Flattening the rosette and the zen of scraping

After glueing in the olive wood inlay for the rosette, I had to reduce the height of the inlay to create a smooth surface flush with the top wood. The inlay pieces varied in height since I hadn’t been able to get the veneer to an even thickness. Now I had to pay the price for that…

I set to work using a scraper blade. Using a plane or chisel would have been too risky since this could lead to tear-out and ruin the inlay. Since the inlay pieces varied in height, it was tempting to scrape each of the twelve pieces individually until they were flush. That’s how I started, although this resulted in a wavy, uneven surface across the pieces. So I switched to another method: using the scraper to skim the ‘peaks’ in the wood, working along three or more inlay pieces per stroke. This produced a more consistent and even result. The trick was to push the scraper ‘forward’ across the peaks, instead of ‘digging’ the scraper into the wood.

The olive wood rosette and the scraper blade

The olive wood rosette and the scraper blade

I did occasionally used a chisel around the connecting sides of the inlay pieces, to smoothen the transition from one piece to the next. This prevented the scraper from getting caught on the height differences between the inlay pieces.

Once the thickness of the olive wood was reduced, I realised I still had a fraction of a millimetre to reduce on the inlay strips around the rosette. Here I had to take great care not to scrape and damage the soft spruce top, scraping right to the edge of the rosette with  the curved side of the scraper:

Scraping the olive wood rosette

Scraping the olive wood rosette

Scraping takes time but can yield great results. Its very meditative: best results are achieved by clearing the mind of all thought,  keeping an eye fixed on the scraper and scraping at a slow, steady rhythm. But beware: its hard to stop once you get started!



One thought on “Flattening the rosette and the zen of scraping

  1. Pingback: The finished rosette and cutting the sound hole | Guitar building by hand

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