Category: Construction

Profile

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 ordered 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.  

Putting It All Together

With the peghead completed, it was time to do some shaping, adding sound holes and gluing things together.

Headaches

Carving makes me a little nervous. One false move and the whole piece can be ruined. The woodcarving knives that I’ve had for a long time are basically cheap junk. To work the large-scale removal, I used a multi-tool and chisels. I then purchased a new variable-speed Dremel tool and a bunch of different carving …

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Choosing the Wood

I want this instrument to be unique and reflective of my passion for the craft of lutherie. Since I work mostly in walnut, I’ve decided to use that for the back and sides (as usual). The top, however, will be my favorite type of wood: wormy chestnut. All the American Chestnut trees contracted a blight …

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