According to Ren Ferguson who is no longer with Gibson ( Works for Guild now ) although machines are used to shape parts,clamp things together etc. ,everything is hand sanded to final dimension.Whether or not this is true, I don't know.As fo Ablam, it's been around for years. It is in fact real Abalone but very thin sheets glued together (laminated) to make larger size sheets that have some strength
.It's very easy to see why a Martin, appointed in a similar fashion as say a Gibson J-45, is considerably more expensive.Just look inside both factories and it will be evident. Just my two cents of course.