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.

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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.

 

I never worry, but I have started to fret.

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Started fretting the guitars.  I have two done so far.  These were my first bound fretboards so I had to clip the tang off the fret to go over the binding.  I made a little device based on one I had seen, with some modifications.  I call it the Detanginator.  Worked really well to grind off the tang and dress the bottom.

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All the guitars have been oiled and sealed with shellac.

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One more to fret.  Then to build, locate and mask off the bridges.  Then I should be close to spraying lacquer.  That should be interesting as a first.

 

Progressing… slowly.

After a few days of no real work in the shop, I was able to get a few things done over the past few days.

Fit up my third dovetail neck.  Paid close attention and used some quick gauges to make sure the angles were consistent.  Best of the three.  These will be final fit once the heels are carved.

neck dovetail 3

Routed the slots for the truss rods.  Made use of my binding fixture with a temporary fence.

improvised router table

Glued up some headstock veneer from scraps that came off the back material.

Veneer book matching

Trued up three rosewood fingerboards from the Martin wood stash.  Made a new 24.75” scale template for my home made fret slotting fixture.  Then proceeded to slot the boards.

home made slotting fixture

 

fretboards

Next step is tapering, sanding to radius and binding on the fretboards.  Then on to thicknessing the headstocks and laminating on front and back veneers.

The necks are neck and neck… and neck?

Jeez, did I just type that?  And will I leave it in?  If so, pardon me,  I’m tired and delirious.

Necks.  Yes.  Almost there.

Bullet point list to reduce potential risk for bad puns:

– laminated 3 strips of mahogany for each neck board.  Did that sometime earlier.  Maybe when tops were drying?

Neck boards

– Laid out the board for scale length, etc… not exciting, picture a board with lines drawn on it.*

– Made a very fancy and elaborate jig for the band saw to cut a 14 degree scarf joint.  I did the last ones with hand tools.

Fancy jig

– Once cut, the cut pieces are placed on top of one another and trued up or flattened (being square is given in all these steps).  Cut was smooth, so sandpaper worked pretty quickly to level everything.  Hand plane is another way to go.

Flattening

– Short piece of the scarf joint is flipped over and put under the longer side, thus making an angled peg head.  Clamped and glued ON the bench.  Use wax paper underneath to avoid gluing TO the bench.**  Stops on the bench placed to keep the joint from sliding out of place.

Scarf gluing

– Excess length on the long end of the neck is cut down into shorter sections and stacked to make the heel.  This is then glued into place at the proper spot.*  Lots of things clamped down to keep things from sliding.  Glue is surprisingly slippery.

Heel stack

– Neck blanks are ready to be cut to the proper angle to the body and dovetailed in.  I’m not so ready.  Need a fresh start for that.  Also need to make dovetail templates.

Neck blanks

* There is obviously a lot of detail skipped here.  If you want to know how this works… don’t ask me.  Read a book, research online, see how the pros do it, that’s what I do.

** I say this not because I actually glued something to my bench.  Notice that I use clamp cauls in these glue ups.  I usually have one side covered in clear tape to keep glue from sticking to it.  I did have one of these flipped today.  One stuck to the face of the one of the headstocks.  Luckily there was little squeeze out and it knocked right off.  I’m just cautioning…Don’t glue anything down to your bench!

Ok, stop typing and go to bed…