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.

IMG_9322

 

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.

IMG_9348

 

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.

IMG_9349

 

Then the logs were sliced and sorted.

IMG_9430

 

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

IMG_9371

 

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.

IMG_9448

 

Inside and outside sanding block to fit.

IMG_9452

 

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.

IMG_9495

Then a chisel, followed by a mini router plane.  

IMG_9500

 

IMG_9502

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.

IMG_9505

 

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

IMG_9510

 

First rosette done and scraped close to flush.

IMG_9513

 

Second rosette installed.  This one in a cedar top.

IMG_9528

 

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

IMG_9629

 

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

Should be closing these up soon.

Advertisements

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.

IMG_9242

 

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.

IMG_9531

 

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.

IMG_9541

 

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.

IMG_9552

 

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.

IMG_9279

 

Inside detail of finished rim.

IMG_9597

 

Finished rim.  Minus soundport.

IMG_9568

 

The tops and backs were joined.

The bracing was split and prepped.

IMG_9605

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.

IMG_9612

 

Better final fixture.

IMG_9625 IMG_9628 IMG_9624

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

Here is the binding.

IMG_9307

 

And purfling.

IMG_9326

 

I’ll make a separate post on the rosette.

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

Building bridges

I finally finished the lacquering on three guitars.  Now they need to cure before I can wet sand them.  I’ve been doing some odds and ends while I’m waiting.  Just a little guitar stuff, like the bridges.

I roughed out the bridge blanks a couple weeks ago.  To slot for the saddle I decided to make a fixture that held them at an angle.  The router sits in the fixture with very little play.  The length of cut is set by the stops on the end.  To hold the bridge in place I made a couple wedges.  Yes thats right folks… dual wedge action!

IMG_7893

Then I measured the nut and 19th fret on each guitar and laid them out on paper (they were pretty close) to make sure my string spacing was ok.  Since I had three, I made a drilling template.  Of course I used plexiglass, which seems to be my favorite.  For precision, I like to scribe things, and plexi scribes really well.  I laid out a center line and scribed distance from the rear of the bridge to the pin centers.  I used a drafting divider to scribe pin centers.  I used these from both outside strings to make sure they matched.  Then I lightly punched the centers and drilled with a brad point bit.

IMG_8445

To align the template, putting the scribe lines down, I matched the template and bridge center lines (this is why I like see through plexi) and made the rear flush, then clamped each end and drilled.

IMG_8455

To shape the wings, I contemplated using a small 1” belt sander I have, but I figured by the time I rigged something up to keep the bridges square, I could be finished.  So I just did them with a rasp and scraper.  It was quiet, no dust flying, and enjoyable.  Also got one of those gunstock vises.  It was really helpful for these.

IMG_8470

I was actually surprised how close I got three of them doing it essentially by eye, but I did gang them together to scrape and sand them even closer.

IMG_8474

I don’t have a countersink for wood, but I sharpened up my metal countersink with a file, then countersunk all the bridge pin holes.

I fit the saddles in place and the ends were marked with a drafting french curve so the saddle looked decent transitioning into the curvature of the bridge wings.

IMG_8477

Then I shaped the ends on a small sanding drum chucked in my drill press.

I sanded the bridges down to 1500 grit.  No finish on the rosewood.  The rest of the saddle shaping and polishing will come later during set up.

IMG_8488

I love the white (and semi dusty) window sill for pictures.  Too bad I can’t photograph anything much bigger than the bridges in there.

Now I wait for the finish to cure for a few more days.  This coming weekend should be two weeks, so I think I should be able to start wet sanding.

 

Expletive, expletive dovetail neck joint

Ok, this was tough.  Probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done so far.

The hand cut dove tail neck joint.

Started my making templates to lay out the pieces.

dovetail templates

Marked the mortise on the body first.

mortise marking

Then cut and chiseled it out.

yikes

Other than the trepidation of taking a saw to a newly finished guitar body, this went pretty smoothly.

The neck then has to be cut at a slight angle to match the angle of the top, in this case about 2 degrees.  Then, using the templates, I marked out the tail on the end of the neck. Cutting to these lines at two different angles is a bit tricky, but luckily they are supposed to be cut oversize and trimmed down to fit.

Then the fitting.  This was the difficult part.  Lots of different things to look for and consider before removing material anywhere.  Dovetail needs to slide in tight and (1)the top of the neck must be flush with the body.  (2)The neck has to be flat to the soundboard top and not twisted in either direction.  (3)Neck has to be centered on the joint and the (4)center line from the neck must be aligned to the center line on the body, no angle left to right.  (5)Then the shoulders, where the neck meets the body, must be flat with no gaps underneath.  Shaving something in one spot could very well change what happens in 1 or more of the other critical areas.

checking twist

So, got that, most of it went fine with a bit of thought.  The flat shoulders were my real issue.  Once I got the dovetail in and all the angles right, my shoulders needed to be improved.  Got those touched up and the neck ended up down too far into the body.  Ok, glued veneer to the tail, let it dry, then started fitting all over again.

fitting

 

Finally got it.

neck dovetail

Not the cleanest thing, but I think it will work.  For a first time, it went OK.  I did learn a lot, which I should help on the next ones… make the shoulders perfectly flat first!

 

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.

Bridge building

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Where’s that confounded bridge? Working on it.  Commence bridge making sequence- Planed to dimension.  The grain in these pieces was really nice, it planed really easily.  Cut the ends square. Marked and scribed the cut lines. Cut depth of wings with … Continue reading

Results of hand chiseled binding a purfling ledges

Image

Here are the hand chiseled binding and purfling ledges on the back of guitar number one. I had to take a few days off and get my head back in a good space to do this detail work. It was not easy. Still some clean up to do.
Overall, I’m not super happy with the binding on this one. Hope to improve on the next.
As much as I’m not a fan of routers, if I make more guitars I will definitely fabricate a nice fixture and go that route.