Guitar Making Tip No. 124 – Locking the Brace Ends

Guitar Making Tip No. 124 is about locking the brace ends under the kerfing as you build your guitar body. The more you can do to secure the braces, the longer they will remain where you intended. Here is one more easy thing you can do to build a better guitar.

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The Braces and the Guitar

guitar making tip number 124As you build, you will be doing a lot of things to keep the braces in place. You prepare the braces well, so that the bottoms are very smooth and able to be glued well.

Then, you prepare the surface pf the plate in the same way. You glue them carefully, and all in the hopes that you never have to repair a loose brace.

One extra thing you can do to help keep the braces where they should be is to lock the ends of the braces down with the kerfing.

You will have to modify the kerfing anyway to attach the plates to the top. While you are at it, make sure to use the kerfing to hold down the brace ends too. Since you are going to be there at the same time, you can add this technique to your build without really making much of a change…

Guitar Making is About the Little Things

When you make a guitar, it’s really about the little things. There is no big thing that you need to get right to make a great guitar. It’s a bunch of small things. The more you do to add love to your build, the better the overall guitar will sound.

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Simple things like sanding the braces, fitting the neck really well, and trimming the purfling flush to the top all add up. Some contribute very little, but they all contribute something. If you make it a habit to fully complete every step the best that you can, you will have a better build because of the small things.

I wrote The Secret to Guitar Making, which speaks more about this subject. There is no magic bullet in guitar making. If there was, someone would have sold it by now for a very large amount of money.

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Adding Care to Your Build

It’s a small thing, but locking the ends of the braces under the kerfing is one more way that you can add to your build. The chances of a brace falling off or coming loose is low, but when you lock the ends, it becomes even less.

Steps like these are things that some people like to skip. The idea being that they do not contribute very much to the build. The fact that you are competent enough to stop and take the extra care in your build is what really makes the difference.

Adding in these small steps shows that you are a caring builder that wants to give your guitar the best chance to succeed. Locking the ends of the braces under the kerfing does just that, and is one more layer of thoroughness that will make you a confident builder.

How to Lock the Braces Under the Kerfing

In order to lock the brace ends, you need to leave them in place. Some guitar makers like to carve them completely off. If this is you, just stop a little bit before you hit the soundboard on your next carve.

Leave yourself at least a sliver of wood on each brace that will hit the rim. Then, you can notch the kerfing to allow the brace to pass under. The important thing with the notching is to make sure that you don’t remove too much.

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Remove just enough material that the kerfing rests on the top of the brace, effectively holding it in place. If the top does not seat fully against the sides, remove more material, but do so slowly. Sneak up on the right size pocket, and you will have a good fit.

Guitar Making Tip No. 124 Wrap-Up

As you build, you are going to be given a lot of opportunities to go the extra mile. You should take as many of these as you can. One of them is to lock the ends of the braces under the kerfing on the rim of the guitar.

Don’t skip these steps. Taper your braces as they reach the rim, but do not take them all the way down to the soundboard. Notch the kerfing to accept each brace end, and the kerfing will help hold them down.

If you have any questions on Guitar Making Tip No. 124, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.

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