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Thicknessing the top

I began to thickness the top.
The bridge area was about 2.5 mm the perimeter was about 2.2 to 2.3 mm.
For the upper bout I leave it thick at close to 3 mm.
I need to leave some thickness for final sanding.
Hmm maybe I should do a thickness mapping for reference.

Thicknessing using block plane.

Bridge area thickness about 2.5 mm

Outer perimeter about 2.2 mm

Sanding away the plane marks.

I also weigh the current weight of the top; it's about 141.3g a bit on the heavy side I think.

Weight 141.3g

I layed the top on the solera to check out the dimension and doming.
Seems ok.
Top on my new solera

The elevated neck portion

The doming part

I thin the upper bout to a max thickness of 2.5 mm and re-weigh the top it came about 133.3g.
Now with the bracing it should fall between 175 to 180g?
I better cut the bracing and weigh the total weight before gluing.

Top weight after thinning the upper bout to 2.5mm.

Cutting the sound hole on the top

I use the same cutter and cut out the soundhole.
I set the size at 82 mm diameter and cut one side and turn over and cut the other side.

After that I insert the spruce patch to cover the part of the rosette channel that was not inlayed.

Cutting on one side

Turn over and cut with the same radius

Top view


Cleaning up the section; chisel away the excess purfling lines.

Test fit the patch

Glue the patch

Leveling it


The completed top.


Nomex and Redwood top

I bought some more stuff from LMI.
This time round: a nomex and red wood top.
Well sometime in the future I am going to try making the double top (composite top)

Here are the pics

Nomex: it's very light

Close up of the nomex. You can see the honeycomb structure.

Red top below WRC on top.

Inlay the rosette

I began to inlay the rosette.
The steps are quite simple but it's always daunting to do something that intricate.
I had to take precautions for protecting the top from accidental dings.

The video which I watch from Robbie O'Brien's online lesson is very helpful in this respect.
The video describes all the minute but important details of doing the rosette inlay.
I simply followed the steps in that video in inlaying the rosette.

First of all, I drill the center hole for on the top onto the board.
Make sure there are no debris on the board that will damage the top.

Drill the center hole

Then I measure the rosette inner diameter and divide it by 2 to get the radius.
Note that we are dealing with radius when we set the circular routing jig.
So the diameter value must be divided by 2 if not we get a double size rosette channel...

Measure the inner diameter

Set the circular jig. Remember length is the diameter divided by 2.
Also it is measured from center of pin to router bit edge nearer to the pin.

Then I set measure it and set the circular jig just inside of the radius.
I test cut the jig make sure the depth is correct at the top of the board where the fret board will cover the top, so that any mistakes will not be seen.
The depth I have set was too deep 1.5mm initially and so I set to 1mm instead.

Test cut at the top part of the top.

Check the rosette fit.

Following that I started routing the the inner circle.
And repeat the same for the outer circle.
Note the measurement on the jig for inner arc is from center of pin to the edge of the router bit closer to the pin.
For outer arc, the measure is from center of the pin to the outer edge (away from the pin) of the router bit.

Inner arc done

Measure the outer diameter (divide / 2 to get the radius)

Test cut for outer arc

Outer arc done.

Then I route in between the outer and inner arc and remove the rest of the material using my sharpened chisel.
Route the in between.

Removing the waste by chisel

The chisel must be sharpened to get optimal results.

After that I check the fit for the rosette.
I have cut a bit too small but that's alright since I can always enlarged the channel but I can't reduce the channel.
So after enlarging the channel I check the fit for the rosette.
It was a snug fit.
The only mistake which I made was to cut the circular jig in a circular manner.
I should have cut from top to left and right side and from bottom to left and right side.
This will prevent the chip out.
Nonetheless that's OK, I have to inlay the borders with purfling too.
(That's one way to save the rosette if you make the channel slightly too wide: inlay thicker purfling to cover the extra space.)

Check for fit

I use HHG again for the gluing of the rosette.
I apply the glue and push the rosette into the channel and put a wax paper on top and some weights on top of the rosette.
But after that I decide to clamp it down instead with clamps.
Preparing to glue the rosette

Applying the glue to the channel

Pressing in the rosette into the channel

Wax paper on the rosette and board on top.

Weights to weigh down the rosette

But change to use clamp instead.

After some time I started to level the rosette with my block planes.
I use 2 block planes the LA Stanley sweetheart block plane and my MJF HA block plane.
The HA block is very effective in reducing tear-out.
But I had to sharpen the blade before I use it.

Finally after an hour of work I manage to level the rosette.

