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making the bridges


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i started making a hammered dulcimer 6 years ago, got the case made, the top, the bridges, and then got stumped by laying out the holes in the pinblocks. lately i've corresponded with chris at songbird and he told me i should change the bracing from front to back to side to side. those braces sat under the bridges and had a dowel glued to them for support. so i did that then after looking at pictures online i realized i needed to cut openings in the rails to accomodate moveable tone rods so i did that. the router got away from me and did some damage buti was able to repair it. he also said my bridges were incorrect and he's right. i'm making it from plans from folk craft. it's a 12/11. i very carefully made patterns for the pinblock from the plans but it seems to me that the plan may have been drawn smaller and then printed on a plotter because it seems that every little misalignment is magnified. the plan shows the bridges tapering from 29mm to 22mm front to back, and also tapered top to bottom. that particular cut seems difficult to finesse. it would be terrifying to try to run that small piece of wood, with the holes already drilled and just begging for chipout through the table saw. and planing that taper would be problematic with the holes already drilled and i can't wrap my head around drilling them into an already tapered bridge. do i really need to do that top to bottom taper? can i get away with planing the edges of the top to almost meet the groove for the rod? if i have to taper them top to bottom i'm going to glue some pine pieces the bottom of the bridge and make some kind of sled that grips the saw fence so i have some safe control. i've got everything i need to finish this..the motivation, the hitchpins, the tuning pins, the strings. just need to remake the bridges. any advice would be welcome. thanks

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FWIW -- it would have been better to post this under Building Dulcimers, not under the general topic of Hammered Dulcimer Beginners...

I don't normally build HDs, having more than enough fun with the Mountain Dulcemore and other instruments.  However if I were to build a Hammered Dulcimer, the plans I would use are those by Randy "Ardie" Davis -- A Dulcimer Builder's Do-It-Yourself Guidebook for the Hobbist.  you can find it on Amazon and other places.      Several builders who I admire and respect use Ardie's plans with great results.

 Drill parallel stock, not tapered.  Then sand the tapers in with a table or spindle sander or even just a handheld belt sander flipped on it's back.   Your experience with a run-away router is exactly why I will never own one or use it for building delicate things like dulcimers.    
 

Edited by NoterMan
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