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Everything posted by NoterMan

  1. Beautiful job!! Bravo! Action height -- a good place to start we call the Nickel & Dime Action. Set a dime alongside the 1st fret and adjust the Nut height by sanding the bottom until the strings just touch the coin. Then balance a nickel on top of the 7th fret and adjust the height of the bridge until the strings just touch the coin there. You can go lower if you choose, but that's a good place to start. Tip for next build, or a revision to this one... Where the strings break over the tail end of the fretboard, you can cut out a notch all the way across, and lay in there a
  2. It's all personal choice, of course. I like a satin/matte finish, not glossy. Usually I use 3 or 4 coats of Tung Oil to get the look I like...
  3. Always the little tweaks! ]Something for next time... friend who use the "glue the fretboard on last" often -- or usually -- use a full length "pressure bar" -- a piece of 2x2 on top of the fretboard to spread the clamp pressure more evenly. Of course the fretboard does not have the nut/bridge installed at that point.
  4. These days I use Tung oil over the whole instrument. My feeling is you really do want some sort of finish of the fretboard. TrueOil or any oil which 'hardens' like that or Tung oil. When I used urethane over all, I would use a single or maybe two coats of ure as a 'sanding sealer' and surface hardener on the fretboard.
  5. That's the learning curve. Once you figure out "your way" of building thigs will fall into place. Some attach the top and bottom to the ends, then add the sides. Some attach sides to the head and tail, then add the fretboard/top assembly and lastly the bottom. Others enclose the whole thing, then add the fretboard last. Some build a fretboard-head-tail assembly first; others like me build a topless 'boat' then add a fretboard-top. Whatever works best for you on the kind of dulcimers you like to build.
  6. NIIIICE! How did you clamp the top to the carcass for gluing, that you ended up with a gap? I usually use a LARGE cooler set on top of a couple layers of large ceramic floor tiles, then slowly fill the cooler with water -- at 60# per cubic foot it's heavy and fits any container. At one time I had a 5 gallon bladder bag which would shape itself to whatever I was gluing up. If it were me, I would have attached the tuning head to the head end of the body before gluing up the top. To each his own...
  7. That's looking REALLY Sharp! The hearts came out very nice too. Good Job!! Nothing wrong with a "slim-waisted lady"! We talk about hourglass dulcimers as being "busty" if the upper bout is as large as the lower; "hippy" if the lower bout is significantly larger; and "slim-" or "thick-waisted" if the waist is a bit larger or smaller in proportion.
  8. Looks a pretty good job from here! I don't see any obvious cracks or splits -- and that's a win! With those gently of bends you probably would have been good-to-go bending from a half-hour of hot water soak, no need for the heating iron. But method doesn't matter -- results do! Here's the trick I love about a peg type shape jig like yours. Now I prefer to put the back on the sides first, then put the fretted board on the top before gluing the top down... When the side are dry tomorrow, what you can do with your jig is -- tap the pegs down a little below the top edge of the sides. T
  9. A photo of the kind of "pegs" would help. FWIW, "vintage" dulcimers seldom have metal tuning pegs, they are usually wood violin style pegs. However.... if there is a tiny screw in the end of the knob, start by giving that screw a quarter turn clockwise and see if that tightens things up. If that does work, try a second quarter turn and try again. Basic rule of tuning strings: NEVER tune a silent string! Find the knob of the string you want to tune. Pluck the string and give the knob a quarter turn while it is still humming. If the string does not change pitch up or down -- Sto
  10. Dulcimer tab, no; but here's a link to the Irish Rovers lyrics and guitar chords. If you play Chord-Melody style that should give you enough to start making your own tab. Kellswater Lyrics And Chords By The Irish Rovers - Irish folk songs (irish-folk-songs.com)
  11. Yep -- a scroll saw has a straight up and down blade about 5" long, which is simply and quickly removed (or at least one end) so you can slip a blade through a small hole then lock it in place. A jeweler's saw is sort on a non-powered version of a scroll saw. Scroll saw blades are very thin -- 'way less than 1/4", some as thin as 1/16" -- so the pilot hole doesn't need to be very big. A band saw on the other hand has a wider -1/4" to 1" continuous loop blade and you'd have to cut from an edge into where the soundhole would be. Keyhole saws, even the smallest I've seen are 'way too big f
  12. That's a great cherry "stretcher"! I've used that technique a time or too as well. Even did a "pinstripe" top and back once -- laid up of 8 or so 3/4" wide strips alternating maple and walnut. Another thing you could have done was just left the gap between the two planks and glued the fretboard over the gap. This is a very common technique, especially when hollowing the fretboard. I wouldn't have dared trying your soundhole "drill and chop"! I would have used a template and a sharp knife like an X-Acto blade. I also have a very sharp "kolrose" carving knife which I plan on usi
  13. Looks good. Clean fret installation. Nothing wrong with a bit of extra board at the ends, as long as the installed distance between the inside edge of the nut and first fret is correct. Looks like a winner, so far!! Installing the frets is always for me the hardest and most critical part of any build. Even after a couple hundred dulcimers, I still "fret" about fretting!
  14. People get confused sometimes with a zero fret instrument which then has a "string spacer" which looks exactly like a nut but isn't. I prefer using an ordinary nut and bridge. The inside edge of the nut & bridge, IMHO should be vertical. That's where you measure fret spacing from -- the inside edge of the nut. Do not measure spacing from fret-to-fret. Therein lies the road to improperly spaced frets! It makes no difference if you measure from the nut to the center or near edge of the fret slots -- as long as you're consistent. I know very few people who can measure and cut wood to
  15. Looks good. It does look like you'll have to angle the edge of the walnut to get a better angle on that melody string. Since I seldom build two alike I'm always having to fudge that bit...
  16. New price for McSpad 6FCCC -- 6 strings Flat head Cherry wood is $555. I'd say "with case" you've gotten a good deal. Enjoy.
  17. Good! Good. When you order your tuning machines make sure they have long shafts, or those 3/8" thick sides may have to be thinned.
  18. Great looking scroll head! Nice work. I love the two-tone look. What's the gap between the side plates? Is the bottom open or closed?
  19. Yep -- a LOT less. And the design/builds are very forgiving. This is still a folk instrument, not highly developed.
  20. Hmmm I swear I answered about gluing the scroll head to the head block -- grain orientation doesn't matter; don't sand smooth so the glue can grab both pieces; if you don't feel comfortable wit just that, you can drill and glue in a dowel from either direction to make a more secure joint.
  21. Guitarpeggio -- if you look at my last post in your "building" thread, you can copy that profile phot and scale it pretty much anyway you want.
  22. Sure -- any old dead-flat board will work for a base on the body mold. Here's a picture of one of my multi-part scroll heads. As you can see there is a 1/2" or 3/4" thick back plate which gets glued to the head-block of the body. it defines the overall width of the tuning head. Then there are the two 1/2" thick side plates, and the scroll filler piece at the front. But no bottom plate! I prefer scroll heads which do not have a bottom plate because that bottom makes it SO MUCH harder to run strings in and out the head of when adding/changing strings!! After you've stabbed yourself
  23. Howdy Guitarpeggio!. Wood sources -- if you don't have a good re-saw capable bandsaw (I don't) a good source for wood is Woodchuck -- www.woodchuckswood.com He has a reasonable selection of native American species in a variety of widths, lengths and thicknesses. Are you planning a scroll head design or flathead? Scroll is more traditional and can be made up from several pieces rather than carved from a block; flat guitar style heads are easier to make. Admin is right -- a simple fretsaw and mini miter box is a good investment -- crooked, over-sized, fret slots cause too many pr
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