Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

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What’s On The Bench – 01/22/2014

I’m currently working on two dulcimers I began this past Fall before the last back surgery. I am so happy to be working again! It will still be a while before I am back to working full-time in the shop, which for a self-employed person who loves his job usually means most-of-the-time, but I am thankful and grateful for what I am now able to do.

The two current dulcimers I’m building both have walnut backs and sides. One will have a butternut soundboard and the other was to have a cedar soundboard but after planing and cleaning up the top I realized it was not cedar but redwood! I have a few sets of redwood I sawed up a few years ago that were unusually hard and stiff for redwood and one of them sneaked into the pile of cedar soundboards when I wasn’t looking. Soundboards do that. I have to keep them in a corral or they end up all over the house.

Redwood dulcimer soundboard in progressIf I had a better camera and/or took better photographs you would see the fine grain and beautiful color of this soundboard. But use your imagination! Pretty, ain’t it?

Also on the bench is a knife I picked up at an antique mall a few years ago.Strop and knifeThis knife has a massive brass handle with rosewood scales. The handle has a set screw so the blade can be adjusted for length. The leather strop is a piece of an old guitar strap with some compound on it. Since using a strop I spend more time working and less time sharpening; a moment or two of stropping restores a fine edge and delays the need to hone the tool again.

I have several custom orders I look forward to starting in the near future. In the photograph below my lovely wife Cynthia is helping me sort through my wood stash to find just the right wood for these dulcimers:Sorting through a pile of fine dulcimer tonewoodLife is good!


Music I’d Like To Hear #68


Music I’d Like To Hear #69


  1. bob harrington

    love my new dulcimer and thank you for the information on our phone conversation. bob

  2. Bill Akins

    I have always wanted to make a dulcimer. Last fall I made my first instrument, the strum stick and I’m pleased on how it turned out. I think I’m ready for a dulcimer now. Love your work.

    • Have fun making a dulcimer! If you dig through the archives on my blog there is a lot if information you might find helpful. And thanks for the kind words about my work.

  3. Your dulcimers always remind me of marble halavah.

  4. Glad to have you back among the builders. Hope we can jam again sometime.

  5. I love seeing your work in progress! however I think you could find a better picture of Cynthia…….

  6. Doug I love the Walnut and Sassafras three string that I have – plays real sweet

  7. I am looking forward to having another dulcimer made for me by you.

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Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers