While jazz plays on a tabletop boombox, Bernabe painstakingly transforms slabs of spruce and maple into musical works of art. A real-estate man for part of the day, Bernabe spends the much of the rest of his time as a mandolin maker and musician.
"I wanted a mandolin to play but couldn't afford the thousands of dollars that a decent production model cost," he said. "This was all pre-Internet days, around 1996. So I found this book, 'Constructing a Bluegrass Mandolin,' I still have the very book."