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Thread: Brace wood?

  1. #11

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    It's obvious that Spruce is the wood of choice, but just out of curiosity is there other types of wood that will work for the bracing?

    I'm not one for cutting corners and building something flimsy, I'm just looking for something that's more readily available that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy.

    Thanks for all the info!
    Sawdust

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    43

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    Quote Originally Posted by jupiteruke View Post
    Actually, the "spruce goose" is made almost entirely of birch, mostly plywood.

    Using numbers from the wood database, for a couple of different woods, looking at the stiffness per unit weight
    ___________________ weight lbs/ft3__elastic modulus__stiffness/weight
    poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)___29___1580000________54,483
    sitka spruce__________________27___1600000________59,259
    European spruce______________25___1406000________56,240
    Port Orford cedar_____________29___1646000________ 56,759

    So poplar is stiffer than 2 of the spruces however it is not as stiff per unit weight. Port Orford cedar is the stiffest of the spruces, but because it is slightly heavier than sitka, it has a lower stiffness per unit weight. (that being said, I use Port Orford cedar for all my top braces to maximize stiffness with very good results)
    I'm not trying to be argumentative, but the engineer in me says that the stiffness to weight ratio, compared with poplar, is 4.2% greater for Port Orford cedar and 8.7% for sitka spruce. That's somewhat significant, but it suggests that poplar is usable for braces. On the other hand, spruce is readily available in many places and is considered to be ideal for that application, so why reinvent the wheel?

    To OP: Maybe poplar wouldn't be the best choice for a first attempt, but it probably would be fine if you were willing to experiment with varying the dimensions of the braces.
    Last edited by Uke-alot; 11-22-2019 at 09:58 AM.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawdust View Post
    It's obvious that Spruce is the wood of choice, but just out of curiosity is there other types of wood that will work for the bracing?

    I'm not one for cutting corners and building something flimsy, I'm just looking for something that's more readily available that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy.

    Thanks for all the info!
    Sawdust
    I bought enough Sitka Spruce for at least 10 ukuleles for about $12. Shipping was twice that, but I needed enough other things that it was well worth it.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    I bought enough Sitka Spruce for at least 10 ukuleles for about $12. Shipping was twice that, but I needed enough other things that it was well worth it.
    Where did you order it?

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawdust View Post
    Where did you order it?
    woodtoworks.com

    they have a nice uke sized kerfed lining, nice and interesting tonewoods, and lots of other things, too

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    woodtoworks.com

    they have a nice uke sized kerfed lining, nice and interesting tonewoods, and lots of other things, too
    Thanks, checked them out, nice website.

  7. #17

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    Here is an address to my preferred source of spruce:

    https://alaskawoods.com/product-cate...and-materials/

    They obviously have great wood for tops etc. as well but the link will take you to the area you will find stock for making braces....

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mangawhai NZ
    Posts
    417

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    +1 for Alaska Woods
    Miguel

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    410

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    Poplar has been used for years in making cheap guitars for mail order for half of the last century. I have two, one was sort of playable. Not a great guitar, but then again a guitar built from spruce to the same dimensions might be a dud also. Mahogany is used for guitar tops when it makes more sense building with spruce for the top. A different flavor. A spruce top with poplar braces will not be too far out there, uke building does not turn its nose up to using hardwoods for the top. While I think spruce may have an edge on poplar as brace material poplar should not be all that bad.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by printer2 View Post
    Poplar has been used for years in making cheap guitars for mail order for half of the last century. I have two, one was sort of playable. Not a great guitar, but then again a guitar built from spruce to the same dimensions might be a dud also. Mahogany is used for guitar tops when it makes more sense building with spruce for the top. A different flavor. A spruce top with poplar braces will not be too far out there, uke building does not turn its nose up to using hardwoods for the top. While I think spruce may have an edge on poplar as brace material poplar should not be all that bad.
    I have made several Mountain dulcimers using walnut and cherry, I know people that build them totally out of poplar including the bracing and linings without any problems at all. I can't really see a ukulele having so much stress that a poplar brace wouldn't hold up. But again I don't confess to know everything, maybe stress isn't the whole issue.

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