The little things

To make a guitar, any guitar, small, large custom or simple requires lots of little steps. Many processes along the way, the little things that in the end add up to a finished instrument.

This week It began by marking up and making a set of braces.

I like to use templates in this process. I have a set of braces completely made for each of the instrument styles I build. In the photos here you will see a completed set in the background and the marked up pieces of spruce in the foreground. The template braces have the proper radius for the instrument being built. It is a simple step of tracing the braces onto my blanks and a complicated step of re-shaping and duplicating that radius by hand. I do the final scalloping after they are glued to the top or back, but having the basic shape gives me some guidance as to where I want to wind up.

Marking up braces on block of spruce

spruce braces after band-sawing
Acoustic Guitar braces in the making

After cutting the brace blanks from a piece of stock with my band saw, I draw the outlines of each brace required. Then the braces are thinned by hand with a small finger plane and radiused .

Scraping cocobolo side set prior to bendingI

In another part of the process guitars  I profiled some cocobolo sides and thicknessed them. These Cocobolo sides are stiff but seem to get flexible around .079″ inches. Scraping the sides smooth before I bend them saves a lot of work later. Just another one of those little things.