Galax Double Bottom

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Galax Double Bottom

Postby Jon » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:20 pm

I finished a Galax-style dulcimer(picture attached) last year using wormy chestnut, but ran out of wood before completing a double bottom. I've decided to add the double bottom, probably using poplar painted or stained black. My question is the thickness of the spacing blocks and the double bottom. I've seen pictures of Ben Seymour's (Kudzu Patch) and Jacob Melton's (in Ralph Lee Smith's book) dulcimers and read Clare's transcription of Dave Lynch's instructions. Is there anything other than aesthetics guiding the spacing and thickness of the double bottom? Also, since I'll be using book-matched pieces, is there any reason to not use a back brace(1/8 x 5/8 spruce)?
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Galax Style Dulcimer.jpg
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby KenH » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:00 pm

Thickness and spacing of the stand-offs between the back and the false back are aesthetic. YMMV.

Do you mean a transverse back brace, or a longitudinal "brace" covering the bookmatch joint?
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby Frimp » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:01 am

Jon, that's one beautiful dulcimer! Very authentic-looking.
When I did my research into making a Galax dulcimer, I found that the spacers tended to be right around 1/8". I saw some of the Meltons' Galax dulcimers at the Blue Ridge Institute last fall, and the spacers looked to be that thickness to me. Congratulations!
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby Jon » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:51 am

Ken, I meant a longitudinal brace covering the back joint. Frimp, thanks for the advice.
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby joe sanguinette » Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:07 am

thickness and placement of spacers on the double back is up to you. they are not going to effect the sound of the instrument.

on the double back instruments i have built i used wood on the actual back that was not especially attractive since it didnt show and saved the figured wood for the double back.

i believe in bracing. both cross braces and lengthwise along the bookmatched back at the seam.

your work looks very good.
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby wegroff » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:34 pm

Hello,
I am new to dulcimer building. I just finished my first, a teardrop style, and am looking to build a double bottomed galax style. Could anyone tell me if the second bottom, closest to the players lap would need any bracing. My plan is to create standoffs discussed in other posts. I plan to brace the upper bottom but am not sure about the second bottom. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby KenH » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:54 pm

A longitudinal brace - along the joint of the second back, which does not touch anything else, would be OK. But if you make any connections between the middle of the second back and the inside back (other than the standoffs around the edge), you'll basically be defeating the purpose of the second back - that is to allow the inner back to vibrate to the fullest. No need for any other bracing on the second or outer back which touches the player's lap. In fact, the outer back can be a thicker piece of wood - even 1/4" if you wanted!
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby joe sanguinette » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:06 am

a few cross braces on the bottom back the same thickness as the center brace along the seam would not be a bad idea. this could prevent cracking in the future.
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby harpmaker » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:20 pm

I install a thin brace down the length of the joint on both the inner and outer backs. This spine reinforces that joint.

For the outer back I also install a couple of cross braces which are positioned behind the side blocks so they aren't visible.
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Re: Galax Double Bottom

Postby robert schuler » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:28 am

I use 1/8" 5 ply baltic birch. This wood is completely stable without any bracing. You only need to add the offsets on the edges. I like to add a decorative veneer to the otherwise dull grained birch...Bob.
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