Brace material

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Victor Seal
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:12 am

Brace material

Post by Victor Seal » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:27 pm

I may be beating a dead horse, but I would like some opinions for brace material to use on a cedar top. Thanks, Vic.

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Steve Toscano
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Location: Newcastle, Australia

Re: Brace material

Post by Steve Toscano » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:29 am

I use euro spruce bracing no matter what the top wood is. No real technical reasons why use the same for cedar or spruce top (that im aware of), it just works for me.
Last edited by Steve Toscano on Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Trevor Gore
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Re: Brace material

Post by Trevor Gore » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:22 am

Spruce has a combination of low density, high Young's modulus and high modulus of rupture (compared to most other woods) that make it a superior wood for bracing. That is why it is used almost universally in wood-only (non-composite) bracing systems. Using pretty well anything else will result in some combination of a heavier, weaker, or less stiff top. The species of spruce doesn't matter a whole lot as stiffness tends to follow density in the same way for all species. Due to the "cube rule" effect (stiffness of a beam is proportional to its depth cubed) low density timber will generally result in a lighter structure for the same stiffness. Supporting analysis in the usual place.
Trevor Gore: Classical Guitar Design and Build

Alan Carruth
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Re: Brace material

Post by Alan Carruth » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:22 pm

What Trevor said, with the addition that most of the mass of the traditional top system is in the top itself, so going to great lengths to save weight in the bracing may not be worth the effort.

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Steve Ganz
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Location: Blaine, WA, USA

Re: Brace material

Post by Steve Ganz » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:08 pm

What design guitar are you building?

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Chris Sobel
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Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Brace material

Post by Chris Sobel » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:48 pm

I've used Sitka, Eurpoean and Englemann for the most part, but also Western Red Cedar. Although an equivalent stifness bracing pattern of Red Cedar will be a little heavier than Spruce, it carries with it the advantage of the braces having a larger gluing area. There is some Red Cedar floating around that has an exceptional s/w ratio that approaches spruce, but it has to be carefully selected. In general spruce will have a better s/w ratio.

There are a number of makers who swear by using cedar on cedar. Friederich makes most of his fan braces out of cedar, for example.
CE Sobel Guitars

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Brian McCombs
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Location: Union City, Michigan

Re: Brace material

Post by Brian McCombs » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:00 pm

Never occurred to me until I went through the topic but....I've only used spruce for bracing once. I had a piano soundboard that had those big braces on it. I cut up a bunch of it and was going to use it for bracewood but it seemed to want to just split for no good reason. Stuff was DRY that is for sure. I know I used it on at least one guitar.

I've used spruce for all fans on spruce topped instruments but I've always had this big old board of WRC and I have just always cut back and top braces from it. I noticed the other day I've only just a little bit of it left......Looks like I need to get some brace wood.
....its always something huh.

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