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Old 02-04-2012, 09:56 AM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Peterborough, New Hampshire
Posts: 3,179
Default Brace Stock Quality

I'd like to talk a little about braces. Next to the soundboard the bracing is one of the things that can really effect the sound and responsiveness of a guitar.
The quality of the brace wood is very important as well as the cut and orientation of the grain. Braces that have the grain running true to the length of the brace are best. They are stronger, less likely to crack, and ultimately help the guitar sound better. That is why I take the time to split out my brace stock. By splitting the wood you are sure to eliminate the grain run out you may get otherwise.

Before there were sawmills in America boards were split from logs. Even after sawmills were available the tradition of splitting wood out was still used when the job called for maximum strength and reliability, especially when things needed to be kept light, like wagon wheel spokes or chair rails. "Riven" wood has been the name for quality and strength. It is also one of those traditions still carried on in the shop of a good handbuilder.

Splitting wood is usually done with a splitting froe. The froe is dull, but not blunt. It's size is appropriate to the job at hand, whether it's wood for boards, archery bows, or wagon spokes. This tool is small for things like splitting bamboo for fly rods or spruce for guitar bracing.

So, next time you take a tour of a guitar factory and are feeling a little cocky, ask them where they keep the splitting froes!

Thanks for following my build.
Mark Hatcher

My new website is up!
Try it out.

Last edited by Mark Hatcher; 02-04-2012 at 11:35 AM.
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