Fitting the olive wood inlay into the rosette

After glueing the binding rings into the rosette, I was ready to get the olive wood inlay pieces in place. I previously wrote about how I had prepared these pieces, shaping them roughly to size. There are a number of ways I could have trimmed the inlay to fit the rosette, but here’s how I went about it…

 I began by using a chisel to cut the outer curve of a few inlay pieces, just to see how it would look. I held the pieces against the edge of the rosette to check my progress regularly, cutting thin slices until there were no more gaps:

Trimming the olive wood rosette inlay

Trimming the olive wood rosette inlay

Next I cut the inner curve of one of the inlay pieces until it fit snugly in the rosette channel without having to force it in. I used the resulting inlay piece as a template for the others. I did this by clamping the template against a new piece in a vice. I then trimmed the new piece with a chisel until it was the same size and shape as the template. I also kept checking my progress by holding the new piece against the rosette channel. First though, I decided where each piece would be located within the rosette by arranging the inlay pieces according to the flow of the grain from one piece to the next. This allowed for tiny variations in the width of the rosette channel and ensured that each piece would fit exactly into its final location.
Fitting the olive wood rosette inlay

The first olive wood rosette inlay piece, trimmed to size

After the inner and outer curves of each piece were cut to shape, I trimmed the straight edges to get the pieces to connect to each other nicely. I did this by placing two pieces in the rosette channel and checking for gaps. Using a straight edge to check my progress, I trimmed the sides with a chisel and file until the pieces connected without gaps. I kept an eye on the angle of each edge, to ensure that the twelve pieces would eventually sit evenly across from each other once they were placed in a circle.
After all twelve pieces were trimmed to shape, I glued them in. Here’s the result:
The rosette with the olive wood inlay glued in place

The rosette with the olive wood inlay glued in place

I’m pleased with how it looks so far. It was fun to fit each inlay piece by hand, using a chisel, rather than cutting them in a mechanical way. Some pieces were tricky to cut due to the direction of the wood grain. There’s a couple of small mistakes, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a bit of wax, or sawdust mixed with glue.

The next step is to reduce thickness of the inlay to get it flush with the cedar top. I’ll write more about this as the work progresses.

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6 thoughts on “Fitting the olive wood inlay into the rosette

  1. I spend a lot of time on the road now but in my heart of hearts I am always in my shop doing one sort of woodworking or another. I certainly appreciate the time, skill, and talent required to make musical instruments even though I have never made one.

    • I know the feeling: when I’m on the train, commuting to work I often think of the next steps for whatever I’m working on.
      As for musical instruments, it really is good fun and very rewarding. I highly recommend it. This guitar is for my Dad, and it’s going to be great to see him play it when it’s done.

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