Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Details, Details

It's been six weeks since my last post and I think I've made quite a bit of progress, even if I don't have much tangible evidence of it. I've been working mostly on bracing the top and back and starting to tune the braces. That's the process of whittling away the braces so that they're strong enough to hold the guitar together, but light enough to allow it to vibrate as freely as possible. I've gotten just to the point that I'll be making the final adjustments to the back next week, and I've already started fitting the back to the sides. It's amazing to think that in just a few weeks I'll be putting the top, back and sides together.

Bracing the top is a very interesting part of it all. You can see in the pictures of the top that there is a main "x" brace, which is surrounded by other smaller braces that go off in seemingly random directions. But the braces are very carefully placed to help transmit sound through the top of the guitar. They're designed to give the proper balance of bass and treble response, and although the layout is pretty standard, the precise layout is as much a matter of feel as anything else.

You may not see it in the pictures, but the braces are all linked together with notches, then glued, which explains why the process takes so long. It seems simple, but there is actually quite a bit of detail work involved in fitting them together and gluing them.

My final step this week was to begin to cut notches in the kerfing on the sides, so that the brace ramps can be fit into them, locking them in place once the back is attached. You can see the brace ramps in the picture at the top of this post. Their purpose (in addition to reducing the weight of the brace) is to fit into the notches in the kerfing. You can see the kerfing in pictures from the last post. I cut the notches this week and have begun doing the last bit of shaping of the ramps so that they'll fit into the notches, which will allow the back to fit on the sides properly. Pictures of that and more next week!

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