My LA block

HA block

Always remember to clear the debris regularly to protect the top.
Also I have used a vanguard sheet to protect the lower bout.

At various stage of lowering the rosette

At various stage of lowering the rosette

At various stage of lowering the rosette

Finally leveled.

The debris

Rosette done. (Back lit)

Can see the jagged edge on the 1st and 3rd quadrant of the circle.
That's due to cutting into the grain.
Well when I route the channel for the purfling I must remember to go along the grain.

After successfully inlay the main rosette, I began to route the channel for the surrounding purfling.
This time round I remember to go in along the grain and not against the grain.
I.e. From top to 2 sides and from bottom to 2 sides and finally one pass whole round to smooth-en out any kinks.

Next to come how to inlay and glue the purfling.
Preparing to route the purfling channel. Again I start from the top.

From top to side.

Channel done. No jagged edges this time round :)

Red and white border I am thinking to add a black in between

Or alternate purfling?

Finally decide on this scheme.
I enlarged the channel to accommodate this red white black white red purfling.

Applying the HHG

After it dried I started to plane away the purfling.

Looking good

Level with the rosette

Inner channel

Disaster struck...
The purfling wasn't sitting into the channel fully. (too narrow)
I had to remove the purfling widen the channel and retry.
But the purfling was soaked and bloated...

Re-glue the purfling

Close up

Some gaps...

As what I have expected the gaps are quite bad.
I tried planing it level to see the effect and it's really bad.
So i decdied to route it away and put more purfling strip
To fit the gap I use 2 red and one 1 white.
After ensure the fit, I proceed to use HHG again.

Gaps seen quite clearly

Problem is the gap is not consistent.

Preparing to route.

Bigger gaps ready for new purfling

Glued. Now to wait for it to dry and trim. Hopefully this will work out

It didn't work out. The white purfling did not sit propperly in the channel.

I had to reroute the channel but now the channel becomes 6mm wide instead of the 4mm at the outer rim.

Channel cleaned.

I had to rethink what to do with this rosette since I cant go for the symmetry path, I had to think of different but interesting concentric design for the rosette.

One way is to add MOP / Abalone piece and fill with black epoxy.
But does that look weird?

In the end I decided to make it symmetrical.
Asymmetric rosette just look weird to me.
I found the herring bone purfling just fit the extra width.
The channel was 7mm: the red white black white black sums to 3.5mm and herringbone is 3.5mm.
I use the manual cutter which gives me more control to widen the channel slightly a bit.
And use my heater gun and bending iron to prebend the herringbone.
Now the rosette is very big.
But it looks nice to me ;) (nicer than asymmetric rosette)

Bending the herring bone

Holding the purfling to shape

Similarly for the colored purfling.
The circle disc are cut to the same radius as the circle that they are supposed to be inlayed to.

Dry fitting the rosette

Applying the glue. I use PVA white glue this time round for longer work time.

Gluing in the rosette. I flood the purfling with glue so that it will seep in between the veneers.

With the outer border. The rosette looks v big now.

My manual cutter parts. Originally a winged nut is used.
But the nut got sucked up by my vacuum ... and I cant find it in the bin.
It's the same very I used to cut the purfling on my #1

Assembled version.

In action (The winged nut was still there before it got sucked up by my vaccum cleaner...)

After the glue had dry I began to trim the purfling.
The left side end was not glued down properly so I apply some glue and clamp it.
Once it had dried a bit I began to trim down completely.
The inner arc was successful.
Now I use my purfling cutter to cut and inlay the outer herringbone.
There is some chiseling to do but the cutter was very precise and fine.
Luckily I didn't use the router to route the outer arc if not the outer purfling would be destroyed.
Once the channel was ready, I applied the glue and inlay the outer herringbone.
Hope it works out fine.

Trimming the inner arc

Gluing and clamping down the left corner which wasn't glued properly.

Trimming down the excess purfling

Close up shot

Scribing the outer arc

Fully scribed the arc.

Chiseling the channel

Another view of chiseling the channel.

Dry fit of the purfling

Applying PVA white glue to the channel

Glue in

Put wax paper over the rosette

Clamp it tight and hope for the best.

After the I release the clamp the upper corner wasn't sit in the channel properly.
So with some coaxing and re-gluing and clamping it was done.
That corner won't matter much as along as it's leveled as it will be covered by the fingerboard.
After that I proceed to inlay a spruce patch (from the cutoff) to cover the top part of the rosette channel not covered by the rosette.
And then finally leveled it
Finally after so many incidents, the rosette is done.

The rosetted


Another angle.