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.



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.



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.



Then the logs were sliced and sorted.



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



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.



Inside and outside sanding block to fit.



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.


Then a chisel, followed by a mini router plane.  




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.



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



First rosette done and scraped close to flush.



Second rosette installed.  This one in a cedar top.



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



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



Inside detail of finished rim.



Finished rim.  Minus soundport.



The tops and backs were joined.

The bracing was split and prepped.


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.



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.



And purfling.



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.


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.


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.


Finished Guitars


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

Some catching up to do here

I guess I’ve progressed a bit and neglected to post.

All three guitars were fretted, sanded, pore filled where needed, and coated with shellac prior to finishing.







I bought an HVLP gun.  My finish is KTM9 waterborne lacquer.  Cleaned up the basement and added some plastic sheeting to make my spray booth bigger.  Then gave it a shot.  first time using a spray gun.



5 coats of a 50% lacquer 50% alcohol mix.  Then I had to drop fill these nasty little divots.





Took longer than expected.  Some trial and error on spraying, then how much to drop fill.  I was hoping to finish before I left town for two weeks, but that didn’t happen.  I should be sanding and doing more (and the last) coats the first guitar soon.  Then followed by the next two.  Then on to bridges while the finish cures for two weeks before I can wet sand.

Here is where I left them before I left town a couple weeks ago.


Progress report… still binding.


As much work as it is, I’m glad I do a few at a time.  Each one I do, learn something that I apply to the next one before I forget it.  For example, after the purfling goes on, I’ve really started to clean the binding ledges much better.  Seems obvious, but its hard to determine what extents to go through with out a little trial and error.  I started to use a scraper with a back light.  My new motto is: if I can see the light, it won’t be tight.  My new alternative motto is: if I can see a gap, it will look like crap. My pg-13 motto is: make it fit, or it will look like shit.  Maybe I spend too much time by myself in the shop.


The binding and graft are done on the second flamed maple guitar.  A pic of the channel mid-excavation is included for your viewing pleasure (yay, get excited).


Ledges and purfling are done on the third guitar, that’s the cherry one.  Been kicking around several ideas for the graft.  Just decided on a different one in the car this morning.  Lots of little miters again.  Cut it and installed this morning.  Waiting for it to dry dry before continuing with binding, which I hope to finish this evening.


If all goes well, I should have all three cleaned up tomorrow.  Minus sanding, which I will save for glue drying periods when I work on the necks.