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Fitting brace ends
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Author:  Colin North [ Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Fitting brace ends

Fitting brace ends into the linings early on, I could take as long as a day to fit things using a chisel to scallop and get a good fit (if I did get a good fit everywhere)
Came up with this for the last 5/6 guitars, got good fits quickly, and thought it might suggest it to help someone else.
Put the plate upside down on it's radius dish, place the rims on top and mark the brace end positions at the sides of the brace and on the brace where the it intersects with the kerf. Make a saw cut each side (to stop chip out) and Dremel (I use a 2mm bit) out the waste to whatever depth you want , say 3.00 mm.

I pre-shape the scallops on a big belt sander with a "thing" I made to thickness headstocks, and leave the brace end slightly high (about 0.2/0.3 mm)
Trim the brace ends to length (a kerf width beyond the mark), and use an U shaped MDF spacer with a sanding block upside down on top of it and sand the brace end to height, keeping the spacer and the sanding block together as you sand so as to not reduce the height of the spacer.

To check the fit I use a "feeler gauge" from aluminium foil, shows 0.5thou, actually 0.6 thou with a micrometer.

Place the "feeler gauge" between the rim and the plate just alongside the brace and press the plate down with a finger just to that side of the brace (brace position marked in chalk)
Feeler gauge should be trapped.
Repeat on other side of the brace.

If I have a problem with fitting anywhere say it's tight or doesn't quite go down, chalk the brace end area, attempt a fit, and the chalk marks will transfer, showing where anything needs attention.

Author:  Jim Watts [ Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fitting brace ends

I do it the same way using little block like you show. It really helps not having all the brace ends different.

Author:  Colin North [ Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fitting brace ends

Jim Watts wrote:
I do it the same way using little block like you show. It really helps not having all the brace ends different.

Didn't think I'd be the only one doing it this way, just I've not seen a tute/video anywhere showing this, apart from the "chisel and fit the brace ends" type.

Author:  guitarjtb [ Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fitting brace ends

I use a small strip of paper in the place of your feeler gauge. I test it on each side of the brace and under the brace, to make sure that it traps the paper in all 3 locations. This helps me avoid getting the slot too deep, which would defeat the purpose of tucking. I also use a small strip of 80 grit sand paper, the width of the slot, to floss the brace down the last few thou.

Author:  Bryan Bear [ Fri Jan 28, 2022 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fitting brace ends

That's a great tip about keeping the sanding block on top of the spacer. It is so obvious, yet something I never thought of!

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