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Hi all, how are you?

Could you help me with a vihuela rose?

I have made some with parchment, with good results. But now I am trying one with two layers of wood and just one with parchment.

I have tried various woods of various thicknesses, but all but broke. How do you do this?

I have tried with knives and saws. 

Thank you so much.

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 I'm not saying this is the only way it's not, but here's what I do: Thickness the wood to about 1.5 mm. Glue a paper backing to the wood . I find that Pearwood is the best material for doing this . Drill a small hole a the corner of each area that you intend to cut out. This will relieve the pressure at the junctions as you cut the pieces out. To cut the spaces inside use a very small knife. I make mine from tempered drill rod  so that the tip is about  2 to 3 MM wide and very thin. Be sure to sharpen  this to a very fine edge . Make the cuts as a series of vertical cuts-  Straight down.  Come back with a scalpel with a #11 blade to shave the cut to a smooth surface and arc. Here's a picture of a baroque rose , not a vihuela rose but the technique is the same. http://www.flickr.com/photos/17737782@N05/3314090529/in/photostream.

  I have made a copy of the same rose, using pearwood veneer for all three layers. I backed each layer of veneer with thin sheepskin parchment glued on with hide glue. I tried backing the wood with paper but it didn't give enough strength to the thin (0.6mm) veneer.

  I made the cuts in the upper layer which are arcs of circles using a home-made circle cutter. For the small circles I used miniature carving gouges. Other cuts were done with a scalpel blade. There was a lot of trial and error since I had only ever made lute roses before, but I'm happy with the end result.

  Some useful further information can be found in this article: Rose making by Denzil Wraight

  Good luck!

Thank you John and Mel. I will try your methods and let you know.

Thanks... Rodrigo

 I had a look at your photo album, Mateus - beautiful work!

 Here's a photo of the rose I made.



Thank you John. I'm learning yet. I'm building my fourth baroque guitar and trying the vihuela I told you.

I bought some veneer today and I'll try following your advices. A doubt: do you keep the parchment glued on wood veneers ? Or you take it out before gluing to other veneer?

What do you think about parchment paper to make the veneers support?


Hi Rodrigo.

 The parchment is very thin (about 0.1mm) but strong. Without a strong backing the veneer will, as you have discovered, just fall apart when you have to cut a thin line across the grain. So leave the parchment glued to the veneer when you attach the next layer - it's thin and transparent so is virtually invisible. (Removing the parchment after cutting the design of each layer would be impossible anyway!)

 If by 'parchment paper' you mean paper that has the appearance of parchment, it would be useless. Real parchment is much stronger.


Yes, I was talking about the paper that looks like parchment. Parchment is really stronger than paper, but the paper has some resistance too, so I thought it could serve.

Thanks again..

There are quite a lot of varieties of 'parchment paper'.  Some are difficult to glue, some are floppy.  I bought several sheets of one reliable variety several years ago, and have been using it in combination with parchment for the 'wedding cake' Voboam-type roses and for a friend's Italian harpsichords.  It does have the advantage of being comparatively cheap if you are making a lot of roses, as I was, and is more dimensionally stable than parchment, though weaker.  So each of my 'Voboam' rose layers comprises two pieces of paper with the basic shapes, backed by a thin parchment sheet with the detail.  For cittern and bandora roses similar to John's (which I like a lot!) I use a home-made plywood of three sheets of standard knife-cut pear veneer, cut with a jewellers' saw and trimmed with a knife, backed by one or usually two sheets of parchment.  (I'm using a Réné Voboam rose, gilded, for my thumb-nail picture and will try to put some more up.)  The pear plywood (I use hot glue) needs keeping flat, and a week or two's 'curing' time.

I'm not finding as thin parchment with 0.1mm in Brazil. I think it will be impossible but I'll keep trying.

Friday I glued, with hide glue, a parchment paper on a veneer about 0.6mm and  I got a good result by cutting with a scalpel No. 11. Parchment paper is easy to find very thin. The only problem I had was taking off the paper with the pattern glued side up. I used white glue and get wet, but it deforms and releases the parchment paper  on the back side. So I decided sanding. It worked well, but I think another kind of thinner paper will sand easier, or perhaps using another type of glue.

What do you think? John, you said it will bem useless, but what do you think?

Peter, I will try your plywood option.

  I drew the pattern directly onto to the wood, Rodrigo, so the problem of removing it didn't arise!

  The parchment paper didn't work for me, but if you have found some that is thin and strong enough that's fine - and cheaper than parchment of course.

  Have you got a picture of the rose you are copying?


Hi John. I'm using a rosette of vihuela chambure available from http://www.wadsworth-lutes.co.uk/roses.htm

Maybe I could sand the parchment until it becomes extremely thin on drum sander? Do you think it works?


 William Cowley in the UK are very helpful and no doubt would be able to send you some thin stuff. I have never tried sanding parchment.



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