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Last July I wrote a couple of posts about making a guitar rosette from spalted beech. But I missed the opportunity to photograph some of the details of its construction and, since I’ve been making some similar rosettes recently, I thought it might be useful if I had a second attempt at explaining the method.

For reasons that I’ve discussed before, I like the visual effect of rosettes made by inlaying wood with contrasting colours or a striking figure and often use this technique when making guitars.

These rosettes are made from at least 2, and usually many more, individual pieces and I’ve found that it’s much easier to assemble them accurately on a base of thin birch plywood (0.4mm or 0.6mm thick*) than it is to inlay them directly on the soundboard. Because the plywood is so thin, it too needs a stable base during the assembly process. But, of course, it must be possible to remove this base when assembly is complete. I start with a square of 6mm MDF, a similarly sized sheet of clean paper and the square of  plywood that will be the permanent base of the rosette.

One surface of the square of MDF is given a thin coat of hot hide glue.

The sheet of paper is then smoothed down…

…before adding a second coat of glue…

Glueing up 3

and the layer of plywood.

The whole thing is then clamped up in a nipping press and left to dry overnight.

If you don’t have a press, a flat board and a weight work just as well.

The point of the paper and the hot hide glue is that, after it has been assembled, the rosette is easy to detach from the MDF base. In another post, I’ll show the next stages of the process.

*This sort of plywood is used by model makers and, at least in the UK, is easily available from the sort of shops that supply materials for people who build model aeroplanes.

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