Tapering the sides
Before I start building the back of the guitar I want to pare down the sides. The sides are currently about 4 1/2″ deep and I want to get them to a final depth of about 4 1/8″ at the tail end and 3 7/8″ at the neck end of the body. Stella guitar bodies are different from most in that the body reaches maximum depth somewhere between the waist and where the bridge sits, whereas most guitars are at their maximum depth close to the tail end of the body.
In this picture you can see that I have marked the approximate taper of the sides with a pencil and I am using a sharp chisel to carefully remove the bulk of the wood.
When I get close to the pencil line, I use a plane to trim the last bits of wood. The plane is more accurate and there is a much smaller risk of inadvertently tearing the side wood than there is when using a chisel.
In the picture below, the sides are sitting on a flat board to illustrate how they are tapered. Hopefully this picture shows that the sides are deepest behind the waist and that they taper down from there to either end of the body.
Finally, the kerfed mahogany linings are glued in.