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It's a 1/4 inch spalted maple 2-piece top on a carved out semihollow mahogany body with f-holes, a 3 1/3" wide strip down the middle, and a quarter inch border all around the body, and 3 pickups. Im also considering quarter rounding the corners. I'm mostly worried about the maple getting whacked and splitting with the grain, so ideally I would just have one or two braces running perpendicular to the grain. What sort of brace placement should I use? Would mahogany work as the braces? Roughly what thickness/size should the braces be? As this is my first guitar, I'm not too particular about the tone, so I'm not to picky about the effects of the brace placement. I just want to get a general idea of what I sould be aiming for. Thanks a lot!

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There is only one factor in what you've described that leads me to think bracing is worth considering at all: Spalted wood. With a center block running the length of the body there will be no real stress on the top. And quarter inch is actually pretty thick - much thicker than an acoustic top. Regular maple is also very strong, so the only issue would be if the punky areas that can occur in spalted wood are so weak that they need extra support. You could try to locate those weak spots and patch under them, but I would read through the posts about using CA (superglue) to bolster the strength of the top. You'd likely want to do that anyway to protect it from denting and that should take care of it structurally as well.

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I've heard that miniwax wood hardener is also good, but I wasn't sure if I was going to buy it because I heard that it's basically just a sealer with extra hardening ability. I was worried it wouldn't be compatible with my Stewmac sanding sealer, and that if I used it instead of the Stewmac kind it wouldn't seal well enough, which is key for irregular spalted woods. Should I use only one or the other, or both? Would the Stewmac sanding sealer and grain filler alone provide sufficient hardness? Thanks!

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