Cutting rosettes by hand?

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Matthew Lau
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Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:03 am

Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Matthew Lau »

Any tips on cutting rosettes by hand?

I have a few instruments that I'm building for friends.
I'd like to avoid using a dremel/router.

Any tips for cutting rosettes by hand?

FWIW, I have a few router planes.
I'm tempted to make a custom scraper blade for the rosette channels out of an allen wrench.

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Jim McConkey
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Jim McConkey »

Here is a very old method, and I'm sure there are some references to it in our library. Stick an X-acto or surgical blade perpendicular to the length in one end of a popsicle stick, then drill small holes at the inner and outer radii. Put a small nail at the center of the rosette, and turn away. It will cut a nice clean circle.
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Barry Daniels
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Barry Daniels »

The key to the method Jim described is to only allow the blade to stick through the popsicle stick by the amount of depth you want to cut. So maybe have it sticking through 1/32" for the first pass, then push it through to 1/16" for the second pass. Having it extend a minimal amount will prevent it from flexing and it will control the depth of cut. Removing the bulk of the wood can be done with a small chisel.
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Todd Stock
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Todd Stock »

OLFA's #11 blades are far superior to what the Chinese are producing for Excel/X-acto...ready to go right from the package, versus the work needed to touch up a blade that is dull already and usually has a hook on the end.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Bryan Bear »

I made an ugly but effective tool with the same principle as the x-acto/Popsicle stick method above. It has an adjustable length arm which is really just a screw in the base and a slot in the arm and it uses a thicker blade made from an old file ground to a spear point like a marking knife. It was more of a proof of concept and I intended to refine the design and make a nice one but never got around to it. It works well enough; sometimes I use a router and sometimes I use this tool it depends on my mood and what the rosette will be. However you chose to do it, sharpness, be it bit or blade, will be a big factor in how well it goes.
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Simon Magennis
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Simon Magennis »

The have been loads of threads in the past here with photos of various homemade channel cutters but for the life of me I can't find one now. Over on Delcamp I was able to find a post Waddy made there and I am 99% sure he showed the same cutter here at some point earlier on. This should bring you direct to the post. That kind of cutter is a quite and advance of the lolly stick method and a lot cheaper than the LMI tool which I have. https://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/ ... 97#p307956 I am sure there are lots more over there too.

Maybe someone else here with better search skills will find a few of the older threads here.

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Jim McConkey
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Jim McConkey »

I looked and found a number of discussions that mention the popsicle stick tool (apparently originally described in Cumpiano & Natelson), but no actual pictures of one. I did, however, find a couple fancier homemade tools using the same principle. At least one of these is probably the same tool linked to above.

http://www.mimf.com/library/Need_some_h ... -2004.html
http://www.mimf.com/library/I_want_to_b ... -2008.html
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Alan Carruth
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Alan Carruth »

The popsicle stick trick works really well. I'd recommend it even if you plan on using a router or Dremel to clean out the waste, as it makes a much cleaner cut around the edge. If you have any doubts try it out on some card stock first, just to get the feel of it. The most important thing is to get the cutter perpendicualr to the surface along the radius, and angled with the point slightly trailing along the circumference. The only drawback I can think of is thhat it's difficult to take a thin cleanup cut if you want to, since it requires another popsicle stick. With the LMI cutter I have it's relatively easy to take of a few mils if the cut is under size.

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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Waddy Thomson »

For what it's worth, here are a few pics of my tool. I made it when I built my first guitar, which I did with all hand tools, so I could learn how to use them. I did buy a 10" band saw because I failed miserably doing some things by hand. I already had a radial arm saw. I still use this tool for clean edges and for cutting out the sound hole. I did replace the wooden pin with a 3/16" metal pin. Tool works for both circle cuts and for binding and purfling cuts, with the attachment.

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Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

I've used the OLFA circle cutter to score lines for rosettes. It works O.K. with a fresh blade.

Simon Magennis
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Simon Magennis »

Thanks to Waddy for the new pictures.

The two threads that Jim posted above have some nice stuff too.

Waddy's last picture here shows something that is missing on commercial Gramil trip tools for doing bindings/purflings, namely the extra long "leg" (don't know the technical word) to keep the tool stable as you go round the sides. The commercial ones I have seen only about 5-6cm so very easy to tip over.

Brent Tobin
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Re: Cutting rosettes by hand?

Post by Brent Tobin »

I put together a solid (relatively) inexpensive cutter using parts from Lee Valley's
Veritas Inlay String Tool System.
1 compass center+inlay cutter head=a very solid tool for life long use.
Better to have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy

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