Today I did a little work in the shop for the first time since having back surgery on February 5th. It was wonderful being in the shop again!
I did some work on a curly walnut dulcimer that was left close to completion in February. I leveled, crowned, and polished the frets and started working on the nut.
This was gentle work with small tools but after about half an hour my body told me it was in my best interest to stop and to my amazement and surprise I listened! Slow and steady wins the race. A stitch in time has a silver lining. A dark cloud gathers no moss. I’ll stop now.
It will be a month or so before I can begin to work in the shop part-time with some regularity. My body is healing well but there is still a long way to go.
In the photograph is a small piece of micarta that will become the nut for this dulcimer. I use the indentation in the side of a razor blade as a scraper to rough in the rounding of the top of the nut. Add this to the long list of cheap luthier tricks!
That’s the news from here.
It has been six weeks since having a bi-level lumbar fusion and this morning I entered the shop for the first time since then. The bench was as I had left it with a curly walnut dulcimer awaiting a nut, bridge, tuners, and setup. Also on the bench are some sets of tonewood I resawed before having surgery. These will become the back, sides, and for some, the soundboards for some of the next run of bespoke dulcimers I will be making when the time comes.
It will probably be another 6 weeks before my body is ready for light work. Healing is going well. The surgeon said if I worked for someone else he would have me take three months off but since I am self-employed and can take all the breaks I want I may possibly start a little sooner. I’ll find out for sure in early April.
One large obstacle is getting into the shop itself. My shop is a small room at the top of a steep staircase built before ergonomics were strongly considered when designing houses. At the moment stairs are difficult for me and these stairs are more difficult than others.
Here’s the view one sees while climbing the stairs:
I am thankful for the patience of those waiting for me to make their dulcimers. The good news is that when fully recovered I should be able to spend a lot more time working in the shop than I have been able since this adventure began.
I love my job.