PDA

View Full Version : Crazy no braced top question



ukeeku
11-08-2012, 05:56 AM
I am not a builder, I am a reviewer, but I have been learning more and more about bracing patterns and why people use them.
My question is this:
With all the cool CNC tech we have out there, would it be possible and/or a good idea to to take a thick piece of wood and mill it down with the bracing carved in?
The idea come from the plastic ukes that have the bracing molded in.
I know it would waste a ton of wood, but is it possible? Should it be done?

Lalz
11-08-2012, 06:01 AM
Interesting question. I don't know much about wood apart from a short woodshop class I took years ago, but I imagine the bracing needs to have the wood fibers go in a different direction that the top in order to properly support it? I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will tell us.

Mandarb
11-08-2012, 06:03 AM
Tim Teel, Director of Instrument Design for C.F. Martin & Co. has his own company wherein he builds guitars and ukes. He has built concert ukes with this method and they sound great.

mailman
11-08-2012, 06:03 AM
I am not a builder, I am a reviewer, but I have been learning more and more about bracing patterns and why people use them.
My question is this:
With all the cool CNC tech we have out there, would it be possible and/or a good idea to to take a thick piece of wood and mill it down with the bracing carved in?
The idea come from the plastic ukes that have the bracing molded in.
I know it would waste a ton of wood, but is it possible? Should it be done?

I'm not a builder, either, Tim, but I don't think it would be a good idea. Wood has a grain, and the grain of the wood should run with the length of the brace. CNC machining would mean all the "brace" grains would be parallel, and at weird angles to the brace....

weerpool
11-08-2012, 06:17 AM
this has been done on archtop guitars as far as i know.

Mandarb
11-08-2012, 06:25 AM
Tim Teel, Director of Instrument Design for C.F. Martin & Co. has his own company wherein he builds guitars and ukes. He has built concert ukes with this method and they sound great.

I should clarify that Tim has done this for the back and sides. He takes a large piece of wood, removes what will be the top, mills out the the rest - so that the back and sides are all one piece, and then re-attaches the top. I am not sure what bracing he uses on the top.

hoosierhiver
11-08-2012, 07:11 AM
I would guess it's not desirable, as previously mentioned I think the brace should have the wood grain running crosswise for strength. I could picture a milled down brace bowing with the top instead of supporting it, I'd also wonder if the milled-in brace would be more prone to crack especially over time. A final thought is that it might affect resonance, but this is all conjecture.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-08-2012, 07:28 AM
The Australian guitar company, Cole Clark made guitars with this 'bracing' method.

Braces do many things- introducing cross grain stiffness and support, and like side splints, can minimize top cracks from going pass the brace. You don't get any of this by starting out with a thick slab and routing out the braces in relief.

And should I also mention the gross waste of wood?

A fantastic AAAAA curly koa top is say $100 at 4mm. To cnc the braces this top would have to be at least 15mm and THEN you would have AAAAA curly koa top braces with the same grain orientation as the top. I cant think of anything worse. In fact, i would rather no braces then this.

For guitars, a fantastic German Spruce guitar top costs $200 retail at 5mm thick. To cnc the braces into it the top would have to be 20-25mm (3/4"- 1") thick. That's alot of extra $$$$$ when excellent brace stock is $6 an inch retail.

Hope this somewhat answers your curious Q. (Interestingly "Q" stands for a wood's inherent vitreousness, or glass-like 'Q'uality - e.g Brazilian Rosewood has a high 'Q' .)

beau

Needless to say, Cole Clark are a bad joke of modern luthiery but they do sound pretty good plugged in.

Rick Turner
11-08-2012, 07:39 AM
What Beau said...

The ability to control longitudinal to transverse stiffness is very important with bracing.

Roger Siminoff makes very clear distinctions between structural braces and what he prefers to call "tone bars". Neither would do well with short grain running diagonally as would happen with skewed bracing.

And aside from the ability of one to do a "nut bowl" uke or guitar on a CNC machine, what's the advantage? It is horribly wasteful with no apparent advantages, and, in fact, the sides become very, very weak if you do that.

BTW, Orville Gibson built mandolins and guitars with carved out backs and sides. By hand...

ukeeku
11-08-2012, 08:49 AM
thank you all for indulging my curiosity. Sounds liek the answer yes it is possible, and you should not do it.

Kevin Waldron
11-08-2012, 09:40 AM
Before everyone says no! You should probably look at this YouTube on a guitar, it does include sound clip.

http://youtu.be/0HrlcWVh3K4

There are a number of other companies doing similar things, there is actually one company manufacturing them but can't remember the name.... they were at the NAMM show and they had a uke.

Blessings,

Kevin

ukeeku
11-08-2012, 10:10 AM
Must be something in the air, that was posted a week ago.
That is what I was talking about. Thanks

Rick Turner
11-08-2012, 01:38 PM
And are we supposed to like that?

Just because something can be done does not make it a great idea... And ideas have to meet the street to be proven...

I've been chambering the insides of "clamshell" electric guitars since 1979, and it's a great way to save some weight, but I would not try for "acoustic" qualities to try to match what we can do with assembling ukes or guitars from thin, carefully chosen bits of wood.

ksquine
11-08-2012, 03:18 PM
Ditto on it being a huge waste if wood. The cost of the wood would probably negate any savings on labor or time. Plus you have ugly grain run-out on the curves or radiused top and back.
Wether you like the sound or not....That guitar in the clip looks f'ugly with all the run-out.

ChrisRCovington
11-08-2012, 06:23 PM
Weird. I feel like that guitar would have made more sense if it were made out of a plastic or synthetic material of some sort!? Maybe one of those "3-D printed" products? To waste that much wood seems a little silly to me. I guess if the guy is doing it to experiment and push his own limits in his craft, that's cool, but I hope it doesn't become a regular commercial product. I'll also 2nd the f'ugly comment. It needs a serious paint job to hide that grain run-out.

rar jungle
11-08-2012, 06:35 PM
Wow, that was pretty cool! It looked cool, and sounded good. Somebody trying something new. There's probably a reason he named the guitar "Heresy". Hopefully he blessed it with a little dab of hot hide glue somewhere on it.


Before everyone says no! You should probably look at this YouTube on a guitar, it does include sound clip.

http://youtu.be/0HrlcWVh3K4

There are a number of other companies doing similar things, there is actually one company manufacturing them but can't remember the name.... they were at the NAMM show and they had a uke.

Blessings,

Kevin