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Help with replacing strap buttons - 42 yr old dulcimer

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I was gifted a dulcimer as a child who didn't appreciate it at the time, and for the last 40 years it's sat unused in the back of a closet.  I am now trying to bring this baby back to life.  It has strap buttons on either end, but the button on the end near the tuning pegs is missing.  I want to use a strap as I learn to play it, so I'd like to add a new strap button but I'm finding it to be a challenge.  The 'pilot hole' where the button used to be is quite large, about 1/4" in diameter ... much larger than any screw that I'm finding comes with the majority of available strap buttons today.  The existing strap button on the bridge end of the dulcimer appears to be solid, with no screw and possibly was glued into place.

I found some wood putty by JB Weld that dries solid and thinking maybe this would work to fill the hole so that it will accept a smaller screw, but I'm worried about impacting the sound or resonance of my instrument.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to resolve?

Edited by Laurie Thompson
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Hi Laurie, my suggestion is not to use the wood putty. I would use a 1/4 inch drill bit and carefully drill out the pilot hole. You may find a brad point drill bit better use than a regular twist drill bit. I would then glue a plug into the hole made from a piece of !/4 inch dowel rod. This will make a much sturdier place for attacking a strap button. The button should cover the dowel, but if not you can stain the dowel to match the wood of your dulcimer.


"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

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I echo everything that Ken said, Laurie.  The JB Weld would not affect the sound/resonance quality of the instrument, but it is intended more as a 'divot' patch than a filler.  Drill  the large hole and glue in a short length of dowel as Ken says, then drill a new pilot hole for the replacement strap botton.  Super glues and those Gorilla products are not very useful in gluing together musical instruments; we mostly swear by the Titebond glues.

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