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Radius Dish Problem, StewMac 000
Author
Post
CrowDuck

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 151
I find that my StewMac 000 top radius is contoured for 28'.
My radius dish is 25'.
Question is will I 'screw things up' if I use a 25' radius for my top instead of the SM 28'? I know I can recontour my braces using the dish & sandpaper, but will the increased arch create problems 'down the road' with alignment or whatever?
Thanks,
Chris Nielsen
Soquel, CA.

Jan 15, 10 | 11:10 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Chris -- when you get down to this point, it can be difficult to perfect the whole thing. To begin with, on the top, if your X-braces and your main upper shoulder brace were actually made at 28' radius, they probably didn't stay that way after gluing. For one thing, the X braces are at an angle, so they don't create a true 28' radius in all directions. Happens for two reasons: #1) Stewmac kits are made with unradiused tone bars, unradiused finger braces, unradiused popsicle brace (the flat one across the upper bout), and unradiused soundhole braces. All of these flatten out the top a littl bit. Then, #2, the top itself, being stiffer from tail to neck than it is side to side, will resist the arching action of the X braces, and will add to the flattening influence of the other, unradiused braces. So, even though SM might say it's designed for a 28' radius, it really isn't. It's something else, and it's probably a greater-than-28-foot radius, since it's been flattened. And it isn't consistently the same radius all the way around -- that is, it isn't like a slice out of one side of a sphere that is somewhere around 28 to 30foot radius.

However, your dish, radiused in every direction at 25', is like a slice out of a big 25' sphere. So, if you sand the rim with that dish, most places on the top are not going to be a perfect fit. So, your question is sort of moot, because none of it is a perfect fit. But, sanding with a 25' dish on a nominally 28' top that is stressed in several directions by some radiused and some unradiused braces, is going in the wrong direction. Sanding with the dish at 25' and with the top probably meeting the sides with a 28-30' radius is not going to create more than a 1 or 2 degree difference anywhere on the top.

The back, well if the braces are radiused at 18 feet, and the back, being either hog or rosewood, and eing stiffer, will be closer to the nominal radius because it is only stressed across the grain ... but then when you glue it on it is going to be stressed along the grain. So, it won't end up being exactly what's stated either.

Is it a big deal? Well ... I've built three Stewmac kits -- two 000's and one dread -- and I never even thought of these issues when I built them. The guy I sold one 000 to loved it, and the guy he sold it to paid even more to get it, and they both loved it. The dread is my favorite guitar. The other 000 is being rebuilt after I fell on it. (oops) All the Stewmac kits went together easier than the later kits have, maybe because I didn't second-guess everything.

The point is, I'd recommend that you just build it and use the Stewmac instructions: They have their drawbacks but they will lead you to build a very good sounding guitar -- and "down the road" issues probably won't surface at all.

Bill

Jan 15, 10 | 12:07 pm
CrowDuck

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 151
Thanks for the input Bill!
To clarify, I haven't glued any braces yet to top or back. I'm wondering if I should recontour my X braces from SM's 28' to fit my radius dish's 25' before glueing up the top? And if I do will my bridge sit too high or will something else be 'out of whack'?
Thanks,
Chris Nielsen

Jan 15, 10 | 4:13 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Oh... ha. Well, even if you re-radius your braces to fit the 25' dish, you won'thave exactly a 25' inner radius on your top or an 18 footer on the back, as describe above. But, it'll be close enough.

As far as the extra arch raising the bridge, it shouldn't be a problem either. It might do that a litle bit, but you will need to work on the neck angle anyway, so maybe instead of making the neck heel 1.5 degrees off the perpendicular, you'll need to make it 1.75 degrees or 2.15 degrees -- at that point, it comes down to careful measuring and then filing or sanding just a bit and testing, and repeating that process until it is perfectly fitted.

I don't think there's any other way to build a guitar than this. Wouldn't be any fun anyway.

One thing: Stewmac doesn't cover sanding the base of the bridge to match the arch of the top, but it's very easy to do with some sandpaper taped to the top and a little bit of back and forth with the bridge. Curving te bridge's base puts less stress on the top and will also help reduce the small added rise from using a 25' instead of 28' set of braces.


Jan 15, 10 | 4:22 pm



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