Ribbed for your pleasure

The bracing for the soundboard is a little more complex, but essentially the same techniques. But before any ribs can be glued to the top, the rosette must be inlaid and cut out. I am going with a simple, fancy design using purfling material and a ring of MOP. The channels are routed out using a laminate trimmer on a pivot to a depth of about 1/16″, maybe half of the top’s thickness. Then the rosette material is glued in and then flushed smooth to the top, and the soundhole cut out with a flywheel cutter on the drill press. (Any gaps are kept at the top where they will be covered by the fingerboard.)

Once that is done, the braces can be added to the underside. For this plan, only the x-bracing is arced, every other piece has a flat bottom. First the upper transverse braceing and the maple bridge plate. (You can see how important it is to have the soundhole cut out first. It is a handy clamp location!)


Next, the lap jointed x-braces go in one at a time. An extra piece is added to reinforce the lapped braces afterwards.

Then the lower tonebars, followed by the finger braces. Notice that the soundhole is also reinforced with spare soundboard cutoffs.

The result:

Once again, like the back braces, all of these braces are carved and shaped for weight reduction and optimum sound production.

The finished top provides enough support to counteract the pull of the strings without deforming, while being light enough for maximum sound volume and tone. (At least that’s the goal!)

Next its time to torture some wood on a hot pipe!

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