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Pre-shaping Braces (Read 2785 times)
Jeff B
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Pre-shaping Braces
Oct 17th, 2008 at 7:02am
 
In many guitar and ukulele construction manuals, back and sound board braces are glued to the surfaces first and then hand shaped with a chisel to taper appropriately.

However, what are the cons to pre-shaping the brace tapers using a scroll saw, sanding then to finish, and then gluing them to the boards?

Understandably, gluing pre-shaped braces might be more difficult due to the varying thickness of the braces (though go-bars would seem to work for that), but other than that, I don't see any reason not to do it - rather than risk a slipped chisel trying to shape the glued on braces.

Comments? Opinions?

Jeff

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Ukeman
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Re: Pre-shaping Braces
Reply #1 - Oct 17th, 2008 at 11:09am
 
hi jeff...no real negative in preshaping braces prior to gluing....a bit of a fuss to insure positive clamping with prefinished brace, tho not what i would call a real con, you still can sand after intallation to adjust for tone and stiffness so go for it. i do caution that at the thinnest ends of the prefinished tapered braces, down to 1/16th please make sure that the braces are clamped with adequate pressure so that the don't get loose. The only benefit from non pre finishing is that clamping heights are even and easly to clamp, and tapering with the chisel givs you lot's of freedom to individual tune the height , flexibility and shape of your brace....but all in all ...many paths are available to the same destination....laters  ukeman
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Acabooe
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Re: Pre-shaping Braces
Reply #2 - Oct 17th, 2008 at 5:52pm
 
Another thing that I'd like to point out that Ukeman taught me is that, if you have to push your chisel so hard to scallop the wood that you risk it digging into the boards, then it probably isn't sharp enough.

Take some time with a wet stone to hone your chisel, that is make the edge better than it came with from the factory.

Use your wet stone and go back and forth on the flat side first.
Try to get a mirror finish, then flip it over and do the beveled side.
Be careful that you dont grind too much on one side or your chisel will no longer be square.
If that happens, you will have to re shape it to square 90 degrees, and then try to hone again.

Hope this helps too.
Bob
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Jeff B
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Amelia, OH (near Cincinnati)
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Re: Pre-shaping Braces
Reply #3 - Oct 18th, 2008 at 4:36pm
 
Thanks, guys.

I'm now thinking that maybe a happy medium could be applied. Pre-shape with the scroll saw to remove most of the wood to shape, then hand chisel/sand the finish taper after gluing. What the heck, I'll give it a try...

Mahalo!
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jack
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Re: Pre-shaping Braces
Reply #4 - Feb 9th, 2009 at 9:47am
 
Jeff,
I am a new member and build furnture and guitars (and ukes) with hand tools.  I use an extremely sharp chisel to shape braces which are glued on way oversized.  To avoid slipping I use a 1/2" or wider chisel which will cut down on slipping.  A sharp tool can shape a spruce brace, faster and more accuatly than a saw.
Make some dust and chips you will enjoy it.
Jack
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