My ancestors settled in New Jersey in 1680. They were members of the Society of Friends, known to most folks as Quakers. Although the last of our practicing family members has recently died, and I am not religious, I nonetheless retain several prominent characteristics of my forebears:
1. A disdain for frivolous ornamentation
2. A penchant for egalitarianism manifested as a deeply held belief in non-interventionism
Which brings us to Dove.
As I transmogrified Orchid (the bass) into Dove (the guitar), the shape evolved toward abstract representation of a dove in flight. A dove is a symbol of peace, and provided a wonderful opportunity to extend the metaphor. "What if," I thought, "I just make the entire instrument symbolic of peace — peace as achieved through non-interventionism?"
So I decided to use (as much as possible) local resources. The cherry is part of a local tree I bought from an old-time local sawmill. The walnut & curly maple are sustainable North American hardwoods, obtained regionally. Why not build a gorgeous instrument with distinctive timbre, that doesn't require exotic tropical African species?
So, in thinking about the neck-into-body joint, I decided a dovetail was the perfect choice: incredibly solid, a traditional Quaker design & construction element, and correlating to our dove metaphor. Dovetail joints set forces in opposition, achieving a net-neutral balance that does not derive strength from glues or fasteners. A dovetailed joint on a furniture drawer can easily last for centuries.
This particular joint is a variant of the sliding dovetail. To further strengthen the joint, however, it is an asymmetrical sliding dovetail, such that the tension of the strings further tightens the grip of the surfaces. Due to the geometric complexity, I had to cut the joint by hand, with chisels. Because the joint seams are exposed on the front and back of the instrument, the workmanship had to be very precise: a process requiring many hours of labor. I enjoyed this challenge though. Once the joint was fitted and glued, I added walnut inlay for additional strength, visual contrast and interest. (click images to enlarge)