The template is made from a relatively thick gauge copper designed for intaglio printing. Copper is really a wonderful material. It is easy to cut and file, has good weight and, in time, it will develop an attractive patina.
We first use a fretsaw to cut out the outline close to final dimensions and then use a file to refine the shape.
Antonio Stradivari used local walnut for his molds. The Yakima Valley is full of walnut so naturally I am using African Mahogany for this mold. After an exhaustive search for local walnut I did find it...in the form of firewood. Go figure!
I insert pins into the mold so that we can place, remove, and then re-place the template consistently in the same position. The pins also holds the template steady while we use the router table to cut the mold to final shape.
The coasters are used as spacers for the flush-cut router bit.
Now we're ready for the blocks and ribs!