Guitar Making Tip Number 741 is about the circle cutter. On the drill press, you can buy a tool called a circle cutter, or wing cutter. This is a great option for rosette making. The tool makes large round cuts in wood, and can be used for a lot of things. Here is how.
Rosettes and Cutting Circles
The only down side to hand cutting the rosette cavities is that its time consuming. If you are half way good with a chisel, you can do the job if you are patient.
However, getting the outside and inside lines nice and straight can be tough as a beginner.
An alternative that can give you a lot of help with the bordering of your lines on concentric ring or round rosettes is the circle cutter. This tool fits in the drill press chuck, and you can move one or two cutters on a shaft. The cutters are locked in place, and advanced into a piece of wood. Spinning, they cut circles according to how they were set.
Buying a Circle Cutter
I have used cheaper circle cutters forever. They have always worked, and the results were always good. If you have access to a finer tool, don’t shy away from it. The lower end ones work too, so don’t worry about buying from a discount tool store.
I recommend that you but a tool that has two cutters. This is for a couple reasons. Not only will the tool be more balanced when it turns, but it will also work faster. With dual cutters, you can cut the inside and the outside of a ring at the same time.
Cutting at the same time gives you more freedom to create. You can set the tool on a scrap, and then turn it loose on the guitar. You get faster feedback on your creative decisions, and this helps everything move along better.
What to Do After You Cut
The circle cutter is really good at taking out the edges. It’s not meant for the middles. The line that you will get around the edges of the rings cannot be beat though, so the tool has a lot of value.
You have a couple options for taking out the middle. First, you can use a router or a Dremel to do the work. Since the edges will already be clearly defined, you will not have to get too close to them.
Alternatively, you can use a chisel to remove the middles by hand. Since the depth of the edges and the edges themselves were already set with the circle cutter, removing the middle portion with a chisel is fairly straight forward.
Guitar Making Tip No. 741 Wrap-Up
The circle cutter for the drill press is a great tool to have for doing rosettes. In particular, if you are doing concentric rings or large rings, the circle cutter can make a lot of the job very quick and easy.
Purchase a circle cutter with two blades. This will be a more balanced cutter, and it will let you cut the inside and the outside of the ring at the same time. This saves you time, and gives you more feedback as you go.
If you have any questions on Guitar Making Tip No. 741, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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Tip No. 741 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.