The olive wood log for the rosette

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:

Garden in Roses, Catalunya

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:

The olive wood log, sawn in two
Olive wood strips for the inlay

This wood was going to be perfect for the rosette and other inlay work on the guitar. More about that soon!

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6 thoughts on “The olive wood log for the rosette

  1. I also like olive wood. I have turned some and it seems very oily, no surprise there I guess. Lots of olive trees grow where I live in South Australia, not native but they thrive.

    • I find it also gives a nice aroma when you’re working olive wood. Smells a bit like red wine! I’ve been using a scraper to get it smooth, since working with a plane caused so much tear out etc.

      • I’ve got someone on a forum I frequent, using this image of a chunk of olivewood, trying to sell it.

        Did you indeed sell this piece of olivewood like he claims?

      • No, I don’t sell the olive wood. If anyone is using this picture claiming they are selling it, it is a scam.

        By the way, it’s just a tiny piece of wood about two inches in diameter, 5 inches long…

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