Individualized Sound Holes Designs
The instrument above has a stained Redwood soundboard with Cherry bridges and Sycamore around the Curly Maple sound hole design.
One of the unique features of my custom hammered dulcimers and custom bowed psalteries is that each of these instruments have an individualized sound hole design, whether one of mine or a design developed through collaboration with the purchaser. If you choose to develop your own design, you will put your unique signature on the instrument making it more personal. The only sound hole images I will do again are traditional Celtic designs.
My designs, represented by the two above, tend to be more abstract. They are created through the cutting of paper circles. I make a good number and you can select one of these at no extra cost. If you want to work up a design of your own, it will add $75 to the cost of the instrument. Each design is cut out of sandwich of curly maple custom cut veneer . The motif is surrounded by a wooden rim which usually matches the instrument's trim or pin panel.
Examples of Customer Designed Soundholes (Slide Show)
Designing Your Own
I encourage individuals considering a custom design to find something that is unique and personal. It could be your own drawing or an image you adapt. Search within Google Images or Picsearch. to located possible source material. You need to think about images that would look good in silhouette. If you are creating a design from scratch, make sure you send me a image that is black and white. You can have portions of the design engraved rather then removed. Always indicate those elements. Be aware that all pieces of your design must be either supported by other parts of the image or by contact with the rim. All designs are made up of negative (cut away areas) and positive (white wood). You have to look at possible images in those terms. The positive areas should be connected and they must be supported. You can't have thin elements suspended out in space that will sag downwards. Islands of wood that aren't connected to other positive elements can't exist without being connected to other parts of the design.
If the design is relatively simple, I will cut by it personally using a scroll saw. If the design is very detailed and needs engraving, laser cutting would be used. Send me links from the web or jpgs of what you have in mind. Don't worry about the size as I can scale your image although be aware that you'll need an image that will look good at around 2.5" in diameter. It will involve some back and forth before a design is finalized.