The one nearest is (or will eventually become) a 13 course lute after Sebastian Schelle (in the Paris Conservatoire);
The one in the middle is an 11 course lute after Hans Frei (in the Warwick County Museum);
And the one farthest away, closest to the wall, is an 8 course lute after Magno Tieffenbrucher (C45, in the Vienna KHM).
I began putting these lutes together in the beginning of November, 2010. The backs were finished before Christmas; the necks were fitted, shaped, veneered with ebony, then glued up to the body, in January. (If you want to find out what I was up to in February, tune in for the next installment.)
Here's the Schelle. It has 9 ribs of Indonesian rosewood, with holly spacers. As you can see, this wood has a pretty spectacular streaking, which makes a nice match with the holly. The neck is mahogany, with an ebony veneer; this makes the neck very strong, stable and lightweight. (The light-coloured strip you see along the edge of the neck is just a piece of masking tape to protect the veneer edge from damage--and to protect my hands from the razor-sharp ebony when I'm handling the lute.)
Here is the 11 course Frei--the back has 11 ribs
of eastern hard curly maple. This wood has a very lovely blond colour and an interesting curl, and I'm quite looking forward to bringing that out during the varnishing stage.
And here is the 8 course Tieffenbrucher. This has 17 heartwood yew ribs, with holly spacers, and again, an ebony veneered neck. I'm quite interested in this lute, because it's a new model I've wanted to develop for a long time. It's a bit scaled-down from the original C45--I had originally made the mold for a 10 course lute that could be tuned in low-pitch g'. This 8 course version will have a string length of 62.5 cm, so it can be tuned in modern-pitch g', and it will have 9 tied frets.
Here are three more views. (Please disregard the bits of masking tape at the ends of the capping strips--they are merely part of the system used to check the angle of the neck, and eventually to set the action/ stringheight of the finished lute.)