Cutting the Swan Soundhole

The Swan soundhole is cut in with miniature routers and files. The shape is determined by a paper template.

First the paper template is glued on with rubber cement. The the outline is cut and the internal shape removed. Ordinary X-acto knives and tweezers are used for this.


Next, a Dremel Multi-Pro tool is used in a plunge router base to route the shape. The router bits are carbide "fish scale" cut miniatures, available from MicroMark, a supplier of miniature tools and supplies. The shape is cut progressively, starting with a 1/8" tool and proceeding by 1/32" increments of diameter down to 1/32" for the finest detail. Some chipping will be inevitable, but can be minimized by making the final cut with the 1/32" tool in two passes: first cutting only halfway down, and then a second pass cutting clear through the top and its brace.


Finally, the soundhole shapes are refined with miniature files and the X-acto knife. The most useful file shapes are the knife, half-round, and triangle. A tweezers is also handy for picking out the stray fiber. The edges are then finished off with a light scrubbing with a #400 grit manicurists nail shaping board.

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