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Everything posted by Guitarpeggio

  1. Hi everyone, I really enjoyed building my first dulcimer, a walnut hourglass shaped, as well as all the help I received from this forum doing it! So I went right to a second build, a Cherry teardrop. Still getting the hang of side bending. And cutting the f-holes was a challenge but worth it.
  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Ken! I'm already enjoying learning to play it!
  3. I am just learning to play, but my wife has an all cherry 4 string McSpadden that she got a number of years ago. It is a beautiful instrument. If yours is anything like hers in quality, I’m sure you got a nice instrument!
  4. Hi, everyone, I just completed my first dulcimer build, a 4 string with the double melody, and now want to learn how to play it! I have played acoustic guitar for about 3 decades, and a couple years ago picked up the mandolin. Anyway, I have been reading about basically the two tunings of DAA and DAd. Wondering which you recommend for someone just starting out. Do you use the same strings for tuning one way or the other, or do you need different strings for the two different tunings? Any recommended first songs to start learning? Thanks!
  5. Thanks for the upgrade tips, NoterMan! I’ll see if I have any ebony scrap left around from my guitar builds! And thanks for the article — I’m reading it and it’s a great intro!
  6. Well I called it quits after a soft luster of 6 coats. I used brads at the tail block and strung it up. Cut one string too short in the process and had to get another. The important thing: it has a nice tone and the intonation is fine! I will be adjusting the action in the coming days. Thanks everyone for all the tips and suggestions along the way, and for the future! Time to move on to the “learning to play” discussions! Here are the final pics...
  7. Thanks again, NoterMan! I will keep the straight clamping in mind for the next one! finish question: how many tung oil coats do you like to apply to the body? Here’s the top and back with two coats of TruOil so far...
  8. ...And once I attached the fingerboard, I discovered I still needed a little more scooping out of the peg head to account for the string angle.
  9. Thanks, NoterMan, for the finish suggestions and recommendation for the fingerboard. I like your idea of at least one or two coats as well, just for some kind of protection for the wood. Here’s today’s progress: gluing the fingerboard to the body.
  10. One more question, NoterMan and KWL Ken... I am soon going to finish the rest of the instrument with TruOil, with which I have had great results on my guitar builds and I used on this peg head. The fingerboard is cherry — do you put any kind of finish on your fingerboards or just leave them unfinished?
  11. Hi, Ken, Thanks so much for replying to my posts, and it’s great hearing about your background! It sounds like you are recovering, and I imagine it is a long recovery after such surgery! Glad you are resuming building again. I am very much enjoying this project, and have already been thinking about the next build as I have some wood put aside already, and a soon to be acquired donated supply of cherry from another friend. The guitar building definitely helped here, and kept me from panicking when hitting challenges. But I also appreciate some of the unique aspects of the dulcimer b
  12. More progress today. Figured out how to glue and clamp the peg head to the body, thanks to my helpful wood shop neighbor! And then, while that’s drying, I sanded out the strum hollow. Thanks for the tips so far everyone!
  13. Ahhh that makes sense. If I had to do it over I would have attached the peg head first. Discovering a couple things the hard way. 🤣
  14. Hi NoterMan, i used my metal rectangular Craftsman tool box, loaded with tools, for weight to clamp. It must have been ever so slightly uneven on the bottom, just enough to cause a very slight gap on one side of the upper bout. I didn’t notice the gap when I glued and weighted the top. Usually for guitar builds I would use every clamp I can get my hands on to clamp top and sides. But I liked your weight approach for a smaller instrument. As this is my first dulcimer, I was still thinking of best assembly order. In the future I would try gluing peg head to body first. But in this case, It seeme
  15. Ok the top is now glued on, and the body is sanded to 220 grit. I dry fitted the fingerboard and I think that will attach fine. The peg head and the head block will need squaring up before attaching.
  16. Thanks, Ken! I think your way would be easier than what I attempted! I used a coping saw to trim the top and back overhang once they were glued to the sides. It might be a little big to cut the upper bout hearts? But the resulting cut seems fine enough to me. May you have a speedy recovery, and I look forward to your build posts!
  17. Thank you, Ken! I ended up buying a small mitre box and craft saw. Works great! And I went with 27” VSL.
  18. Ok I chose to glue the top on first, without the fingerboard, as I had to get it lined up just right. Since things were hand shaped, and I had already cut the sound holes, I was worried things might end up off center. I did not want the fingerboard lined up incorrectly. Anyway, after gluing and weighting the top to the sides, and checking this am, I discovered a gap on the upper bout. Grrrrr. Cleaned out the space, and now reglued and clamped. Posting my foibles as well as triumphs for the next person!🤣
  19. Ok the back is glued on. For my first attempt at building, I am pretty pleased. The waist is a little narrower than the original template as I had to squeeze sides a bit for the top to fit. I thought I left enough overhang of the back and top to account for this but apparently not for the top.
  20. Ok, just bent the sides. I wanted to try as I already had a homemade bending iron (section of exhaust pipe from a truck, heated with an electric charcoal lighter and temp controlled with a dimmer switch). I did this with my second guitar build, and it’s not easy. But I admit that 2” dulcimer sides are easier to bend than guitar sides. This is where I wish I tried a less complicated shape for my first dulcimer! But it’s all about the journey and learning, right?
  21. Ahhh, thanks NoterMan! I wondered about how the scroll saw would work! I’ll try it at my neighbors place. For my own shop the jewelers saw looks like a good first option for the future.
  22. Yes, completely a newbie move with the way I cut out, and not recommended! 🤣 I had a sharp utility knife which I used to press the outline on the first heart but found it cumbersome. So I tried the drill, and pressed the outline with a small chisel. I was keeping tool cost down, but I could and should have bought an xacto knife! I picked up a key hole saw from the local big box hardware, but it was too big to use. Scroll saw question... I don’t own one but know a person who does. I didn’t know you could make the cut without coming in from the edge of the wood. Is there some trick I’m missing?
  23. Cutting the sound holes in the top. I traced the hearts off my wife’s McSpadden dulcimer, and made templates. I was puzzled about how to cut. At the end of the day, I went with very small drill holes to outline, then finished the cutouts with a small chisel. Rough sanding with sandpaper around a dowel. Note of explanation on the top. The walnut wasn’t wide enough so I cut down the middle and glued in a 1” wide piece of Cherry. Since the fretboard is glued to the top it will hide all that anyway.
  24. Ok here is the fingerboard with frets and nuts installed. I still have to dress the ends a bit but so far I’m pleased. I left some extra board at both ends for now, until it’s fit to the body.
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