View Full Version : Bracing dimensions

04-15-2017, 07:40 PM
Building a tenor for my first foray into instrument building. Most of my questions to tbis point have been of the What and How to do variety. I have a LMI plan and am willing to follow directions but I am curious now as to the Why, specifically, why are braces of the dimensions they are. Plan calls for blanks to be 1/4" - 5/16" thick by 7/16" tall. Is it simply that years have shown this to be the best? Do any of you experiment with smaller braces, e.g.?

Thank you, all. 😊

04-15-2017, 07:49 PM
Those are actually the exact same dimensions I use for my transverse braces. Why those dimensions? I don't know. I assume that some instrument designer deemed them the right dimensions. Seems about right to me... Going smaller is questionable in the sense you have to think of structural stability. You could go a little lighter I suppose by a 1/16th either way, but not much more than that in my mind and of course it depends on the strength and elasticity of the wood. Me, I just stick with what the designer thought was right.

Pete Howlett
04-24-2017, 12:55 PM
If you reduce width you may wish to increase height... I am pretty sure however that those dimensions are either 'stock', rule-of-thumb or more unkindly expressed, 'arbitrary'. The true luthier would vary the dimension according to other factors like stiffness of top, orientation of grain and so forth. Some dedicated builders might 'split' the bracewood to achieve perfect quarter with no 'run-out'.

For me, and I am not expressing this as a commonly held view, depending on where the brace goes I have arrived through experimentation at an ideal cross section, size and shape that I think contributes to my sound. They vary on the soundboard and backs of my instruments - all are different sizes.

Take these plan sizes you have been given as starting points for your build and if you like the sound they produce, then you know what to do. In my opinion, no-one can prescribe the ideal bracing for you - we just, at best, can point you in what we think is the right direction. Cue up the Kasha brace crew :)

04-24-2017, 01:33 PM
Thank you, Peter, and I will look at the Kasha brace crew as you suggest. :-)