On the bench are the walnut sides and back of a dulcimer on the verge of becoming intimate.
Before the magic happens I first have to notch the linings in the sides to receive the ends of the back braces. After that the I trim the braces to length and carve the ends to fit into the notches. I do most of this work with the small saw and chisel in the photograph.
After making sure everything fits I’ll add glue and clamps and the two will become one.
On the bench is some of the wood going into the next run of dulcimers. Two dulcimers will be all cherry, one will have walnut for the back and sides and a spruce soundboard, and another will have spalted maple for the back and sides and a spruce soundboard.
If you look closely at the photograph you will see a triangle with numbers drawn in pencil on some of the cherry. This is an old trick to mark bookmatched wood so the edges line up as intended. After matching the pieces the way I think they look best I draw the triangle and number. The triangle will only look like a triangle if I put the wood back together in the same orientation. When working with multiple sets sawn from the same stock the number assures the sets are two pieces sawn sequentially. This simple trick has saved me from many headaches!
My back has healed enough from surgery that I can now work on dulcimers in short spurts several times a day. I’m taking things easy and slow and avoiding the temptation to do more work than I know I should! Slow and steady wins the race!
I can already tell that when fully healed I will be able to work many more hours than I have been able during the past six years. More dulcimers, more fun!
In the photograph are cherry and walnut dulcimer sides bent and ready for the next three dulcimers I will be making.
Music loses its freedom by being subject to the laws of technique, but mystics in their sacred music, regardless of the world’s praise, free both their composition and improvisations from the limitations of technicality.