Assembly went a lot quicker than I thought:
We oiled the inside surface and drilled the sound holes in the morning. We also drilled tiny holes around the outer surfaces to prevent crackage when we installed the finishing nails. Gluing was a snap.
The whole rest of my day was spent transferring the dragon design to the face:
…carving it, and lots and LOTS of sanding. Husband took turns with me, and we watched two History channel specials and half of a sci-fi movie before I deemed it finished. It is now ready for its outer coat of oil!
I have also solved the tailpiece issue. During our Home Depot trip, we came across a set of brass entry cover plates. They are intended to sandwich over an old doorknob hole, but I think them perfect for attaching the tail rope. We drilled one hole entirely through the hearpa base, looped the tail rope around the top plate, and sandwiched them together. If I can get my hands on an engraver, I plan to do a circular knot work design on the shiny brass.
Now, all I need is strings and tuning machines….