Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mountain Dulcimer - Part Two

During this stage of the project I steam-bent the side pieces (ribs) and glued on the lining. The lining is a thin strip of wood that is laminated to the ribs to provide strength and a place for the back/front to be glued to the ribs.

This was a challenge; trying to glue up while bending reluctant wood into shape. I wanted to get this done because I am away for the next two weeks and the danger is that the bent wood would just spring back if it was not laminated.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Mountain Dulcimer Project

Brief Introduction:

I have enjoyed woodworking for many years and have managed to make every mistake possible. And slowly, but surely my skills and patience have improved. In my time I have built furniture, kitchen cabinets, a couple of wood/fibreglass canoes and outdoor garden things. So now I figure that I am ready to do some more intricate work and build a musical instrument. Risky, I know - but I'm just a kid with a crazy dream!

The mountain dulcimer is an American instrument that was not brought to the new world when the settlers arrived from Ireland and Scotland. It appears to be a recent (relatively) invention from the Appalachian mountain area of the United States (for a thorough history see Chet Hines' book How to Make and Play the Dulcimore). The sound of the instrument is sweet, plaintive and hauntingly beautiful (you can hear it played at: and on Joni Mitchell's album Blue).

First Steps:

I have been following some of the basic steps set out by Stephen Miklos on his webpage.

To date, have:
  1. Built the forms and the jigs
  2. Re-sawn the side pieces, the top and the back. (maple, butternut and curly maple)
  3. Booked matched and joined the top and the back
  4. Built the scroll