A Labor of Love

The Nature Coast Dulcimer Works is not only the portal for fine, handcrafted Appalachian dulcimers — it is also a celebration of the art of creation. I have never taken for granted the absolute beauty of hardwood as it is shaped and sanded into a lovely and functional work of art. Consequently, this site will not be the typical “Buy my Dulcimers” website.  After all, there are many dulcimer factories and individuals who build some excellent instruments. What I prefer is sharing the joys (and sometimes frustrations) of woodworking and dulcimer building, allowing visitors to “look over my shoulder” as the process unfolds. This desire to share is perhaps a reflection of my career as a teacher and perpetual student. Therefore, this website will be unusual by nature.

I prefer to build my dulcimers one at a time, with design input from the customer. Consequently, no two  instruments I have created thus far are exactly alike. They do, however, reflect the traditional style and construction techniques of the mountainous region from whence I came.

Let’s custom-design your dulcimer today!

Tim Stuart




I am very pleased to present my 50th dulcimer, constructed 45 years since I built my first one — to Ms. Becky. Thank you for the opportunity to build this for you. Enjoy!

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Tuning Stuff

It was time to install the friction pegs which was quick and painless because I had prepped for them when I put together the peghead. The fine tuners were next. The only other time I added fine tuners at the other end was for the Dog Head dulcimer I made for myself. For that one, …

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Prepping for the Strings

After the second coat has dried thoroughly, I gave the dulcimer a coating of paste wax, applied lightly with 0000 steel wool and wiped off to a smooth and slick finish. I then installed the tiny screws that serve as end pins for the strings. For the past several years, I have been using a …

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Finishing Coats

I love this part. The walnut is pretty enough in its raw form, but really pops when the finish is applied. I use Minwax satin finish hand-rubbed polyurethane for all my instruments. This time, I deviated from this by using a foam brush to do the gator head because of all the convolutions in its …

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