Having finished the first layer of the rose around the end of September, I glued the carved piece to a second thin piece of cherry, marked the design and drilled holes to start carving layer 2. I also thinned the carved layer to about half of its original thickness by sanding.
Then I had a change of mind and decided to redesign the rose. I took out parts of my carefully carved top layer with a chisel. I had decided to move these parts of the design down a level to give the rose a more open appearance.
The second layer was carved in much the same manner as the first layer, with needle files and lots of patience. I also had to clean up the mess that removing parts of the first layer had left, as well as some glue squeeze out from attaching the layers together.
In the image above, you can see where I removed the top layer from the design closest to the edge of the circle.
Before proceeding with the third layer, I cleaned up, as much as was possible, the glue, pencil marks, and stray bits of wood with sandpaper, a small Exacto knife, and needle files. I also thinned the second layer a bit on a sanding board.
The third and final layer of the rose is cut from a piece of ‘coverstock’ weight paper in a cream colour. Perhaps not the most historically accurate, but it is an easily obtainable, inexpensive paper, and the weight and texture is easy to work with for this project. Because the rose is not entirely symmetrical, I traced the actual rose onto the paper, rather than use my original design. I then sketched out my ideas in pencil, and proceeded to cut out the design.
Most of the paper cutting was achieved with a basic Exacto knife with a standard sharp blade. The circles were cut with punches I had made for my previous rose out of metal tubes:
These are quite easy to make: take any sized metal tube (the inside diameter should be the size of hole you require); stick it in a drill press; use a metal file to create the initial taper as the drill press spins the metal tube, and finally; polish and sharpen the taper and edge with fine sandpaper or Japanese water stones. The punches work with a sharp tap from a hammer and leave a rather clean edge.
The design for the rose has no relation to historical roses, and is rather a personal mark on the guitar. I thought the birds an appropriate addition to this rose. Let me know what you think!
The final stage was to carefully glue the paper to the wood layers. For this a very thin and even coat of glue must be applied to the entire back surface of the wood rose. It must be thin, lest unsightly glue squeeze out and ruin forever the hours of careful design and carving work! The paper layer is carefully aligned with the wood layer – and there is only one shot at getting this right, no chance to shift the paper around if it does not land in the right place – and pressed into place.
The rose is complete and ready to glue to the soundboard. Next: bracing!