Side Port!

So I stumbled upon Tim McKnight's website and discovered the quiet world of guitar side ports. What's a side port? Basically, it's a second hole in your guitar--usually in the upper bout side on the half facing the player--that allows the player to hear a better acoustic image of what someone sitting in front of the guitar may be hearing. Usually the tone is said to be fuller or bassier from the player's perspective with a sound port.

After some thought, I decided that I HAD to try one in this guitar, and settled on an oval shape as being the most likely form to turn out looking well-crafted. I was fortunate enough to get some advice form professional luthier Michael Bashking regarding how to construct the sound port.

I began by scoring the outline of the oval into the bent side using an oval template--this way I could then Dremel away the interior up to the scoreline, and then refine my oval with files and sandpaper (shown above).

On the inside, I was advised to glue in a cross-grain patch to strengthen the side and to prevent cracks along the oval. I chose to use rosewood side material for the patch so it would look the same as the sides, but I also sandwiched a maple veneer (shown above) into it to create a little maple line detail along the inside edge of the oval side port (I would love to have bound the oval in maple, but found the procedure too difficult and risky for my first guitar).

Here's a picture of the rough-cut oval after I Dremeled it:

I think in the next photos I had already cleaned up the oval a little--I'm saving the final sanding for the end:

Once again, here's a picture of both halves ready for attachment--notice the back kerfing has been notched to accommodate the back braces.