Late last year I posted a thread on one of my guitar builds, and someone noticed the number on the label was #097 - and asked about my plans for guitar #100. Well I'm just putting the finishing touches to #099, and have already made a start on #100.
In most ways this guitar will follow my standard design (if it ain't broke...), but one significant departure is in the tonewoods used. The original plan was to use no tropical hardwoods, and for all the woods used to be FSC certified. In the end I wasn't quite able to source all FSC woods, but the top, back and sides, strutting and some of the decorative parts will be from FSC woods, and the remainder will be non-tropical. I did consider using FSC cedrela for the neck (available from Madinter), but in the end went for walnut. The fingerboard will be bog oak - I've bought a couple of blanks, and they look pretty good. The grain is a bit open, and I had thought I'd want to fill it, but one of my students has just completed a guitar will an oak fingerboard from the same supplier, and actually it looks and feels OK with the open grain. Top will be Euro spruce and the back and sides flamed maple (both FSC from Florinett).
I've also designed a new rosette for this guitar. It uses a traditional end grain central section, and there's an excellent thread here by Paul Micheletti on how these are made. The difference with the one I'm making is that I'll be using veneers that have been thicknessed down to 0.33mm, rather than the standard 0.6mm. This will give a "higher resolution" pattern, and as far as I know, no-one has made an end grain pattern this fine before. Each rosette tile will contain 690 pieces - which will mean the end grain part of the complete rosette will contain approximately 27,600 pieces!
I'm not planning a comprehensive build thread for this guitar, but I will be posting pictures of the rosette construction. So far I've glued up all of the veneer stacks, and have made a jig to accurately cut off the very thin strips from the edges. These strips will be scraped down to 0.33mm, so to avoid much wastage, I'm attempting to cut them at 0.5mm with a fine Japanese saw, so that each strip only uses about 1.2mm from each stack. This way, I should be able to get at least 10 rosettes from the fairly large amount of veneers I've used to make the stacks.
The main issue is going to be accurate alignment of the strips cut from the stacks when gluing up to form the log. I've tried to make all the stacks to the same thickness as accurately as possible, but there's still some variation, and the alignment accuracy needs to be within about 0.15mm for the design to look good. It's not too difficult to make a jig to align the pieces accurately, but the problem is that when you add the glue, the strips expand with the moisture, so they get distorted if they are a tight fit in the jig. This wouldn't be a problem if I could clamp them down very quickly, but with this many parts, it's going to take over 5 minutes to glue them all up before I can clamp the jig down. Should be fun.
Anyway, here's a few photos of the early stages of making the rosette:
More to follow soon...
P.S. There may be a prize (not the guitar!) for the first person to guess the design
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James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK