Keeping The Dulcimer Shop Warm

My wife and I live in a 100-year-old farm-house. What once were fields around us are now house-farms, but that is another story.

It is a challenge keeping the house comfortably warm but that too is another story.

My shop is in what once was an upstairs bedroom. Since I spend a lot of time there during the day I keep the heat set low in the rest of the house. If I’m doing lots of planing and sawing I like having the shop on the cool side because I get heated up pretty fast from the workout of using hand tools.

Edge-joining two boards with hot hide glue

When doing glue-ups I use a space-heater to warm up the shop. When using hide glue I heat the shop  70 ° F. If the room is much cooler than 70 ° F  hide glue will being to gel before I have time for proper assembly and clamping.

An old-style heated glue pot

The hide glue cooks in a double boiler at 140 ° F. The combined heat of the space-heater, the glue-pot and a halogen floor lamp quickly bring the temperature up to 70 ° F. This is one advantage of having a very small shop!

My highly effective third world electric glue pot

I have written other posts about why I love using hide glue. It is my glue-of-choice for assembling many parts of the dulcimers I make. I do use other adhesives where the qualities of hide glue are either not optimal or necessary.

But I love hide glue for its workability, strength, reversibility and most importantly the quality it adds to tone.

3 thoughts on “Keeping The Dulcimer Shop Warm

  1. Doug,
    Is it possible to use just a word or two to characterize the tone given to an instrument from using hide glue in its building (as opposed using some other adhesive)?

    1. Hi Robin,

      All variables depend on, well, other variables, but on my dulcimers using hide glue helps give a very quick, responsive attack. Hide glue dries very hard and thin so it transfers vibration very well.
      All the best,


      1. @Doug Berch,

        Thanks for the reply, Doug! Although I know nothing about luthier work, I do get the Stew-Mac newsletter (and have been to Gene Imbody & Erik Coleman’s shop several times) and am interested in how things get fixed/made.

Comments are closed.