The Spokeshave – The Dulcimer Builder’s Friend

Dulcimer Builder's Friend - The Friendly SpokeshaveLast night I was trimming the back of a dulcimer to meet the sides.

After chopping off the bulk of the overhang with a chisel I switch to spokeshaves. Even though dulcimers do not have spokes one can still shave them with a spokeshave. Do not use shaving cream!

For most of the work I use a flat-bottomed spokeshave but for the curve in the waist and the recurve near the tail I use a round-bottom spokeshave. From there I switch to a scraper to bring the back flush with the sides.

One of the things I enjoy about trimming the back to the sides with a spokeshave is that I get to listen to the resonance of the dulcimer; the friction of the spokeshave against the overhanging back is a bit like bowing a violin.

Trimming the back to meet the sides would be faster if I used an electric router but I don’t enjoy doing it that way. Routers are loud, messy, gnarly little beasts!

My wife Cynthia came home last night and thought she saw a good photo-op.

Doug Berch - Dulcimer Builder and FashionistaI use a cabinetmaker’s clamp clamped on its side to hold the dulcimer while working on the sides.

And yes, fashion is my life.


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