I started with some nice aged maple and spruce, procured from Obie at Targo Woods in downtown Bellingham. I love to visit their shop, and I knew they had a bunch of wood left over from a Seattle violin/cello/bass builder. I got two wedges about 3 inches on the wide side tapering to half an inch on the skinny side. About 10 inches wide, and 3 feet long. I ran the large wedges of wood through my recently blocked up bandsaw, and got a nice book matched set of each, with plenty leftover for braces and fun projects. Joining the plates proved much more difficult than with a flat-top, because I'm dealing with a much thicker slab. I don't have a jointer in my shop, so I rely on an old school shooting board, and a large granite sanding table. After some hours of wrestling my pieces, I happily had a top and back plate, sitka spruce and western maple respectively, joined and ready to carve!
I bought Bob Benedetto's book on archtop guitar building to help me through the process. He made this really cool adjustable cradle for holding a workpiece while carving. I made my own with scrap lumber and some pipe from the ReStore (local non-profit building salvage). It's a great working surface, and I imagine I'll be using it on most projects (flat and arch top) from now on.
The very beginnings of the shape.
The bent maple sides, and the fresh made body mold.
I'd write more, but I gotta get back to carving and scraping! More photos to come soon...