Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Month: February 2011

A Board That Was Almost Too Big For The Dulcimer Shop

Today I hauled down some wood from the attic. I needed some walnut and I remembered a particular board I picked up at a local sawmill a few years back.

Once said board was found I managed to get it down from the attic via the ladder and acquired only the mildest of injuries while doing so.

Had I accomplished nothing else today I would have felt the day was a success!

I navigated the board through the shop door and everything that either the board or I knocked over during the process was unbreakable. More success!

I often mention my shop is small, what a realtor would refer to as “cozy.”

Here is this hunk of walnut showing itself off in the middle of the shop.

A walnut board that runs almost the full length of my shop

Not all of the board is usable for lutherie but I will try to get as many dulcimer sides, backs, soundboards and fingerboards out of it as possible. Often the yield from such a board is small compared to the size of the board. Wood is sacred and I try to waste as little as possible.

Notice the spray-bottle of water and mallet on the bench next to the board? Those are for taming the board; it gets a squirt of water for a mild offense and the mallet is for my protection should things really get out of hand.

Only kidding.



Cleaning The Shop Can At Times Seem Overwhelming

The purpose of this post is to enable me to procrastinate a little longer.

Every now-and-then I give the shop a thorough cleaning before finishing or beginning a batch of dulcimers.

Cleaning the shop can at times seem overwhelming.

Tonight I emptied out a lot of the stuff that was leaning against walls, sitting on the floor and generally causing me to lose tools, cause avalanches and other havoc.

I was actually able to sweep the floor. I was actually able to see the floor!

The shop is looking pretty good.

As for the piles of lumber, bending forms, boxes and other stuff I took out of the shop to get to the floor…well, getting that stored in an accessible and orderly fashion will take a little longer, hence the procrastination.

Coffee break is over, time to get back on my head!



A First-Class Workman Is Never Satisfied With Second-Class Tools

A First-Class Workman Is Never Satisfied With Second-Class Tools.


More Posts About Dulcimer Playing Coming Soon

My intention was for this blog to have somewhat of an even balance of posts pertaining to both dulcimer making and dulcimer playing as well as articles on tools, music, rants, raves, etc.

It seems most posts have been about making dulcimers. This is partly because I am still learning to use my recording and video gear.

No, not more dulcimer music!

I have all the required hardware and software but have not yet learned enough to consistently create recordings and videos of respectable quality. This mornings attempt looked fine but sounded like I was playing while inside a washing machine.

I hope to soon be posting audio and video as well as some of the tablature I use when teaching.

Stay tuned!

The Smell Of A Dulcimer In Progress

I can hear the jokes already….

But seriously, any woodworker knows that different woods have different fragrances.  “Fragrance” is a word that often seems associated with a smell one find pleasant while “smell” is often associated  with a smell that might just be a smell, for better or for worse.

The inspiration for this post came moments ago while cutting the binding channel on a dulcimer made of Adirondack spruce and big-leaf maple with walnut linings.

Suddenly the shop smelled like chocolate!

Maybe someday I'll make a dulcimer out of a chocolate tree!

While each wood has a distinctive fragrance I had never worked that combination simultaneously; what a discovery!

If not for the heavy snow falling at the moment I would be on my way to get some chocolate!

Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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