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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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.

 

Got some exciting mail today…

The tops for the Gibson build arrived.  I got three sets of Lutz spruce for these, though I will only use two.  This comes from British Columbia.  The supplier I bought from gives a name to all the trees that he cuts from and each tree has different qualities.  This one is called “palladium”, some is on the redder side in color.  This is fairly fresh, and even thought they are 3/16″ thick,  I’ll have to dry them in the oven.  Cooking at 200 degrees for about an hour simulates years of aging and is a common technique.

Lutz Spruce tops

To make the shipping worthwhile I added some very nice choco-cedar tops to my order.  Not sure what I’ll make with these but I’ll hold on to them.  They are really high grade tops and I got them for a great price.

Choco Cedar tops

Under all the tops is spruce billets for bracing.  This is lutz spruce as well.  Supposedly the sapwood makes the strongest braces, that’s why you see the bark on them.

New stack of tonewood

I’m super excited about this stuff, minus the Martin stuff I stumbled on, this is my first purchase of fine tonewood.  Now I need to make more shelving in the shop.  I plan on keeping all the tops in there.

 

 

Kerfing- the verb

Did a bit more today.  Slept till 9:00 which is surprisingly late for me, but I’ve been sleeping poorly for the past few nights.  Early mornings are my most productive time, but I was still able to accomplish some things.  Helped that it was super hot out and I didn’t even want to walk outside.

Trimmed up both sided of the body.  Final shaped my heel and tail blocks. Then I glued them on.  I’m trying to use as much hot hide glue this time as I can.  I was a bit worried as I’ve never really used it before.  Seems to be OK despite my wavering attitude about it over the course of the day.

HIde glue initiation

 

Gibson OO sides

Planed down and notched my basswood kerfing strips.  I decided to add a thin reinforcement band on the inside.  This is fairly common now, but definitely a departure from the 1937 plan.  Found some cedar strips that were about the right height so I cut them to size.  Cedar was not my original plan, but it was there, and I think a bit of contrast from the all light wood interior will be nice. Plus it will make the guitar smell really good.

I almost talked myself out of hide glue for the kerfing, but decided to go for it.  Gluing is definitely a much different experience.  You have to be fast!  But you don’t need to wait long till it sets up.  Glued my kerfing strips on.  While they set up I prebent the cedar, which burns really quickly.  Had to scrape off a lot of burn marks.  Then I glued up the cedar strips.

Kerfing

Pulled off the high tech clamps and will let it sit overnight.  I need to clean up the top with a plane and I’ll probably profile the cedar to a slight taper.

Soundboard kerfing

Next I move the form to the other side, plane the slope on the back and do the same kerfing, etc… on the other side.

 

Wood shopping therapy

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Still french polishing. Getting close to letting the first guitar cure for a week.
In the mean time I went to a local sawmill this morning. Oh boy. Mostly looking for neck and binding material. I picked up some cherry, hard maple, and flamed maple from local trees. And a board of ginkgo just for kicks.
They also had quite an array of exotics. Got some Spanish cedar and a big board of bloodwood.
Really nice local mill prices. The exotics were just over half the total cost. Now I need to figure out what to use it for.
I could do serious damage here on the cheap if I felt like digging through stacks. Maybe later.

Trunk full o’ cedar

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Drove down to NC to visit my best friend and his girl for a few days. Another friend and his wife live about 30 minutes away. Stopped by there for a visit yesterday. He gave me a trunk full of local cedar. Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet. There are some decent size boards in there. He also gave me a couple different cacti pads, one from a big prickly pear. Looking forward to trying to grow those at home.
Had a fantastic pork cheek BBQ sandwich. And local rabbit sausage which I tried unsuccessfully to purchase.
I predict the 8 hour drive home in a couple days will have lower gas mileage but smell pretty good.