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 is that each of my 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. The designs below are examples of what can be done.
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 those 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 wood binding or the pin panel.
The above is an example of one of my designs in a 4/19/18/9 Custom which has a Redwood soundboard made maroon with Birdseye Maple frame, pin panels and dampers. The trim is Santos Rosewood with the bridges being Maple.
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. Be aware that all elements 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. It will involve some back and forth before a design is finalized.

Examples of Customer Designed Soundholes
The design above was created by removing the image or making it negative space. This design is surrounded by an ebony rim with abalone inserts.
The design above is an example of engraving. The lines and shading are created through the laser cutting process. The rim is Cocobolo.
This very original design was actually created by the customer. It just uses negative and positive space. There are small elements that are unsupported but since they are small you can get away with it.
I have done this sound hole a number of times as it is a traditional Celtic design. I don't repeat original designs. This is another example of positive and negative space with engraved lines. The rim is Cocobolo with abalone.
Another example of a quite elaborate Celtic design with a Cocobolo rim.
A seemingly delicate image but since all the elements are connected it is really quite robust. A Wenge rim
This one is a simple image of flowers with an Ebony rim.
Birds are quite popular.

One last one of my designs; this one with a rim of Lacewood
The above video features more of the many designs I have installed in my hammered dulcimers. You can also enjoy the playing of hammered dulcimer player Steve Schneider and guitarist Paul Oorts. Thanks for watching.