• bill@gourlayguitars.com

"Liliana" my tiny Torres replica - preparing the top, rosette and solera.

Updated: Feb 11, 2019

Using my shooting board and jointing plane to create a perfect join, I glued together the two halves of a set of European spruce and clamped it all on place with my Spanish clamp. If you have not used one before for joining your tops or backs, it is quite simple and efficient. Utilizing ropes and wooden wedges along with a lattice overlay, the Spanish clamp provides both lateral and downward pressure and can easily handle odd-shaped items.


After letting the joined top sit overnight in the Spanish clamp, it was cut to shape with the bandsaw, leaving it ~5mm oversize around the perimeter.


It was time to inlay the rosette. As I indicated in a previous post, the rosette is very simple and small - bands of black (Brazilian rosewood) and white and brown with a center motif of 1mm brown and white squares. The entire rosette is only 12mm wide. I prepared all of my veneers and the brown/white "ladder". I was all set to begin inlaying sections of the rosette when I decided to change the two wide bands of black Brazilian rosewood to dyed green veneers to give a bit more life to an otherwise very bland rosette. I have always liked the green Torres used in many of his rosettes and decided to use my "artistic license".


Once the rosette was inlayed, I thickness sanded to top to a uniform 2.4mm, marked the brace locations on the underside and trimmed away the oversize material with a knife to the final plantilla. I also adjusted the solera I had built for use with my FE18 and 1852 replicas. Because I build several different styles of guitars (Romanillos, Torres, Simplicio), I have created soleras specifically for each shape. For my Torres guitars, however, I have had to build multiple soleras, as Torres used as many as 5 different plantillas. This instrument is quite small - smaller than even the FE18 and 1852 instruments and I was not really looking forward to investing the time and effort to build a brand new solera. In his book, "Making a Spanish Guitar", José Romanillos showed his solera to be 8mm smaller around the entire perimeter of the raised/scooped out section for the lower bout. This section of the solera creates the appropriate doming of the top. In the past, I have always made my soleras the precise size of the associated plantillas and never thought about making the solera a bit smaller in order to accommodate several different sized instruments. So, for this instrument, instead of spending a lot of time making a brand new solera, I trimmed away enough of the raised section of my FE18 solera so as to accommodate "Liliana". You can see below the amount of material I had to remove to adapt the solera - way more than 8mm, but it will still be fully functional for making another FE18 replica or anything else in between.


Next up - bracing the top, bending the sides, and preparing the neck.





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