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Rosette & Rosette Inlays (Read 2046 times)
juke
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Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Oct 9th, 2005 at 3:54pm
 
Hi all!  Making my first uke: Spruce top and curly maple back, sides and neck.  I have the mold cut out, the top, back and sides and I was thinking I probably ought to inlay my rosette and then start with the top braces.

That got me to thinking.  What is an easy no frills way to cut the channel for the rosette and then cut the sound hole.  Just wondering what you guys use.  I do not have many tools so I'm looking for something novel..you know like popsicle sticks and an exacto knife or something. Grin

Oh, and what depth do I cut the inlay channel on a .12" top.

Thanks!
Juke
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Todd_Korup
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #1 - Oct 12th, 2005 at 8:59am
 
I think the exacto knife will cut better than the popsicle stick. But seriously....

What tools do you have? Hole saws work well with a drill press (or even a hand drill if you are really careful).  Depending on how thick a channel you want, you can actually cut a channel (about 1/16" wide) with a hole saw, then go to the next size under that to cut the hole. I have a couple of cheapy adjustable ones (under $10 at the hardware store) that I have used this way with pretty good success.  One actually adjusts, and the other has a simple common arbor that the round saw blades of different diameters twist and snap into.

I have also cut sound holes on a scroll saw with a very fine blade (the ones that are made for super-fine work have some "up-cutting" teeth at the bottom, and some regular "down-cutting" teeth on the rest of the blade). These work well, and although they won't give the "perfect" round hole, if you are careful they can be close enough that hardly anyone will ever notice. But that doesn't help the rosette issue.

The rossette channel is tricky to do a good job with hand tools, although (as in the "olden days") it can be done. The hard part is clearing out the channel. You can obviously cut (or score) the outline of your channel with an exacto knife, even fashion a "cutting compass" so you get it nice and round. But to get a uniform depth, and then clear out the channel uniformly is tough.

On another note, what size uke are you building? The top sounds a little thick if it's anything under a Tenor. Might want to consider taking that down some (after your rossette is cut in). If you are going to stay that thick, watch that you don't brace it too heavy. Heavy tops usually make for a "muted uke". Good luck.

That's my few cents worth.
Todd
"The Uker of OZ"
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Todd&&"The Uker of OZ"
 
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juke
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uke's...so much fun in
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #2 - Oct 12th, 2005 at 5:06pm
 
Todd,

Thanks for the reply.  It is a tenor uke and the 1/8" top thickness is something I read about soft uke tops needing to be thicker than hardwood tops.  The plans call for a 2.5" sound hole and the channel for the rosette is 3/16" wide, maybe a hair smaller.

Tools I have: (no drill press or hole saw) Cry, exacto set, chisels and gouges, coping saw.

That's about it.

Thanks,
Johnny
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rcelley
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #3 - Oct 17th, 2005 at 6:15pm
 
you can drill a series of holes around the sondhole and then finshi it off with sandpaper wrapped around a 3/4 inch doel section. My advice on the rosette channel is to buy a dremel tool and the router base attachment. seriously, this tool is almost a must have for nice tidy luthiery. I think the cheapest model is around forty bucks and some more for the attachment and maybe ten bucks for the right bits. that's gonna get to around 60 to 70 bucks but you don't need to buy all at once and the results are just so much nicer and more controllable. the dremel tool also lets you do very nice binding channels which are almost a must on a soft top like spruce. Once you have it you find out that yet another bit for 3-4 bucks will let you do all sorts o f precise inlay work. The popsicle stick with the exacto blade will cut nice circles though, with patience, and a 3/16 wide chisel or a ground down 1/4 incher will take the stuffings out with more patience. Just be sure and use the chisels bevel side down so as not to dig too deep. Good Luck.
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Rich Celley
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juke
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #4 - Oct 18th, 2005 at 1:17pm
 
Rich,

Thanks!  I forgot to mention I do have a dremel.  Actually it is the B&D rotary tool.  I think that it will fit the Dremmel router base.  So maybe a small investment might work.  Thanks for the idea.  I will try on a scrap piece first.  Grin

Johnny
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Bob Uke-er
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #5 - Oct 20th, 2005 at 1:51pm
 
Roll Eyes
Hi Juke,
     Yeah, I've tried just about everything while learning to cut rosette channels. Here's my list, but every luthier seems to have a method that works for them. Bottom line is to use whatever works for you.

     The popsicle stick and x-acto knife - I could never get the x-acto blade to stay in the stick. Seemed too simple and elegant to work anyway...

