A rosewood back with an olive wood strip

I got the idea for the back while I was working on the rosette. As I was putting was away some of the olive wood, I piled it on the rosewood plates I had for the back. The two types of wood looked great together. I decided to make an olive wood strip through the centre seam of the back. There were different ways to do this. One was to glue the joints together, cut a channel along the seam and then insert the inlay. An easier, less time consuming method (I think) was to create olive wood pieces as thick as the plates and glue them in between. That’s what I did, in these steps:

1. I prepared the olive wood pieces: I cut them to size and then decide on the order, so that the wood grain pattern connected nicely from one piece to the next. I made sure that the glueing side of each piece was flush and straight so that they connected properly to each other as well as the side plate.

2. Then I straightened the edge of one of the plates: for this I used a long Stanley jointer plane, set to a very fine cut.

3. After this I placed the olive wood pieces along the flush side of the back plate and checked for any gaps.

4. I glued the pieces to the back plate using masking tape to compress them while the glue was drying. Here’s what it looked like (masking tape removed):

Rosewood back plate with olive wood strip

Rosewood back plate with olive wood strip

5. I repeated steps 2 -4 for the other back plate. Here you can see the masking tape I used to keep the plates compressed while glueing:

Glueing the back plates

Glueing the back plates, compressed together with masking tape

After glueing the olive wood, I planed the back to around 2.5mm thickness. To avoid tearing out the olive wood, I first levelled it slightly below the rosewood using a scraper so I could plane the rosewood without hitting the olive wood:

Rosewood back with olive wood strip, planed to thickness

Rosewood back with olive wood strip, planed to thickness. Guitar outline was traced on using the template.

Then I sawed out the back using a coping saw, following the outline of my template.

Here’s the end result!

The rosewood back, sawn to shape

The rosewood back with olive wood centre, sawn to shape and ready for bracing


4 thoughts on “A rosewood back with an olive wood strip

    • it’s a classical model. i built my first guitar without any previous experience with wood. although, it did take me over 3 years and I did have some excellent supervision

    • Hi,
      I use a basic white PVA glue for all my woodworking. For guitar building I don’t use the waterproof variety. This makes any future repairs easier since the PVA can be softened with steam.
      thanks for stopping by!

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