Rosettes

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
FlyingFred
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:20 pm
Location: Quebec City

Rosettes

Post by FlyingFred » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:26 am

Hi! Just curious as to where you guys source appropriate wood to build rosettes, and how do you size it into these minuscule sticks so that they are of consistant size and can be used for geometric patterns. Thanks!

Alan Carruth
Luthier
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Re: Rosettes

Post by Alan Carruth » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm

Most veneers these days are cut to a standard thickness of .5 mm. The old US standard was 1/28", about .7-.8 mm. It is also possible to get veneers cut to .3 mm. It is surprising how accurately they are cut. It's fairly easy to make a strip cutter to slice the pieces you need. I like to cut the strips to 1 mm wide or more, and then thickness a whole layer once they have been glued up, but that's just my preference. Various colors of natural wood are available, as are dyed veneers in a number of colors, and you can also dye your own if you like. In earlier times people made their own veneers. Some violin makers still make the veneers for purfling strips.

To do this you start with a piece of clear, white wood: Italian poplar is traditional. Prepare a thin plank of a usable length; for violin purfling, say, 1/4" thick by 10" long or so. Set up a sharp plane to take a heavy cut, and use it to 'shoot' strips off the side of the plank. It helps to slightly dampen the wood before you take the cut, which prevents the chip breaker from breaking the wood fibers as the shaving is peeled off. Adjust the plane to take a shaving the desired thickness: for violin purfling that would be about .6 mm for the white line and .3 mm for the black. The thin shavings for the black lines are dyed by boiling them in a solution of ferric acetate (vinegar and nails) and tannin. Strad boiled his in a copper trough: his purfling turns a little green.

Eugene Clarke and Jonathon Peterson published a really useful pair of articles in American Lutherie #71 and #73, Fall of '02 and Spring of '02, which should be out in the appropriate 'Big Red Book' from the GAL.

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geoff-bristol
Amateur luthier
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:31 pm
Location: Bristol - UK

Re: Rosettes

Post by geoff-bristol » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:35 am

They do not have to be a myriad of tiny mosaics.
Many fine rosettes are made from nothing more than rings of different woods - and they come for free on every set of side/neck you do.
Wood for rosettes always surprises me - even at 0.5mm thickness - maple is wildy different to 0.5mm poplar when polished up - and they are both white !
Worth buying in black and maple veneer - as the constant thickness is an asset when doing headstocks etc.
Im tending to lose interest in anything other than black. natural whites and self colour hardwods - ie pear, sapele, walnut, rosewood etc.

FlyingFred
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:20 pm
Location: Quebec City

Re: Rosettes

Post by FlyingFred » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:40 am

Thanks for these replies. Any préférée suppliers for the ore-made stuff?

Stephen Faulk
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Rosettes

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:41 am

The you tube thingy has many videos on how to make rosettes. In 2012 I made one that outlines how to make the most basic kind of rosette decribed in the gal article Alan cited which was co-written by Clark and Peterson.

My videos intention was to walk through the process in almost real time in order to see the tools do the work. It's not fancy.and the production value is home made but adequate. Many people hate the music I picked, but they can turn off the sound.

When Clark was beginning to make guitars again in the late 1990's after a 20 year hiatus he lived near me. I took lessons with him and helped him with a few formative, for me, restoration jobs. He taught me the method in the GAL articles a few years before it was published. You can find the videos, there are three separate ones which deal with the making of a basic rosette without making mosiac tile. When my friend and I made the videos there was not very much content on you tube to help with rosette making and it was very popular. Today it looks dated and home movieish compared to the excellent production quality of many new videos on the topic.

I like rings of Saturn rosettes, just concentric circles of veneer lines, black borders a few simple colors. It's a fine way to go while learning how to cut the rosette channel and install the lines.

With rosettes less is more- fussy over thought out rosettes are often quite dead looking. You can make a compelling rosette that will get much praise by keeping it simple and fairly plain.

There's a few hours worth of good video on YouTube depending on which style rosette you want to make. Keep it simple and focused, high detail and filligree isn't as important as the impact of a well said basic statement.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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geoff-bristol
Amateur luthier
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:31 pm
Location: Bristol - UK

Re: Rosettes

Post by geoff-bristol » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:16 am

I have to make the rosette first - before I start a new guitar. Once I like it - I make a guitar to put it in !

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