Carving the Grand Rosette

All preparations for carving are now complete. We begin cutting into the top for the soundhole rosette.

First, the template is routed out. I use a Dremel Multi-Pro Model 395 Type 5. This model of the Dremel tool has an improved back bushing which considerably improves shaft runout and tool chatter. I begin with a 1/8" tool, then move to a 3/32", then 1/16", then lastly to a 1/32" tool to carry machine routing as far as possible. These miniature router bits have a very long cutting-depth/tool diameter ratio, so you can get deep even with the 1/32" tool. The router bits are available from Midwest Circuit Technology, miniature cutting tool. The router base is available from Luthier's Mercantile (much superior to the one from Dremel).


Next, I refine the corners of the pattern with an X-acto knife. (The sharpest blades come from Woodcraft, Parkersburg, WV (800) 225-1153.) Be sure to back-relieve the corners, to enhance their definition. To carve the back relief, turn the top over and extend the corners into V-cuts. Also, chamfer the edges of the vines a bit. Note the smudged black paint on the outer margin. The lower edges are painted flat black, to match the inner black inlay on the top.


Each member gets a series of cuts which defines it as round, vine-like, and sinuous. Keep sharp blades in your knife from now on. You will spend about three hours on each rosette in this stage, and you don't want to blow all that investment on a ragged knife edge. In the illustration at left, the fine carving has progressed about two thirds of the way. (The white areas are the remnants of the paper template.) At the right, carving is halfway complete.

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