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Mahogany as brace material?

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 75
I bought a 1 1/2" X 6" piece of mahogany to make neck and tail blocks and got to wondering if the cut offs would be useful for back braces?

Mar 21, 09 | 4:08 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Good question ... seems like the stiffness would be fine, but maybe it's a denser wood so the mass would inhibit tone??


Mar 21, 09 | 4:17 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Great choice often considered an upgrade. Just make sure you re-saw on the quarter to make it perfect vertical grain material -- taller is better than the old flat Martin sytle. Funny this came up, I am going to put some Mahogany cut offs on EBay soon -- I have minimum sizes for the CNC machines so the material does not work for us.


Kenneth Michael Gutiars est. 1978

Mar 21, 09 | 7:05 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
That's what I have in my jumbo, and was considering using it in my zebrawood guitars (more to come on those soon....)

Mar 21, 09 | 7:26 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
Bracing is mostly spruce . Spruce being the first choice because of its efficient weight to strength ratio. I only seen 1 guitar with mahogany braces. It was a very low end guitar so it wasn't a fair assessment of hog as a brace material . Mahogany can vary a bit in its weight to strength ratio as compared to spruce. I would recommend doing a good deflection test on the stock first and compare it to your spruce.
All I can say is to try it. I never built with it and lets face it , if it were a great bracing stock you would see it more . Just my 2cents. If you do use it cut it as. Ken described.
john hall
blues creek guitars

Mar 22, 09 | 3:55 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Just to be clear -- this thread is about using Mahogany for "Back" bracing not top bracing. And I have seen many classics with all the rim inside secondary components made of Mahogany and deemed top of the line. Several of the Construction publications also specify Mahogany (I built several guitars with Mahagany back bracing based on David Russell Young's specs). To John's point I'd submit you don't see it because it costs several times more than spruce. As far as the sonic acoustic element -- I am certainly clueless! In other words, can it help? who knows --- can it hurt? To me, seems like not.


Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Mar 22, 09 | 4:25 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
As Rick Turner (Renaissance guitars) always says on another forum ... "Go ahead and build it and let us all know how it works out."

(Doncha love being treated like a guinea pig.)

:) Bill

Mar 22, 09 | 7:18 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Here's a twist -- In his book, Brosnac recommends Spruce on a Mohagany back and Mahogany on a Rosewood back? Go figure?


Mar 22, 09 | 8:01 am

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 74
I am going to use mohagany bracing on the back , i do have a fender and 12 string yammy that use it for backs but both have spruce for tops. So I will let you know how it works out!

Regards Ian

Mar 23, 09 | 6:14 am

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 68
I am currently building an LMI serviced kit with Mayan Walnut back and sides and I recall the Kit Wizard listed mahogany as the back brace material as the default so I went with it. So far so good. I hope to have it finished in a month or so.

Mar 23, 09 | 6:34 am
Running Dog

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 103
Mahogany doesn't have spruce's stiffness-to-weight ratio but it's not bad. At least, that's true for Honduran. You probably won't be finding decent Honduran in the local lumberyard or big box home store anymore so you'll be paying top dollar for it -- more than for spruce. And since stiffness/weight isn't as good as spruce, I don't see why one would choose mahogany over spruce for bracing. (I don't have figures for stiffness/weight of the mahogany wannabe woods but would guess that they're not as good as Honduran. But the boards are easy to find and are cheap -- is that reason enough to use it?)

If you are using it for back bracing, my guess is that it won't make the slightest difference in tone or volume. If you're following plans based on spruce, reduce the dimensions of the mahogany to equal the stiffness of the spruce and you'll be fine. If you're thinking of using it on the soundboard, stop and think some more.

Apr 07, 09 | 9:25 pm

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