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Everything posted by NoterMan

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Then put a fine bead of glue on the edge of the sides and set the bottom plank in place; weight it down, and walk away. I usually weigh down the bottom with a large cooler gradually filled with water which presses down evenly all along the joint. Or stack some 18" floor tiles carefully on the plank to hold things down until the glue sets. Once the glue dries you can carefully prise the carcass off the jig and flip it over.
  3. 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 -- Stop! You're turning the wrong knob. Try again. What note were you trying to reach, from what other note on the bass string?
  4. 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)
  5. 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 for soundholes.
  6. 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 using in an upcoming replica build to duplicate soundhole shapes in the original... In the past I've also used a scroll saw, which is probably the cleanest and fastest way to get nice sharp soundhole shapes.
  7. 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!
  8. I use a collapsable waiters' tray table wooden V legs, woven straps to give the open width of the top; cost me $25 at a restaurant supply store.
  9. 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 the nearest millimeter, and that tiny of a variation simple cannot be heard by even the sharpest ears, and damn few instruments! These are folk instrument, not rocket science!😏
  10. 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...
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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?
  14. Yep -- a LOT less. And the design/builds are very forgiving. This is still a folk instrument, not highly developed.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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 half a dozen times trying to work a string through the hole in the tuner shaft, get it unstuck from the bottom and back out and around a second time, you'll understand what I mean! First time I had a dulcimer with a closed bottom scroll, I literally took a Forstner bit and drilled the bottom out after changing two strings! I didn't care any more what it might look like!
  18. 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 problems. We cut sound holes in a variety of ways, depending on your tools and skills. Patterns of round holes are popular and easy -- use Forstner bits, not brad-point twist drills. I've cut sound holes with a X-Acto knife, drilled hole and jeweler's saw, Dremel, and my favorite -- a scroll saw. The big thing is getting enough sound hole, but not too much. Having built a couple hundred dulcimers over the years, my rule of thumb is to create sound hole area about the same as the diameter of 4-6 quarters. Much more and the sound is too "brash". Much less and the sound is too muddy/muted. Since you have a side heater-bender, you'll probably want to make a "plate and peg" jig for the sides to be shaped and cooled in. I build hourglass and other shapes using only hot water soak and a jig like the one pictured -- a piece of commercial shelf board, a series of 1/2" holes, and lengths of 1/2" dowel.
  19. I mark fret locations with a pencil and a small square, from a table of fret spacings generated by WFret or one of the other fret calculators for the specific VSL I am building. Measure ONLY from the nut to each fret individually. Do Not measure fret-to-fret distances, as errors in measurement compound radically! My first dulcimer, years ago, was made with only a palm finish sander and drill as power tools. I cut the sound holes with an X-Acto knife, and the fret slots with a very thin blade in an inexpensive jewelers saw. Later, I used a thin blade in a scroll saw, I've also used purpose-made fret saws in a purpose-made fret cutting miter box. That is probably the least expensive option. They came, I think, from Stew Mac. Even the thinnest hacksaw blade makes too wide of a slot.
  20. Alongside -- we actually set a dime on the fretboard next to the 1st fret. The coin is marginally taller than the fret. Probably best not to use anything relating to guitars/mandolins/banjos when 'messing about' with dulcimers. The construction techniques are different. The dulcimer does not produce the majority of its sound by vibrating the top. Dulcimers don't want a complex system of braces under the top or bottom, they don't need kerf strips glued into the edges of the sides, etc.
  21. An American dime is 1.35mm thick; a nickel is 1.95mm. Call them 1.5 and 2.0 for round numbers. You measure the dime height from the surface of the fretboard alongside the 1st fret. You measure the nickel from the top of the 7th fret (not the 6+ fret). Yes you can just sand a bit off the bottom of the nut and the bridge if they come out easily. Bridges most often are not compensated for string thickness.
  22. In more than 30 years of building and playing dulcimers I've never seen plans for a banjimer. You'll have to be a bit more specific -- what STYLE of dulcimer do you want to build? There are many "standard" shapes -- Elliptical, Teardrop, Diamond, Hourglass, Fiddle, Box, Aorell, Trapezoid, and Zither to name a few. It might help if you look at Larry's post about finding plans immediately below this...
  23. So here you see a peg style bending jig made from a piece of shelving from a big box store and some lengths of 1/2" dowel. You cut the dowels so that they are a bit shorter than the height of the sides. As you can see, they alternate inside and outside of the lines of the sides, to pull and push the hot-water-soaked (no steam, no hot pipe bending) wood into the curves you want and hold them there while the wood dries to shape. Then you glue to Bottom onto the bent frame shape before removing the "carcass" from the jig. Gotta run right now. We'll talk more today. Let me know questions.
  24. Looks like you've got plenty there to go on! Scott Antes was a well known and respected dulcimer builder. His how-to build a Hammered Dulcimer is highly regarded. That James Hall design is called a Fiddle shape. Not particularly common, but a nice shape. More difficult to build than an Hourglass, as you've noticed. 28.5" VSL is very long by modern standards. If you play Noter & Drone or Fingerdance style they can be good. But modern Chord-Melody stylists with short fingers find them harder to work with. Most today are built with a 26" or 27" VSL. I don't know the Hall name as a builder though. That would be very pretty scaled down a bit; or simply kept full body size but with a shorter VSL layout, leaving a little extra space behind the nut. Any plan can be scaled down or just reduced in width; although just reducing width may not be as aesthetically pleasing. Forget all that stuff about theories for fret placement calculations. Everyone today uses one of several calculators that will give you fret places for any VSL you care to enter. Another thing to ignore on those older plans, in light of modern glues and such, is mention of kerf strips to provide a wider gluing surface. Almost no one uses them these days; they are an added hassle, time consuming, and simply not necessary if you use Titebond or Titebond II glues rather than hide glue or Elmers white glue... Pick a design, and I'll send you some pictures on how to make a simple bending and building jig for the shape.
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