Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Month: October 2009

Back To Work In The Dulcimer Mine

I did not work on dulcimers for about two weeks. I was recovering from gallbladder surgery followed by bronchitis. None of this is a big deal but I had to take it easy for a while.

But now I am back to my old tricks and have picked up where I left off on three dulcimers. I really missed working in the shop!

I glued the back on this cherry and walnut dulcimer this afternoon.

dulcimer 102 in progress

Tonight it get’s a peghead and then it will join two others that are ready for scraping, sanding, finishing and fretting.

Zelda and Fifi anxiously await the new dulcimers!

Zelda and Fifi dance with joy awaiting three new dulcimers!!

More news as the story develops!

Five Hundred And Seven Mechanical Movements (1908)

Another gem from the Internet Archive, 507 Mechanical Movements has detailed llustrations of gears, pulleys, water-wheels and all the marvels of modern technology in 1908.

507 Mechanical Movements - block and tackle illustrations

507 mechanical Movements - page 34

Get your copy here: 507 Mechanical Movements by Henry T. Brown

jews harp instructor cover

At-A-Glance Illustrated Self Instructor For Jew’s Harp With Hillbilly Songs – (1932)

I am a frequent visitor to The Toolemera Press and The Toolemera Blog. Gary does a wonderful job of sharing his library of rare books on woodworking, tools and related ephemera. I have learend a lot about tools from reading the PDF files he offers for free download.

Gary also offers a digital edition of  “Mechanick Exercises : or The Doctrine of Handy-Works” by Joseph Moxon (3rd Edition, 1703) for a remarkably small fee.

I thought of Gary as I dug through a box of stuff and found my copy of “At-A-Glance Illustrated Self Instructor For Jew’s Harp With Hillbilly Songs,”  circa 1932.

Jews Harp Instructor cover

This is an old and perhaps somewhat rare book on a fairly esoteric subject. There is a difference between this book and the rare books on esoteric subjects that Gary shares.

This book is pretty much useless to anyone who would like to play the Jew’s Harp!

No author is listed; not a good sign. The book basically tells you to put the thing in your mouth and have a great time going boing, boing boing. Popularity and fame will surely follow.

But hey, it’s history, the graphics are cool and it is a reminder that shlock media is nothing new.

I have scanned the entire instructional section and the first song in the tune section of the book. The other several pages I have not scanned are more songs in the same format. If you really want to see them let me know.


The Panorama Of Professions And Trades (1837)

As I recover from gallbladder surgery the most frustrating thing is not being able to work in my shop for a week.  I feel pretty darn good but I’m not supposed to lift anything over ten pounds, push a plane, etc. Probably not a good idea to go to the sawmill and sort through lumber either.

Nor would it be a good time to learn to play dulcimer while riding a unicycle.

I’m taking the time to design a new instrument or two and find myself exploring the wealth of old information available via new technology.

Here’ a fun one. Books of this type were given to young people (well, probably young men keeping the time of history in mind) to help them learn about the various professions they could pursue.

The Panorama of Professions and Trades

So take a gander and see if you think you are more cut-out to be an architect, a shipwright, a clergyman, a tanner, a mason….

You can download “The Panorama of Professions And Trades” by Edward Hazen at Google Books

A better quality scan in two volumes of a nearly identical volume by the same author titled “Popular Technology; or, Professions and Trades” by the same author is available at the Internet Archive.

You can be a carpenter!

This could be you!

Make dozens of dollars as a luthier!



Let The Beauty We Love Be What We Do

Ya Hazreti Mevlana!

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down the dulcimer.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

– Mevlana Jellaludin Rumi

Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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