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Lute making problems? Answered

In my engineering class in high school I am being tasked to create a lute as a final senior project.
I have done some research in to making a lute and have found a lute CAD generator which has helped me so much
I'll be using a CNC to create most of the parts.
The issues I'm running into currently are: what thickness and type of wood should i use for the body creation, and how should is keep the wood i place after its steamed and formed? 
thank you 


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8 years ago

That's a fairly daunting project for HS.

First, try finding the book "Making Musical Instruments" (C) 1979, edited by Charles Ford. I have a copy and there's a chapter on Lute construction.

Use whatever type of wood works for Guitars; traditionally that's something like Brazilian rosewood, but you can't get that now. Maple, walnut or cherry are more common now. You can buy precut guitar backs, tops and side blanks from ebay...

The book specs the ribs (what forms the body) as 1.5 to 2 mm thick.

The body of a lute is spherical in cross-section, so the ribs are all nearly identical. Make a "rib-former"; a solid piece of wood, so all the ribs can be bent to the same shape.

The ribs a "layed up" just like a boat--a mold is used to hold the ribs in the shape of the body/back.

Guitar side aren't really steam bent--they are slightly moistened and bent on a "bending iron," which is usually a home-built device consisting of a length of exhaust pipe with an electric heating element inside.

If you have CAD modeling software you can probably find all the rib shapes dimensions; otherwise it's done very similarly to "lofting" a boat...

Good luck.