Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Month: September 2008

phil wintermute1

Folksinger Phil Wintermute Passes Away

I did not know Phil Wintermute very well but I considered him a friend. Sometimes that just happens. We didn’t spend a lot of time together but I always enjoyed his company and his music.

I met Phil a few years ago when I was managing the showroom at Elderly Intruments. He applied for a sales job and I hired him. It was nice to have a true folkie working in the showroom.

Not long after hiring him, by complete coincidence, Phil realized that my wife and I now live in the house his best friend since kindergarten grew up in. Phil came over and told us about the history of our property, what had been there in the past and what had changed. He remembered the fireplace being built in the 1950’s.

Phil asked if he could dig up some violets from our yard to bring to his friend who had planted them on Mother’s day when he was a kid. The violets had migrated to a completely different place in the yard.

Though I did not know Phil well I sensed he was someone that stood by his prinicpals and lived the life he felt he should be living. Such a life is noble but not always easy. I respect him for doing that.

Today I heard that Phil hadn’t shown up for work for two days and he hadn’t called anyone. Someone from Elderly went to his house to check on him and found him in his bed. I hope and trust it was a gentle and easy passing.

You can listen to some of Phil’s music on his MySpace page.

Still Life In A Dulcimer Maker’s Shop #1

My eye is usually drawn to the traditional materials and tools used when making dulcimers and other instruments.

Today my gaze fell on the scene in this photograph.

dulcimer making still life number one

On the stool is the form that holds the sides while I work on the corpse of the instrument. The colorful little clamps are holding the lining strips in place as the glue dries.

Clothespins are the old standby for clamping lining in place. I found a few packages of these colorful spring clamps on sale and they work a little better as they have stronger springs.

And they come in such cool colors!

I know, I could tell people that the various colors impart vibrational qualities into the wood making my dulcimers sound better. Hmm, it would be hard to sleep if I did that….

On the floor to the left is a partial view of my side bending form with a pair of sides cooling down.

In the background , in no particular order are partial views of a small portable dust collector and it’s accompanying trash can with a cyclone lid, my shop-built thickness sander, a dehumidifier and various odds and ends.


Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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