Lutherie requires precision work with a material that prefers to bend and sway with the weather!
I have learned that it is better to accommodate the will of the wood then to force it to meet my demands. I have tried both approaches and have learned that the will of the wood always wins!
Working with the will of the wood has led to an evolving sense of design and technique that has led at times to both revelation and frustration.
Compromise is possible in certain areas and the result leads to a dulcimer with an organic look and feel that shows it was made from trees by a persons hands.
The natural world has few perfectly flat and straight surfaces. The will of the wood demands that I remember this!
The tolerances of the fingerboard must be precise and remain precise. I can make few compromises here. If the fingerboard becomes inaccurate or warps the dulcimer is no longer a musical instrument capable of satisfying a demanding player.
Again, I have learned that keeping a fingerboard true requires understanding what the wood prefers to do and working with the will of the wood.
On a good day, rather than me working the wood it is the wood that works me!