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  1. The Lucky Diamond Dulcimer — 2 comments
  2. Fretting, Gluing and Shaping — 1 comment
  3. Finishing the Top — 1 comment
  4. Sanding and Shaping — 1 comment
  5. Diversions — 1 comment

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Fretting Over the Eyes and Frets

I am particular about the eyes on these carvings. Through trial and error, I have settled on the half-beads with built-up eyelids. This is the trickiest and most time-consuming part of the whole dulcimer. It would be a snap if I were working with clay, but must use tiny pieces of walnut instead. I make …

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Adding Texture

I decided to add some texture to the upper snout area — something I have never tried. I like it. I also added some eyes. Letting them dry overnight.


Still entertaining company, but found some shop time to start the shaping process. It’s important to clamp that puppy down when making the large rough cuts. Sometimes I tape down a piece of scrap if there’s a chance I might damage a semi-finished part. I am able to hold the work while doing some of …

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We have out-of-town family visiting for a few days, but I still found a little time to slip into the shop to cut out the profile. I’m beginning to see this dude!

Hunting a Gator

With the functional part of the peghead completed, it’s time to find the gator hiding in this block of wood. This part of the process is truly magic to me and I do not rush it. Besides, walnut is not the medium for whittlin’ out a head — I have to use power tools. One …

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And We’re Off!

I like to start with the peghead first. The width of the peghead will determine the width of the fretboard. Since this will be a carved peghead, I need to add extra wood to make sure I have enough to work with. However, the tuning peg box is still the same basic shape that I …

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A Florida-Flavored Number 50

Becky, a fellow member of the Naturecoast Dulcimer Players, has commissioned a new dulcimer — one with a gator head carving in the tuning scroll. I am particularly excited about this build: this year marks the 45th year since I learned the craft, it will be the 50th dulcimer I have constructed, and Becky has …

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The Lucky Diamond Dulcimer

From time to time, I am asked to do some dulcimer improvement or repair work. For the most part, this will involve procedures such as adding a 6 and-a-half fret, fixing a buzz in a fretboard, or even creating a new fingerboard.V I will take on most of these jobs if I feel confident that …

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The Pick of the Litter

¬†Finally worked my way to the final details of the pegs, nut, bridge, and strings. I had decided to go traditional and install violin pegs. It would really look sharp, but make it more difficult to get into exact tune. To help alleviate this, I allowed for the installation of fine tuning beads at the …

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Down the Home Stretch

¬†Thanks to careful design, everything is fitting together nicely.             The first coat of polyurethane. This’ll be finished sometime this weekend.