with a much nicer chandelier from another room.  I decided to restore, then install the fixture upside down, so the leaves would show and drop it about 2′ off the ceiling.

About 2 years ago I pulled this out of the basement and took it apart. Most of the copper leaves needed to be resoldered where they met the center hub. I guess the weight over the years took its toll. That was about as far as I got.

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Yes, I use my buffing wheels in the paint booth.  Keeps the dust down.  I still wear a respirator though.

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The brass sockets are my favorite part.  No one will see them with its hung upside down, but they just don’t make parts like this anymore.  The Edison and other text makes it even better, besides how well made and solid they are.  Only rewiring some of the bulbs, there are an additional 8 short sockets that I didn’t polish up.  They are in a box with the remaining sockets if I need spare parts.

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The copper leaves came out well. They are definitely hand hammered.  Each one is a bit different.  Those creases are hard to get into, and they like to hold excess buffing compound.

Came out pretty well.  I only wired 4 sockets and it was still a pain in the butt and a tight fit.  Maybe I was a bit overzealous using 14 gauge to each bulb and a 12 gauge feed? Only used 40 watt bulbs and its almost too bright for me.  Guess I need a dimmer.

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