Updated: Sep 6
I've been very busy of late with non-guitar related work, house renovations, garden landscaping and the like. I've also been busy in the workshop working on various projects that I have had sitting on some metaphorical shelf, that is sitting around the workshop waiting for me to find the time and inclination to tackle them. As well as all that I have re-jigged the workshop creating more space and allowing for more organisation. When I did get back to the art of lutherie I spent some time designing and making rosettes for coming guitars, the following photos cover these various projects plus two new guitars....let's start with the new instruments!
2023 ES spruce with Spanish quilted poplar back & sides, wenge binding, Indian ebony fingerboard and headplate & Spanish cedar neck,; the bridge is Macassar ebony. The rosette is a simple box pattern in black veneer and maple squares framed with a chain of sycamore rectangles. The tuners are Waverly with black barrels and ebony buttons.
The poplar was very interesting to work with and as a tonewood has yielded a beautiful resonant guitar. Combined with the spruce it creates a clarity with chiming trebles and deep sonorous basses, definitely a wood I would use again, if I can find any, this is a real one off!
The next guitar is a 2023 RE cedar top with Indian rosewood back & sides, rosewood bindings with quilted cedar purfling, the fingerboard and headplate are Indian ebony. The neck is Spanish cedar and the bridge is Indian rosewood. The rosette is ebony and cedar using my spinning motif but this time the motif is cased in ebony rectangles framed with a chain of black and cedar. The tuners are Waverly with black rollers and ebony buttons. The RE model has the half 20th fret which I make from carbon fibre to preserve the visual symmetry.
This instrument is very resonant with a big and lush sound, purring basses and strong clear trebles. Both guitars are French polished and come with a Hiscox ProII Liteflite case. They will be available from DK Classical Guitars from early September this year(2023). www.dkclassicalguitars.com
Now onto the most recent rosettes and the various backs I have currently assigned to each.
Exploring the spinning motif design using boxwood and ebony, framed with a chain of long rectangles also using box and ebony. I think the contrast with the cedar top is quite striking.
I've paired the cedar top with this very old Mexican cocobolo back. It has a flamed ebony centre piece with a beautiful cream stripe through the middle. I bought this piece of coco in Spain in 1998 making it 25 years air dried, not bad!!
Next up we are moving to triangles; this time in a spruce top. The woods used here are bloodwood, ebony, boxwood for the centre tiles and the banding is made up of little maple triangles in a series of woods including ebony, rosewood, mahogany, cedar and others. This rosette was a in my head for a long time, I made two, the other one is currently in the hands of the greatly talented Ian Watt, here's a link to him playing it in his series of tutorials, essential to any budding classical guitarists. https://www.youtube.com/@iwattguitar
This one paired easily with this Nicuraguan cocobolo, the bloodwood picks out the colours in the coco beautifully and the European spruce matches perfectly with the sapwood centre strip. This will make a stunning guitar!
Now back to the spinning motif only this time a little different using cedar and ebony to create the arms of the motif. The centre square is bloodwood and the columns separating the motif is Australian jarrah, it almost looks like the motif is in the background running behind the columns! The banding either side is a simple rope pattern, subtle and clean.
The back I have selected for this top is Honduran rosewood with a Spanish cedar strip down the centre, the colours match the rose well and the cedar top sits nicely in-between the two I think?
Next is a spruce top with a spinning motif rosette where I have again used boxwood and ebony. This time I framed the motif in black and then box and used ebony for the columns which meets the black lines surrounding each motif. The banding either side of the motif is also ebony and box. It sits well in the spruce soundboard.
I currently have this top paired with this quite unique back & sides set made from Brazilian tigerwood. I bought this back and sides while living in Spain in 2006/7 so it's not far off 20 years old!
Continuing with another cedar top and the spinning motif; once again tweaking the arms with a bit of angle to create more spinning effect. again I used ebony and boxwood throughout this rose and inlayed it into a cedar top
For the back and sides I have chosen Mexican bocote with an ebony strip in the centre. The colour match between the rose and the back and sides was fairly obvious but I'm also taking into account the change that will occur in the bocote. As it ages it will darken but I think this will be well complimented with the rich warmth of the cedar. Another stunning combination.
A return to triangles in this beautiful spruce top. The grain on this top is quite wide and some frown upon that but the lateral stiffness is exceptional and I know this will make a fantastic guitar. The rosette is made using cedar and ebony.
I've chosen Amazon rosewood for this top, I love the rich chocolate colours of this wood, it sounds great too. The colour match between the rosette works well and the spruce top compliments the sap centre strip in the back.
That's the rosette designs and the ideas I have for coming instruments, I hope you like them.
Now here's some photos covering the other projects I've been working on.
I made this bending iron, the process is covered in a previous blog but here is the finished item, well almost finished, it's not working quite as I want it to so needs a bit of work but overall I'm pleased with the results.
The bending apparatus family. The old refurbished iron, the bending machine and the new iron.
My new slot router for routing the slots in the headstock. I now have one for the first route then this one for a finishing route. This means I don't need to change the router bit but can just move to the finishing router. The apparatus is mounted on a walnut base to give the arms clearance.
The finished, or nearly finished item. I would like to add dust extraction at some point, or at least something to stop it flying everywhere.