Guitar Making Tip No. 164 is about pre-shaping the braces. The carving process can be a little hard in the beginning. Shaping the braces with the band saw can help you get the bulk of the carving out of the way. Here is what you can do.
Pre-Shaping the Braces with a Saw
If you are new to guitar making and you are also new to using a chisel, then you are faced with two things you have to learn. With guitar making already being a task in itself, learning the chisel only adds to the difficulty.
One way that you can remove some of the difficulty is to pre-shape the braces before you glue them down.
When you remove some material before gluing the braces, you essentially remove a lot of chisel work. You are still going to need to learn the chisel, but even with this technique, you will still have ample opportunity.
The point of pre-shaping the braces is to get rid of stock that would be removed anyway. It is important to sketch out the braces and make sure that you are not taking off anything that you might need in the end. Here is the process so you can be successful…
Measuring and Marking the Braces for Shaping
The best way to mark out the braces is at full size. You can start with your brace blanks and then just draw right on them. Once you draw out the shape of the final brace, you can easily see what areas are going to end up as waste.
Carefully shade or mark the waste areas. This will make it easier to remove them later in the process. Select how you will remove the waste, and get started. A band saw is one of the easiest ways, but you can also use a belt/disc sander since the Spruce wears quickly.
Get all of your braces down to rough shape, and then you can begin the gluing process as normal. Carefully follow your plan, and glue the braces to your soundboard. After the glue dries, you can start carving them from a much closer to finished position.
Learning to Use the Chisel
Using sharp tools is one of the best things you can learn when it comes to chisel work. If you use sharp tools, and sharpen your chisel regularly, you will have a much more enjoyable experience.
A well sharpened chisel, taking thin passes, is an almost effortless way to carve the braces to shape. You are going to need to master the chisel, so you might as well just strap in and get the practice out of the way. My 5 tips for carving the braces will help you too.
As you keep on working with the chisel over and over, you will start to develop an understanding of the tool. Remember to take small passes, and don’t rush. As you learn, you will begin to feel connected to the chisel, and you will feel the wood being removed. This is where you really get a good understanding and connecting with the tool.
Guitar Making Tip No. 164 – Wrap Up
Guitar Making Tip Number 164 was about pre-shaping your braces. The carving of the braces is an important skill. If you are not the best carver in the beginning, you can remove the bulk of the waste another way, and then use your chisel.
Mark out the design of the braces in full size, right on the braces themselves. Then, use a band saw, coping saw, or sander to shape the braces. After you have shaped them down to where you would need to switch to a chisel for fine work, glue them to the guitar top as normal.
Once the pre-shaped braces are in place, you can use a very sharp chisel to carve. The ease in which the process goes will be directly related to the sharpness of your tool. Make sure that the chisel is very sharp, and you will have a pleasant experience.
1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners
Tip No. 164 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.
If you have any questions about Guitar Making Tip No. 164, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please Subscribe so that you don’t miss out on anything new. Happy building.