This is the first instrument I made with a neck. I was still in high school, but I made this at home. I copied a Lyon & Healy mandolin that I borrowed from Charles Chase. My senior project was comparing the top vibrations between this mandolin, a Martin, and a Gibson: I used a phonograph needle to read the vibrations, and a speaker aimed at the top to excite the top at different frequencies.
The top wood was violin top wood; the back & sides are African mahogany that was harvested in Angola by my grandfather in the 1930s. The wood came through my dad. All that abalone, I cut out of the shell & flattened myself on a wet stone. Terrible idea - don't do this at home. It worked, though. Like I said, I had no fear.