Years ago, my dad gave me an olive wood log that had been sawn off an old olive tree. The tree still stands in this garden overlooking the bay of Rosas in L’alt Emporda:
I’ve never used olive wood before. I don’t think it’s widely used on guitars despite being very common in Spain, where so many great classical guitars have been built. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it’s extremely difficult wood to work with, as I’ve since found out. However, I liked the idea of using this log. Knowing exactly where it came from would give the guitar an extra personal touch.
The problem was, I wasn’t sure what to use the log for. It was too small for the fretboard or the bridge. Despite being quite long, the log was twisted, irregular and knotted. This meant I could only get small pieces out of it, but that would make it perfect for inlay work. I decided to see if I could use it for the rosette in some way.
First, I needed to know what the wood looked like on the inside. This way I could allow the material influence the design of the rosette. That meant I had to cut the log open. I used a bandsaw to slice off a 0.5 cm thick slab along the side. It was like discovering a hidden treasure: the pattern of the grain was amazing. Here are some pictures of the result:
This wood was going to be perfect for the rosette and other inlay work on the guitar. More about that soon!