A friend asked what part of making a dulcimer I enjoy the most. After some thought I realized I enjoy all aspects of dulcimer construction for different reasons.
I enjoy going to the sawmill and digging through stacks of wood and talking with others I meet who have a love and appreciation for wood. Planing rough-sawn lumber and getting the first glimpse of what is under the saw marks is always a thrill. Everything that follows is also fun.
The early stages of getting the work done are more physical; lots of planing at the bench. As the dulcimer progresses the work becomes finer, more detailed and requires greater precision. The rougher work is less demanding of intense focus while the finer work is less physical but requires much more concentration.
Once all the parts are glued together there is still a lot of work to do.
Once out of the clamps this dulcimer will be prepped for finishing. After that comes varnishing, fretting and set-up.
When I need a break from the focus required to do that stuff I jump to rough planing that proceeds making starting the next few dulcimers.
I had planed this piece of quartersawn walnut a while back and it has already been resawn at the bandsaw. I’m joining the tops and backs for the next dulcimer in line with wood that came from this board.
All this planing may indeed be my favorite part of the process!