The second instrument was the Kaiser theorbo that became the focus of this blog at the end of last year. As I commented once, it is more difficult to blog about instrument making than it is build the instruments. And it certainly takes longer to get the posts finished.The theorbo was finished in October and the guitar in December. I wanted to keep my blog current, but it doesn't seem possible. So now, six weeks after finishing the guitar, I'll pick up the story where I began taking photos for my blog, part way through the guitar's construction.
By early September I had assembled the neck, side ribs and back for the body. The photo at right shows the "slipper foot" construction -- the neck, heel and interior block are assembled forming a single unit. At this stage it is convenient to have the neck nearly finished, that is, completely contoured and veneered, and it is, except that I don't have a photo to show you.
The ebony side ribs are let into slots cut in the side of the slipper. The mass of the slipper is reduced to a minimum. I cut the slots for the ribs as tight as possible and chastise myself when I have to tighten the joint by adding shims.
The rear block is shaped in such a way as to reduce the gluing surface of each of the three elements that are attached to it -- belly, back and ribs. The narrow foot of the rear block mirrors the slipper on the neck. Internal features of baroque guitars are difficult to ascertain. I consulted two sources for the design of the slipper and the rear foot.
This photo, taken by Viola d'Amore player
Thomas Georgi, of a Voboam guitar conserved in the
Smithsonian National Museum of American History,
Washington, D.C. shows both the slender profile
of the slipper and the triangular foot; evidence of a
desire not only to reduce mass but also to firmly anchor the back.
As you can see in the next photo, also taken by Thomas, the back was constructed without supporting bars. The thickness of the wood was considered sufficient to maintain stability.