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Stippling a Classical Guitar Headstock

Stippling is the creation of a pattern simulating varying degrees of solidity or shading by using small dots. Such a pattern may occur in nature and these effects are frequently emulated by artists.

Wikipedia


It's been two weeks since the Guitar Foundation of America's Convention and Competition ended at Metropolitan State University, Denver, I'm still reeling a little bit from the experience. I met a lot of great people, learned a few things and got some wonderful comments from world class classical guitarists about my guitars. I do plan on posting about the experience, I just have to make the time.

Today, I drive down to Boulder to purchase an air conditioner to put in the studio window, I work in an upstairs room right against the roof and since the roof was put on in the mid 1960's, there is no roof vent on the peak. That means it gets really hot in the space. It was 88 degrees Fahrenheit here yesterday, I know that is not hot by any means, but when you live at 8,500', 88 degrees is equivalent to 100 degrees! It was 93 degrees on the studio thermometer and I was lucky enough to get the humidity back to around 40%. The foothills have been under a red flag fire warning the last 3 days, the humidity dropped to 20% in the studio, not good for my guitars!


Putting my "new" Stanley No.2 plane to work

I decided to make another close copy of a Hernandez y Aguado guitar. The headstocks on some the original guitars are carved and stippled, I enjoy the challenge of doing the same.



First, I define the area to be stipple and I ground out with chisels and scrapers. By the way, the overlay is Macassar ebony.




The stippling begins.




The tools I use to stipple - 16d nails and a live oak mallet. Lots and lots of tapping!




The stippling is complete. I will go over the stippled area with a soft tooth brush and then burnish it with an old dish towel, this softens the looks and gets rid of any tiny wood chips that are created with the punches.



On the left, a headstock with the crest that was used by Santos Hernandez on the famous 1912 Manuel Ramirez guitar that was used and owned by Andres Segovia; on the right, the Hernandez y Aguado headstock and crest.


If you want more information on how to stipple, start by Googling "how to stipple wood". When I first trying stippling I found this article to be very helpful, click here to see it.

Get out into the shop and do some work!


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