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View Full Version : Carbon fiber, an untapped material for ukes?



Ukujes
02-23-2011, 11:51 PM
bracing, mostly it's made of wood. but what about carbon fiber? it's strong and durable so why wouldn't it make a good bracing material? i'm looking into maybe creating a bracing system out of carbon fiber. what do you think? can it be done? will it be too stiff and restrict the sound or will it be to flimsy and fall apart? also, there are different network structures that carbon can form; is there a specific type of carbon fiber that would be best used for bracing?

thanks!

Timbuck
02-24-2011, 12:00 AM
There are quite a few about..Mostly "Blackbird" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pG7TU-pANU

BobN
02-24-2011, 01:58 AM
Many classical guitar builders use carbon fiber rods for neck reinforcement. I put a piece of it in the neck of a tenor ukulele that I built last year.

There are some guitar builders using carbon fiber and balsa braces in an effort to reduce the weight of the guitar tops.
If you are weighing each component and have some reason to reduce the weight of the braces, then carbon fiber may be worth using. It is expensive compared to wood.

Sake1one
02-24-2011, 04:12 AM
On David Hurd's site he talks about using graphite carbon bridge plates at a 0.018" thickness for sopranos and concerts and 0.030 for tenors. Pretty interesting read

http://www.ukuleles.com/Technology/bridgesize.html

Allen
02-24-2011, 09:21 AM
I build a line of lattice toped ukes in the "Australian" style of building pioneered by Greg Smallman on Classical Guitars. Tops are 0.8 - 0.9 mm thick in the lower bout and the lattice bracing is made from 6K Carbon Fibre TOW / Balsa / 6K Caron Fibre Tow.

It's a lot of work, and takes some specialised equipment and technique to build like this. Must be done with a vacuum clamp setup and the bracing system makes for an incredibly stiff plate. The hardest part is to build not so stiff.

The advantages are that the top is extremely light and lively. Huge volume and sustain and the top holds it's shape better than anything I've ever come across. There is no deformation mapping of the top from bridge patch or finger braces that you can see on lightly build conventionally braced ukes.

Pete Howlett
02-24-2011, 09:34 AM
If you have the right grade balsa you can dispense with the CF.

Ukulele Maker
03-12-2011, 09:07 PM
I have been building with a carbon fiber weave cloth laminated to the top. I've been able to eliminate any other bracing under the soundboard by pattern cutting the carbon weave. Been doing this for 4 years now progressing up in size by the inch from a soprano to a tenor. The cutting pattern shapes vary by size of instrument.

Ukulele Maker

Carbon Exposed Concert
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_Tn7nZWue6to/TXxFPXbq41E/AAAAAAAAAEU/1xwz5S-OwsM/s144-c/CarbonUFK.jpg

Carbon underside Mid Tenor/Concert 8 string
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_Tn7nZWue6to/TXxE4h1j67I/AAAAAAAAADQ/xaBZUqHZQ7g/s128/DSC03868.JPG