Well, I got the top braces glued in and carved to shape with a chisel over the weekend. I've done a bit more shaping since this and got the ends tapered right down flush with the top. A little more sanding is in order still but you can't see glue marks anymore and it looks really "nice!"
I also decided to try to put a "zipper" in the back, even after the body was mostly together. I built a jig that would flex with the curve of the back and routed a slot for the inlay. Of course it wasn't quite wide enough so I had to use scrapers and a chisel to carefully widen the channel a hair. But it's now glued in and looks good. This will also force me to try binding the body which I wanted to do anyway but again, it's once of those operations I've never done (like the zipper), which is fraught with possibilities for really messing the whole thing up. But first I need to get the top glued on... I'm getting closer.