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Sources Of Spruce For Bracing

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Hey all,

Musing about guitar construction.....

Here we are, paying $5 - $15.00/bd-ft for "Brace Wood"

Why not go down to the local Lumberyard or Home Store

and select a nice straight close grained 2x4 stud?

These are all made of spruce. Nice pretty White spruce, Red spruce,

Englemann spruce, Lutz spruce, Sitka spruce, and whatever other kind of

spruce they can find.

These cost about $0.75/bd-ft and many times the wood is really good looking


I have done Moment of Elasticity (MOE) tests on a couple

and they compare nicely with the good stiff soundboard spruce.

If you were OK with a 13 piece top...

you could probably get a good soundboard out of one.

Think of this -- pick out a nice looking flat sawn 2x4

Cost = $3.75 for a #1 8 foot long stud.

This provides about 6 bd-ft..... Even if you only get 1 guitar worth out of an entire 2x4

it still costs *way* less than "The Good Stuff"

If you are careful picking them out -- at least 2' between knots and cracks....

you can get a big pile of "Brace Wood" out of them and still have a pile

left over for lighting the BBQ.

Tell me what you think.


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I might be worried about how dry they are but you could get like up to a 2x12 and have a 2 piece soundboard.

I have never seen a good quartersawn 2x12.... ever

Statistically.... it is possible, I guess.... They cut a ton of spruce for 2x wood.

On the other hand, it is fairly easy to find 2x4's that have nice 2' straight close

grain sections that could be split off into braces.

You know you have a bad case of WAS (Wood Acquisition Syndrome)

when you are tapping 2x4's for tap tone....

But.... then again.....

Some 2x4's do really have nice bell like rings when you whack them.

I have found a couple....



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If you know how to select brace wood (split billet, sawn parallel to split face etc, twist samples to check for runout/stiffness) then go right ahead. Relatively small cross sections like braces will dry pretty quickly, so privided you store it well and allow time to aclimate and dry out you'll be juts dandy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was under the impression that bracing billets were a minimal cost item. Now I have to start looking for trashed pianos and old fish crates. The Humanity of it all.

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I think the premis of saving cash is secondary. Bracing for an acoustic only requires a fraction of a bd. ft. worth of wood, and even if you choose to pay for the best hand selected bits paying $10 bd. ft. The cost per. instrument is negligable.

I see nothing wrong with looking for good bits of softwood in lumber form. However, you have to recognise the prices paid for "select" wood is based on that selection(don't get me wrong, some prices are WAY off base for soundboards. Don't pay crazy prices). With hand split billets of select Spruce, I will have a fair bit of waste and many lower grade cuts. If you buy lumber that is not selected(based on the tree and properties) you should expect much lower yeild of high quality bits(it is more of a crap shoot). You may luck out, or you may wind up with lesser wood. If you don't know what your looking for or have enough experience to know the difference between good or poor quality, you likely won't do well but may think you struck gold.

So I think it is a great idea, but use common sense. :D

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