Guitar building tips

Installing a Dobro® soundwell

In my German book on building acoustic steelstring guitars I also describe the building of a Dobro-style guitar. I didn't use a soundwell but some posts placed between top and back which significantly increased the volume of the instrument.
The usual way is to use a soundwell which can be glued up from several layers of plywood. The holes in the soundwell decrease the overal weight and also have influence to the sound. I wondered how this soundwell is installed and how there still remains access to a bolted-on neck. I called Fritz Harich a professional guitarbuilder in Austria (see links page) and here's what I learned:

Dobro Soundwell installation

The soundwell of his metal-body resonator guitars is glued to the top and sits on four dowels which are glued between soundwell and back. You can also make the soundwell as high as the inside of the body and glue it to top and bottom. Metal-body resonator guitars have the neck extended along the whole body running under the soundwell. Therefore the need for the dowels.
Access to the bolts of a bolted on neck is easy through one of the soundwell holes (green arrow). The resonator cone sits on the soundwell and the center of the soundwell is scalelength plus x (see placing a bridge) from the nut. By turning the spider bridge a little bit you can achieve a slanted compensated saddle.

Stewart-Macdonald's Guitar Shop Supply sells a blueprint of an all-wood and a metal-body resonator guitar.