There is even some tonewood from 20 years ago that I bought for my first projects. But after starting my little business, I needed to focus on one family of instruments, and other diverse ideas were shelved, and a splendid rationalisation was assembled about not making a guitar.
I've always been a bit intimidated by the plentiful world supply of guitars- we seem to stand knee deep in cheerfully economical ones built with the love and care of workers who have a tiny fraction of the sort of income that we could live on...and this is really starting to bite into the world of violins too.
Everyone wants to feel that they live in a society that has room for people to make a living perpetuating noble historical crafts, it is comforting to have these people around (especially when we want something fixed by a specialist) but not everyone seems willing to support the idea by paying adequately for the work. The GFC, globalisation of the marketplace and the easy purchase without local taxes, of goods from all over the world has the effect of splitting us into two worlds- the doers and the consumers. I'd rather be a doer.
Anyway, I digress into the sort of negativity that disengages readers...There are so many thousands of beautiful guitars in the world it is hard to get excited about making one, but I found myself doing just that, because it is to be for me. The process started with my restoration of the mandolin, but it was a very difficult thing for my fat fingers to learn. My eldest son provided the example though, by having so much wholesome fun learning the guitar as an adult. I began to follow his excellent example, and soon the old "what if" questions began to attach themselves to the bits of wood that I had stored for all these years.
If there is interest I can blog my progress on this build. It is quite a different process from building a violin, but may be of interest to someone, nevertheless.
Molds are wonderful things and they come in many types. These are some that I've made over the years.The example above is an outside mold for a violin, typically used by 19th Century French makers. They produce a very accurate rib shape, with tidy and consistent verticality. Because of this, many French beauties lacked the subtle nuance and 'swing' in the contours of Italian instruments that were made on an inside mold, and which allowed the ribs to curve into a slightly convex shape that was ideosyncratic but often breath-taking. By comparison some of the French models produced with this type of mold were clinical and a little too pristine for many eyes. This very characteristic though is what makes the outside mold so suitable for guitar making.....convexity and meandering outlines don't look well on a guitar.
These viola molds are of the Italian type. Their most notable feature is the shape of the corner blocks.
Many guitar makers use no fixed mold at all. If the bending of the sides is done accurately, the mold can be redundant - but it does provide a wonderful, strong and reassuring structure to keep everything in the right place while fixing things into it, and shaping edges.
The reason I have chosen to use a mold is that I believe I benefit from producing consistency in designed shapes, learning mainly from nuances in tuning and sound...so a few consistent bodies can develop acoustically from a manageable number of variables. Overall size and shape are then design decisions, not the result of incremental variations in craft.