Category Archive: Construction

Nov 17 2016

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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Nov 13 2016

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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Nov 08 2016


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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Nov 07 2016

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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Nov 03 2016

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:

Oct 31 2016

Installing Frets

After cutting the walnut fingerboard and sanding it carefully to fit the existing fretboard, I used my 1/100 ruler to mark the fret pattern for a 28″ scale pattern. It’s a very delicate operation so I can’t rush it. I then use my Japanese fret saw to cut the frets. Once the frets are pressed …

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Oct 29 2016

Preliminary Work

After receiving permission to continue, I removed the frets and sanded down the fretboard, removing the previous slots and preparing it for the new fingerboard. Meanwhile, I trimmed and sanded the new fingerboard to prepare for fret installation.  

Jun 13 2016


Dulcimer #45 is complete, as of this morning. The tuning pegs are Grover Sta-tite friction pegs and the strings are Vega banjo strings. Here I am with the new baby: And here is Lynn, the proud owner and co-designer:

Jun 10 2016

Home Stretch

Now the major pieces are attached: The head and tail stock are secured to the soundboard.           The back is added.             Trimming up.             Adding the sides.        

Jun 08 2016

Moving Along

Once again, playing catch-up with this posting–working on the dulcimer around other projects and diversions–these are snapshots from the past week. I’m excited to get to the point where I don’t stop until I have to let glue dry. This is the top (soundboard) re-sawn and bookmatched.               The peg …

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