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 featuring carvings: I carved a bear’s head on dulcimer #10 in 1980 (which I still have) and created a gator-head on a dulcimer that I did in the mid-eighties and traded for a 1926 Victrola.
So, I decided to throw caution to the winds and create a one-of-a-kind dulcimer with a motif. My inspiration was our “pound puppy”, Jasmine– a beagle mix who has been part of the family for about 11 years.
I started with the trickiest part–the peghead that I planned to carve. I used my template for a regular peghead and added some large blocks.
I had found a tiny toy hound dog that resembled Jasmine, and used it to create some templates (The toy held still a lot better than the dog did).
I began to cut away the parts that didn’t look like a dog.
Abandoning the peghead for the time being, I switched to creating the fretboard (with a 28″ scale length).