Back braces let in to linings

Island Jim

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I'm about ready to glue the back onto my new tenor and I was wondering if most builders capture the ends of their back braces into pockets in the linings or just stop them short. I can see where capturing the ends makes them less likely to come loose but it is a pain and I wonder is it really necessary?
 
I'm about ready to glue the back onto my new tenor and I was wondering if most builders capture the ends of their back braces into pockets in the linings or just stop them short. I can see where capturing the ends makes them less likely to come loose but it is a pain and I wonder is it really necessary?
I do on the lower back brace, for one specific reason - to lock the back into position while gluing.

I used to do the upper, below the soundhole, as well...but I don't find it necessary any more. Instead I butt the ends right up to the linings so it LOOKs like they are tucked, but not. Much neater appearance.

This is opposed to the top, where I think tucking into the linings is really a good thing structurally.
 
This is opposed to the top, where I think tucking into the linings is really a good thing structurally.

As I remember, this was a hotly discussed item long, long ago: to tuck or not to tuck, that is the question. To me it comes down to the question of structural soundness versus acoustic considerations. In other words, build the ukulele structurally strong or build the ukulele not so tight in order to sound good. Maybe a balancing act.

I tuck the back cross braces and glue them to the bracing AND to the sides to make a sound, structural box. On the top I do not tuck the bracing nor does it touch the linings on the theory that the top is more free to vibrate. Does it make a difference? I dunno. But that is the way I do it.
 
I never tuck the top braces for acoustic reasons but I do normally tuck the back braces. I ended up tucking the back braces on this new one, I thought what is my hurry, just do it right. I timed myself, it took 15 minutes to mark the linings, cut the pockets and trim the braces. It also was a good excuse to sharpen my 1/4" chisel.


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I always tuck them in ..the idea is for strength so that they don‘t pop off at the ends if the plates flex too much.… It's like as if floor board joists didn’t connect to the house walls.
 
Always tie braces into the sides.... That lattice bracing looks substantial. Have you thought of using hard-grade (grey in color as opposed to the usual tan color of modeling grade) balsa for your lattices?
 
Thanks for the advice, I will keep tying the braces to the sides. I have never seen that hard-grade balsa you mention Pete but I will look for it and give it a try. I have to say though the spruce lattice bracing is working pretty well. My latest tenors are even across the strings and loud, I think maybe the stiff braces are making the whole top work together somehow, I wish I could show you one!
 
I tuck but before I glue on the binding I take a Dremel and cut off about an 1/8th inch to remove the end of the brace and any glue. I have seen too many instruments where the tops or backs have shrunk and pushed out the sides over the decades.
 
So you are concerned about the top or back shrinking across the grain more than the braces along the grain. I would not be concerned if the top or back was a nice quarter sawn piece of stable wood but I can see a potential problem if you are using some flat sawn figured wood that has a lot of movement.
 
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