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Using Stewmac pre-carved braces in an LMII dred kit

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 3
I am going go with the LMII serviced dred kit because of their extensive custom options. The only thing that I may not do is carve my own braces, well I will give it a shot but I would like a failsafe option so I am going to order the Stewmac precarved braces and their plan also. Besides them being a fixed radius is there any pitfalls in this approach?

Apr 04, 08 | 12:37 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Hi Don -- That may be a sound approach, as long as you keep in mind that the measurement used for the LMII parts might not match the Stewmac plan. I wouldn't expect them to be very much different, though. If you double check and allow for the differences, it could work just fine.


Apr 04, 08 | 5:58 am

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 295
I'm not sure how easy it is to completely precarve braces without attaching them to the top. The few that I have done, and the books that I have read all seem to point towards gluing the braces to the top before completing the carving. Where I'm going here is that you may need to commit one way or the other before you glue to the top.

Any of the more experienced builders out there have any thing to add. Feel free to tell me that you don't have to finish the carving with the braces attached to the top and/or back.

As for rough carving the braces, what I do is rough saw them on the band saw. Then I sand them down so that they resemble a precarved set that I have on hand in size and shape. (I'm still fairly new at this) To get the tops in to a rounded point I have a 2.5 by 10 oak sanding block with 80 grit self stick sand paper on it. I clamp this into a bench vise. I take the ends of the braces in each hand and rotate the brace back and forth at the same time as I go back and forth over the sanding block. Also I go side to side at the same time. It's actually easier than it sounds once you get the rhythm down. All my final shaping is done after I glue the braces to the top. I use a very small plane, a chisel and sand paper.

To get the correct radius on the botton, I use 15' and 25' sanding arcs. When you use these, go slow and keep the pressure light. If you press to hard, the braces will bend into the arcs and not come out with the correst radius.

Apr 04, 08 | 3:09 pm

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 158
It is daunting getting that big chunk of brace wood and thinking that you have to cut and tune it all into a major component of a musical instrument. My advice is to have a go, it is no where near as scary as it seems at first. Maybe use the Stewmac braces as an "along side" guide for the shape.

Apr 04, 08 | 6:13 pm

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