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Thread: Carbon fiber, an untapped material for ukes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    19

    Default Carbon fiber, an untapped material for ukes?

    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!
    Mya Moe Tenor
    Luna High Tide Tenor
    Breedlove Pursuit Concert

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Stockton on Tees..North East UK.
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    5,326

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    There are quite a few about..Mostly "Blackbird" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pG7TU-pANU

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
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    136

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    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.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read.
    -Mark Twain

  4. #4

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    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cairns, Australia
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    2,410

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    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.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Wales, UK
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    If you have the right grade balsa you can dispense with the CF.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Piedmont, California
    Posts
    13

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    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


    Carbon underside Mid Tenor/Concert 8 string

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