Linings are strips or blocks of wood glued around the inside-edges of the sides of a stringed instrument. The linings add width to the edge of the sides and provide a broader gluing surface for attaching the soundboard and back.
Some dulcimer makers use linings and some don’t. If the sides are relatively thick no linings are necessary.
I make my sides fairly thin so linings are essential to my design. I also put binding around the soundboard and extra thickness is required so I can cut the rabbets for the binding.
Wood for the lining strips usually comes from scraps accumulated while making soundboards, backs and sides.
I bend linings on a hot-pipe in the same manner as bending sides and find the process centering and relaxing. I am also continuously amazed that wood can be bent into curves using just a little heat and water.
Speaking of water, you may notice the yogurt container on my bench. It is filled with distilled water and I occasionally dip my fingers into the water and rub a little on the sides or linings while bending them. It doesn’t take much, just enough to create some steam when the moist wood comes in contact with the hot-pipe.
I use distilled water because it is free of minerals and chemicals that can stain the wood during the bending process. It took me a while to figure that one out!
The yogurt container used to contain organic yogurt. This is important! If the container had contained non-organic yogurt the water would be tainted. When the wood started to steam a toxic cloud would rise and transform me from a mild-mannered dulcimer player into a clawhammer banjo player.
Wait, I do play clawhammer banjo.
I’ll stop now.