Category: Construction

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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This One Is For Me

I have been planning a new dulcimer for myself for about 5 years, but always seemed to have other projects that took precedence or I just chickened out on what was necessary to accomplish it. I wanted to do a carving on the peghead, and this just made me nervous. I have done two dulcimers …

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Dulcimer #46 is complete!

After a coat of paste wax and installing the tuning machines, I attached the acoustic bass strings and carefully located the bridge in the optimum place. On the evening of Friday, December 2nd, I joined the Naturecoast Dulcimer Players on the front porch of an historic house in nearby Floral City and played 2 hours …

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Assembly and Detail Work

Finally reached the point where the shaping and prep work is finished;  the assembly and detail work begins. First, the peg head and tail stock is glued to the top, then prepped for the back. The back is clamped into place and the sides are sanded down thinly. The sides are steamed to make them pliable, …

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Top and Back

Things are really taking shape now. Removed the top and fretboard from the gluing jig and used it to trace the shape onto the bookmatched back piece. After insuring that they are the same size, I test fit the pieces so far. Next, I need to install the strips which will secure the sides. I …

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Sound Holes and Stuff

Jon has requested shamrocks for the sound holes. I found several different designs to use, but we agreed on a three-leaf shamrock, with the larger ones near the strum hollow and identical (but smaller) ones near the nut. These are especially nice because they are simple and elegant–and the leaves look like little hearts. After …

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Top and Back, Head and Tail

I sandwiched pieces of walnut into a block and laid out the pattern for the peg head. I have always liked the graceful lines of my traditional peg head but needed to do a little modifying to accommodate the extra wide sides and the tuning machines. Next, I re-sawed a 5″ walnut board by taking slices …

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Fretwork

A few weeks ago,  I was approached by one of our English teachers, Kat Anthony, who wanted to create a photo documentary of the construction of a dulcimer for a class at the University of Florida. She has also agreed to take some shots for me to share in this blog. Kat is an excellent …

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Back to Bass-ics

Just as I was completing the re-fret project, I received an email from Jon in Oregon. Jon had been in contact with Johanna, a colleague in the Nature Coast Dulcimer Players and the original owner of my prototype bass dulcimer, created a year ago. After we established a dialog, he ordered a bass with shamrock …

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Finishing Touches

After trimming the board and working around the strum hollow, it’s time to add the string guide near the nut. After doing some final staining and a coat of polyurethane, I’m ready to attach the strings. And here’s the finished project: