Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This is a picture heavy post!!

So, it's been nearly 3 months since my last post, so there is a lot to catch up on!

Here are the progress photographs for my dulcimer building class over the past semester since we last spoke... 

Gluing the sides to the blocks and base...

 various clamps were used

...as well as aluminum braces, to keep the sides square (a 90Âș angle! :)

 drying and cleanup

Crazy German instrument making clamps

After this point the class fell out of sync with each other,
and everyone progressed at their own pace 

Here's a quick image of the fingerboard with the strum hollow already cut out. 

Crazy instrument measuring/scoring tool, which was used to mark the area I would need to mortise out for the tuning pegs.

various views

various views

various views

Triangulating the points were I would need to drill for the tuning peg holes.

Another clamping technique (this is another students dulcimer)

Now this I found fascinating -- Here is an apparantly ancient (as in way way back almost to stone-age times) way of clamping two boards together, lengthwise, so that they are glued together both straight and level... 

...and all it is is a wedge, block, and a rope... genius!

Various tools: Japanese saw, narrow kerf saw (with guide), various planes, and a chisel.

The 2 sides of the top of my dulcimer glued and clamped.

More planes.

This is a special jig that the instructor set up for planing the narrow sides of the 2 halves of the top.

Another plane.

Mortised out!

Close-up of the mortised area.

Tuning peg hole, drilled.

A close-up view of the mortised out area for the tuning pegs, sanded; the scalloped edges are so the strings wont wear down prematurely.

Expanded view...  sanded.

By this point, the frets have been positioned and installed.

My hammer, some sanding blocks, and my water bottle.

For various stages of this project, I used up to 600 grit sand-paper...

Rough cut-out of the top, sanding.

Expanded view of the various un-assembled pieces.

The top of a dulcimer, like a guitar, needs to have sound holes. I decided to mostly stick with a traditional look, but to spice it up just a tad by getting a little adventurous...


making sound-holes on one side,
and then mirror the design on the OTHER side with inlays.

In progress... rough assembly.

Test fitting the inlays.

This one part was probably the most labor intensive element of the whole process... a lot of sanding, filing, fitting, filing, breaking, trying again... etc... took about 5 hours of total work.

Another view.

 Not exactly perfect... but pretty close!!

 Don't look to close! ;)


 The overall design.



Area for the nut chiseled out.

 Positioning and fitting of the bridge and saddle.

 Positioning, cutting, and filing of the string grooves in the saddle.

A simple but elegant design for the head.

Gluing the fingerboard to the top!

Assorted views.

 Assorted views.

I think it's going to look good!

almost ready for final assembly!!

Unfortunately, I missed a couple of weeks of progress, as my camera battery died one week, and I forgot my camera entirely the next. Nevertheless, there is still one more week yet of class, so final build pics will be forthcoming.