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

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.

IMG_9107

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.

IMG_9109 IMG_9184

I made the form.

IMG_9133 IMG_9162

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.

IMG_8813 IMG_9177

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.

IMG_9181 IMG_9180

 

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.

IMG_9260

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.

 

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.

 

Last of the rosette nonsense.

I was pretty happy with the last two rosettes.  Especially the channels, which came out really clean.  I’m not sure if I could have done any better with a router.

Nice and clean, all with hand tools.

Nice and clean, all with hand tools.

Oh, and what do I see… another tiny plane….giggles… how cute!  Despite how damn adorable these are, they are real tools.  Used the block plane to flatten out the bulk.  It was like pushing a toy car around a racetrack.  Sharp little sucker made some nice shavings.

Precious little sharp cutie!

Close up of the last rosette.  Only difference with this one is the cherry purfling to match the cherry guitar.  The others were flamed maple.  This shows the lutz spruce a bit better, which is absolutely gorgeous.  Tight grain, nice medullary rays.  I hope my finish will do it justice.

3rd rosette

And a pic of all three before final sanding to thickness and cutting out the soundholes.

Three tops

On to the bracing now.  I’d love to say I split it all, but there were a few minor knots to work around.  Split bracing ensures quartered grain, which is the stiffest and most stable, and is very important on braces which need to be as light and as strong as possible.  I split the billet along a grain line, planed the side flat, and used that side to band saw my brace material with the proper grain orientation.

splitting bracing

I hope to have these tops braced up, or almost all braced up by early next week.

Knives, skews and awls…oh my.

Image

Results of my quick tool making project.

Those two handle carving knives look odd, like the blade should be bigger, or the handles should be for one hand.  I used 1/2” x 1/8” W1, which was all I had.  Guess I’ll try them out.  I can always cut the bottoms off to make a couple flamed maple file handles.

The awl and marking knife are for my Dad for Father’s Day.  Does he need them?  No.  Will he use them? Maybe.  Will they look nice in one of his tool drawers? Probably.  Does it beat a crappy card? Yes.

Oh and I really labored making those ferrules from solid copper bar stock on the lathe…cough, plumbing department, cough…