Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Month: April 2012

When Dulcimer Making Takes Over The House

My apprentice sorts sides and backs for the next run of dulcimers.

If you ask me I think lumber adds to the decor....

Music I’d Like To Hear #30

Music I'd Like To Hear #30


Music I’d Like To Hear #30

Dulcimer Making, Resawing, And Sawdust

My bandsaw lives in the garage. The garage is really more of a shack. Well, it was a shack but now it is a run down structure housing garden tools, a variety of wildlife and my funky old 14″ imported bandsaw.

This bandsaw works well enough to have not earned scorn and replacement but if it was being setup for a blind date it would be described as having “an interesting personality.”

Still life with bandsaw.

The biggest quirk is the way raising or lowering the guidepost throws the upper guides far out of alignment. There is no adjustment to fix this problem on this particular bandsaw. I have learned to compensate for this and can usually tweak a setup very quickly before sawing.

Once set up the saw works very well. The wheels turn and the blade goes around and wood gets resawn. There is not much more I can really ask for from a bandsaw.

There are various methods for getting a bandsaw set up to produce slices of even thickness. Some people angle the fence to compensate for blade drift, some say a properly tuned bandsaw should cut straight and true without compensating the fence for blade drift.

I do whatever works for me and that seems to change from time to time. I use a 1/2″ blade with 3 teeth per inch. My fence is a piece of plywood screwed to a chunk of 2×4 held to the table with 2 clamps. I use a square to get the table, fence and blade square with each other. Sometimes the bottom of the fence needs to be shimmed with pieces of tape to get it square to the table and blade. I make a few test cuts and if there is a problem with blade drift I compensate the angle of the fence till the cuts are straight.

Then comes attention, patience, and a lot of sawdust.


I Know There Is A Dulcimer In There!

This 2 inch thick quartersawn cherry has been in the attic for a few years and is ready to become soundboards, backs and sides.

I know there is a dulcimer in there!

This board is about 35 inches long and had some twist so I needed to get a flat surface in preparation for resawing. I used wooden shims to keep the board from rocking while it gets planed. At the far end  of the bench I bridged two bench dogs with a small board  to serve as a wide bench stop.

A jack plane made quick work of taking down the high spots and a jointer plane assured I was left with a flat surface.

Flat and smooth and ready for resawing.

I love hand planing. It is great exercise and it felt good to get my heart pounding while making some wood shavings.

And soon I’ll be resawing with a little help from my friends.

Resawing wood for dulcimer making.

Before I Start On The Next Run Of Dulcimers…

Before I start on the next run of dulcimers the shop must be cleaned and organized.

The primary work surface is the workbench where everything from rough planing to final finishing takes place. By the end of a run of dulcimers the bench can get very cluttered.

Other horizontal surfaces are involved as well. Are ceilings considered horizontal surface? If not then they should be.

Luckily help has arrived and I will be  back working at the bench shortly.

I finally have some help with cleaning up the shop!

Coming soon is a new model inspired by a recent commission; a dulcimer with both a standard and baritone fretboard. Should be interesting and I’ll post details as the design and execution develop.

Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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