Laying out the bracing pattern and rosette.

The outline of the Concert body shape was drawn on both sides of the Cedar top. On the exterior side of the Cedar I drew in the rosette channel and purfling lines on both sides of the rosette.  The interior of the top will contain the bracing, perhaps one of the more important contributing factors to the sound of the guitar. I use a traditional X bracing design that was developed by CF Martin and perfected by James Goodall (in my humble opinion) and slightly modified by me! I drew the bracing outlines directly on the top and I will dimension the bracing to fit perfectly within these patterns.

Using triangles, square and rulers to draw the bracing outlines on the top.

Using triangles, square and rulers to draw the bracing outlines on the top.

The next step is to insert the rosette and purfling lines. I use a Dremel tool with a special circular base I obtained from StewMac, a major supplier of luthier tools. First I route out the rosette channel. I made a rosette from a wood called Bocote that has beautiful lines of browns, blacks and tans. It looks awesome against the Western Red Cedar! Next I route out two narrow purfling channels on both sides of the rosette. I will use purfling made of Koa/Maple/Koa to compliment the Bocote.

The Dremel tool with a StewMac circular base for routing the channels.

The Dremel tool with a StewMac circular base for routing the channels.

After routing out the channels, I test the rosette and purfling to make sure there is a snug, but not too tight fit. This time it is perfect and I do not have to re-route. I clean up the channel bottom and sides using 220 grit sandpaper.

Concentrating on getting the rosette and purfling channels routed for a perfect fit.

Concentrating on getting the rosette and purfling channels routed for a perfect fit.

Now it is time to glue in the rosette. A thin film of luthier”s glue is spread on the bottom and sides of the channel. The rosette is inserted and pressed into place. The glue squeezeout is wiped off after rubbing a thin film on top of the rosette. I place wax paper over the rosette and I use a caul that applies equal pressure to the entire rosette.

The rosette fits perfectly in the channel.

The rosette fits perfectly in the channel.

The caul applies even pressure on the rosette. I keep the caul on overnight.

The caul applies even pressure on the rosette. I keep the caul on overnight.

The completed rosette and purfling with the soundhole cut out.

The completed rosette and purfling with the soundhole cut out.

The same process is repeated for the purfling lines: apply glue, position the purfling, press into place, clear excess glue and clamp with the caul. After the glue has set (over 24 hours), I use a sanding block with 220 paper to even the purfling and rosette with the top. It really looks beautiful with this combination of natural woods.

I really want to thank my wife for taking all the pictures. She prefers to remain nameless but she is a great help!

Next up is bracing the soundboard.

MDR-

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  • http://swgalleries.com Susan Weilbacher

    One of the best investments I’ve ever made was a Routen guitar for my husband, a gifted musician. Mark worked with him very carefully to come up with the best woods and design for the sound he wanted, styles of music, playing method, sturdiness and weight. Besides that it’s gorgeous! And I will have a lifetime of joy listening to Kevin play for me. My advice: get on Mark’s waiting list quick!!

  • Dan Eley

    I agree with Susan that this is an investment … and Mark providing me with the opportunity to “watch” my guitar being built is a huge plus.

    While following my custom Routen guitar being built … I’ve thought about what will be the first song I hear played on it …

    After much thought, I’ve decided that it will be up to Mark … because the first song I hear will be played by him … and the second, I hope, will be my his wife. Both are far better musicians than I am (ok, I might be a better french horn player!).

    When I met with Mark… I basically said (in so many words) … build me a guitar you’d want to own …. and it’s far exceeding my expectations….

    Dan .. 2011/03/01