Testing my Skill as a Novice Luthier

I’ve decided to see how clever I am. I’m going to build a mountain dulcimer for my wife for Christmas. The basic design and instruction are in a book my mom gave me many years ago called ‘Back to Basics’. The book has much advice on how things were done in an early industrial age. One of the projects is to build a mountain dulcimer. the design is rather strait forward and differs from the ‘traditional’ hourglass or teardrop shaped instrument.  If not, I doubt I’d make this attempt.

So this morning I ordered a classical guitar tuning head (3 machines) and some banjo fret wire. The strings, I’ll buy from a music store. About the only tool I don’t have which would make the project easier is a planet to dimension the wood to the proper thickness. I’ve already figured a way around that.

High end dulcimers seem to only be made from wood I cannot get easily, but the ones normal people make seem to be made out of whatever is on hand.  I’ll buy a stick of Walnut for the finger board, but I’ll likely use pine for the sound box.  I can’t see how this would be utter sacrilege as you can buy a dulcimer kit for kids which has a sound box made of cardboard!

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