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.

 

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

I will do my best to stay away from any intended or unintended sir-mix-alot reference in this post. Wish me luck…

Lets just say that my first steel string has a rear exterior.  

Or as some more experienced than myself would say, “its a box”.

I spared you the pics of bracing the back.  Looks very similar to how the front is done, just less complicated.  The center strip goes on first, in this case redwood.  For strength, the grain in the center strip is perpendicular to the grain in the back, which would be impossible with a single piece.  So the center strip is made of multiple short pieces with the seams strategically placed where the back braces cross.  Seems logical to put them on after the braces, right?  Nope, If you want them perfectly straight, its easiest to put them on first, aligned with a straightedge, then notch and chisel out the sections where the braces cross.  Back braces are planed to a very slight arch and this time I glued them up with a stiff piece of foam as a backer so it would flex to the brace contour.

The rim is sanded flat on a big MDF board with sandpaper attached.  Front on these is flat, the back is at an angle, but still sanded flat.  Lots of guitars are sanded to a radius, typically 15’ on the back and 28’ on the front.  This Gibson style is a bit older school and there is minimal doming, which is made simply by the arching of the braces alone.   The rim (sides) are then notched to fit the bracing.  This is also done for the front prior to glue up.

Last glimpse inside the first Gibson OO.

Last glimpse inside the first Gibson OO.

Glued this up on a work board.  Didn’t have the balls to use hot hide glue. I think I need much more experience before I’d feel confident to do a large glue up like this with hot hide glue.  Titebond for the front and the back, I say!  Used clamps on the heel and tail block.  Roped the rest of it down.  I still think that roping is one of the best ways to get even pressure all the way around, and I get a kick out of doing it.

I did sign and date the inside under the soundboard, as this is the last time that’s possible.  No pic of that.  Nobody needs to see my chicken scratch.

All wrapped up like a xmas present.  I’ll open it tomorrow.  The others just need the back braces carved and the rim prepared and I can glue those up.

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Back in action! (or some other cheesy tag line of a similar nature)

 

back?shooting boardwhat was I doing here?

Back??

I was actually fairly unproductive this weekend compared to some.  But I did get a few things done.

Looked at the maple I cut for the backs and decided what grain orientation I liked.  Traced on the pattern and joined the edges.  Object is to see no light through the joint, which is not easy to do.  Joined… then held up to the window… then saw where the light was, touched up, back to window… saw where the light was…  Well, it took a few tries but I got one.

Using hot hide glue has been interesting.  You have less than a minute to spread glue, assemble and clamp.  Maybe more time if the room is hot, so that means I have less time.  Figured my best method was to get one side in place, spread glue on the other, wedge them together and weight the joint so it was even.  I think it looks odd, but worked.  A bonus is that I briefly got to use my other passion… random heavy industrial metal parts.

Tonight I cut out the shape and started to thickness.  I’ve only done this a couple times, but each time I think “damn you, asshole… learn to resaw better!”  I guess I can see why people use drum sanders.  I would imagine most mechanically inclined persons could a set a machine to a specific depth and push a button.  But it takes a very stubborn person to set up a plane and push it 15,000 times.  But its ok, I kind of like spending that kind of time on something, just looking, cutting, sweating, cutting, swearing, feeling, cutting, sweating… It was a good workout too.

Still more to go on this one.  Then, two more… Yay!

Apologies for going off a bit.  I think I’m dehydrated.