You are currently viewing Kit Guitar Forum archives. To view the current forums go to


Oval sound port

Total Topics: 21
Total Posts: 190
What's the best way to cut an oval sound port?

Jul 13, 10 | 12:58 pm

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 19
I hope to do the same thing on my build. I planned on gluing a cardboard cutout of the design on the side, tracing around it with an exacto knife, then taking a flat router base for my dremel and progressively routing the edge down until it's close and making the final cut with the exacto knife. That way I could clean up the edge with sand paper.
But don't take my word for it!!! I haven't done it yet.

Hopefully one of the resident experts here can advise both of us.

Jul 13, 10 | 1:05 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
I'm no expert, and haven't cut an oval sound hole before, but I have a couple of suggestions.
1. Use a more solid pattern, perhaps made from masonite, or even acrylic.
2. If you have a dremel with a small router base, make your pattern the shape you want, but small enough so you can run the router base around the pattern, and cut the hole the size you want.
You can use the same principle to rout the channel in an oval around where your sound hole will be for a rosette, just use a bigger pattern. If you do this, cut the rosette channel(s) first, then the sound hole after.
3. Or, your idea to cut with an exacto knife is not a bad one, and you can make a full size pattern to cut around, but use a harder, stiffer material for that pattern.

With the tools I have, that is how I would probably approach doing it.


Jul 13, 10 | 2:50 pm

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
I'm no expert either but here's how I successfully cut my oval port, using a drill, coping saw, pvc pipe and sandpaper:

1 print out appropriate sized oval and tape to upper bout
2 use a smallish brad point drill to turn the inside part of the oval to swiss cheese (actually just a series of holes just inside the line should be fine
3 set up a coping saw through one of the holes and carefully cut inside the line, you have something that looks like an oval at this point
4 i then used a 1/2 inch diameter pvc pipe wrapped in sandpaper to sand back to the line in my paper template. this size seemed to fit perfect in the tightest part of the oval's curve.

It did take some elbow grease, and I was working up to making a template for a dremel setup but felt more comfortable doing it freehand.

The swiss cheese:

this is the best shot i could find at the moment:

I bent a piece of rosewood to back the sound port, cross grain. Next one i will try to bind it too.

good luck and have fun - darren

Jul 13, 10 | 6:56 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I've done it a couple of times using a drill as darren suggests, and the dremel mini sanding drum to smooth it out. I've not been happy with any of them yet, and need to learn to go a little slower.

Jul 14, 10 | 12:42 pm

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
Ken's advise 'go a little slower' is perfect - I tried the dremel mini sanding bit too, but it scared the crap out of me and i went back to hand sanding.


Jul 14, 10 | 1:21 pm
Running Dog

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 103
It's a pain but I print my pattern, glue it to the upper bout, and Dremel. All that's after I laminate a piece or two of backing wood inside the rim (done before gluing top and back on). A hole drilled through each focus of the ellipse keeps the inside and outside shapes lined up.

Basically, I Dremel it out just like it was an inlay, then use the sanding drum with a 120 grit cylinder, then a small file to finish cleaning up.

I've thought about making an acrylic pattern and using some sort of pattern bit but the curve of the different bouts and need to use different sized patterns on different models keeps me from investing the time. So I do it the annoying, slow way.

Jul 14, 10 | 5:18 pm

Total Topics: 21
Total Posts: 190
Thanks so much Guy's!
Great looking guitar Dog...:0)

Jul 14, 10 | 5:24 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I like that look, RD! Mind if I borrow the idea on some future guitars?

Jul 15, 10 | 8:48 am

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
I do it the same way as Rick...but with much less skill, so you should have no problem doing yours Ray Ray. Take a look at the port I put on my brother's guitar:

Thats a deer track for anyone interested in knowing. That one wasnt too hard and I even beveled the edges of the holes to let the maple veneer I put on the inside show a little more up as a contrast against the walnut.
I thought it looked pretty good when I did it, and I still think so now. A whole 6 weeks later!

Jul 15, 10 | 6:58 pm

Total Topics: 21
Total Posts: 190
I love it Tony, I do remember....I've followed a lot of those tracks here in Colorado, I KNEW what it was...hahahaha...great job...yeah, I've decided I can get it right..OR screw it up..either's in my future!> Thanks again!!

Jul 15, 10 | 7:31 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Nice Tony! We have em here too, 10 miles from Chicago. The White Tailed Deer is protected here too, so there are far too many of them....they now live in peoples yards, as do to the Foxes and Coyotes. The Bobcats, though they are movinf back this way, are a little more reclusive. I like how both those soundholes look, though.

Jul 16, 10 | 10:05 am

You must be a registered and logged in member to post in this forum