     Dremel with a new mini-router bit - works OK and not too expensive to get set-up but you will need the baseplate adapter. I already had a Dremel and got the base from Stew-Mac. Nicely tooled piece of equipment but seems a bit too complicated with all the shaft springs and all. Cuts a decent, round, flat bottomed channel of very even depth.  My wife complains that the thing sounds like a dental drill tho. It does.

     Adjustable "flywheel" style hole cutter - good for cutting an infinite number of different radius holes but that whirling near-invisible razor-sharp blade is a good way to become a three-fingered uke strummer. I use mine to cut doorknob holes in doors.

     Hole saw on drill press - Actually cuts a decent hole or the sides of a channel. Seems crude but works pretty OK. Cheap too.

     My favorite, and what I use now, is a Hitatch TR-6 mini-router with an adjustable angle base. I think Ukeman recommended it to me a while back and it works great. I use the adjustable base for cutting binding channels because the base can match the slight angle caused by the rounded backs and fronts. I glued and screwed some plexiglass together with a sliding channel that holds my set pin. The mini Hitachi's base comes off and the router gets screwed into my plexiglas base. The sliding channel gets locked to the plexiglas base with a plastic knob so that I can accurately adjust the radius of the cut. I use a new, sharp, spiral-cut bit and the results are quite nice. The Hitachi cranks out more horsepower than the Dremel and I think the tolerances in the bearings are tighter. Nothing wrong with the good-old Dremel and it's a lot cheper than a mini-router but me and Hitachi-san have proven this system to be just about idiot-proof.

                      Back on the 'board after nearly a year,

                                             Uker
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rcelley
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #6 - Oct 22nd, 2005 at 3:59pm
 
thanks uke-er, I've been eyeing one of those small routers, or a laminate trimmer but haven't jumped for the bait yet as I have the dremel worked out ok. If I upped my output of instruments to more than one or two a year though I'd be there. the one thing that really attacts me isn't the capacity to cut rosettes but the fact that you can buy a flush cutting bit for them, something that dremel hasn't come out with, at least that I know of. Now I have the cool new dremel plunge routing base though and am thinking that inlay work is now at the edge of freehand because the base gives it enough heft to go where you steer it without the torque from the tool pulling or pushing offline. woo-hoo.
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Rich Celley
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Ukeman
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #7 - Oct 25th, 2005 at 2:32pm
 
aloha guys:

Here's my take on circular rosettes...should be a snap:

Popsicle stick route....Xacto blades, bunch of popsicle sticks, couple of mini square blocks, 5 minute epoxy and a chisel narrow enough to fit twixt the inner and outer rings.
1.  guide pin on a workboard...center of soundhole...hole on one end of popsicle stick exact diameter of guide pin diameter.
2. outside cut...measure the intended radius..slot an edge of the popsicle stick to fit in a new xacto blade..1/16th or so deep...5 minute epoxy a block adjacent to the slot for your blade and glue or pin xacto blade to block. Make same on another popsicle stick for the inside curve.  Have at it...lightly scoring your intended circle a bit at a time to flush with depth of blade.....do same with inner ring...chisel out carefully..easier than it sounds..if guide pin has no play and blade is secured it will do the job accurately and quickly. save your popsicle sticks for the next rosette.

Dremmel...spiral up cut bit works fine, Dremmels now have capicity for varying lengths of radii....choose, set bit depth and have at it....make multiple passes if need be to match width of intended rosette inlay....yes Dremmel base must have a guide hole and your guide pin should have same diameter as the pin.

Lam trimmers...Jasco has a circular variable radii guide for smaller circles that will interchange with your lam trimmer base...if not make your own out of 1/4" or 3/16th inch plexi..drill new holes to mount new base....drill a guide hole in the base that will match your guide pin on your workboard (yes at soundhole center) drill a bunch of holes in a series of archs and via trial and error or judicious measurement find the hole that will give you the radius that you want...remember hole positions will change dependent upon width of inserted bit......mount guide and route counter clockwise after you set bit at intended depth...yup practice piece first before real use on soundboard.....have at it....should cut like a dream.


that about covers it....yes I too start my rosette with a thick soundboard....I like to route and insert my rosette materials at least 1/16th deep....will level top when rosette is installed with no fear of samding through and then reverse my board and thickness to working thickness from the inside of my soundboard..   rule one...always can take away.....no can add on...

hope this helps   laters  ukeman
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juke
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uke's...so much fun in
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Re: Rosette & Rosette Inlays
Reply #8 - Oct 25th, 2005 at 5:35pm
 
Guys,

Thanks for all of the advice.  Lot's to consider as far as which method to try.  Dremel tool is what I am leaning to, but the popsicle stick method sounds so simple I ought to at least try on scrap.  Of course I will do that (try on scrap) with which ever method I try.

Thanks again all!

Juke
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