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Curved Panel Templates

Curved Panel Templates

by Reagan Cole

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #80, 1978

Many instrument makers prefer to build guitars, mandolins and the like with pronounced curvature to the back panel(s). The most common method of fabricating a “vaulted” back is to work from a solid plug mold which must be carved and shaped to very exacting standards to produce acceptable results. The plug mold is in fact the best answer when one is building a number of identical instruments. The drafting technique I shall describe is a workable alternative for “one-off” projects or as an aid in visualizing three dimensional forms.

Begin by making a full scale orthographic drawing of the intended form. This will show the back and side views, but it is not directly useful in determining the dimensions of thin wood (or other material) to be used in the construction.

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