What’s On The Bench, And What’s New In My Dulcimer Making Adventure – February 29th, 2024

On the bench is what will be a 3-string cherry bass dulcimer with walnut binding. The back and sides are complete, and I’ve started work on the fingerboard and soundboard.

A bass dulcimer under construction.

This cherry bass dulcimer is also last on the list of advance and customer orders I have been working through for several years.

I had attempted to stop taking advance orders a few times before, but always failed to do so, but the time has come, and it seems like the best way to move forward.

In 2007, when I started making dulcimers again after a 25-year break, I was productive enough to usually have 3 or 4 dulcimers available for sale on my website while working on a similar number of custom instruments. This worked out well, kept me busy, and it meant someone could purchase a dulcimer from me immediately, but if they wanted something different from what I currently had available, I could make it for them within the next 6 months or so.

In 2012, I developed back issues that impaired my ability to work as much or as often as I would like. People waiting for dulcimers have been wonderfully patient and understanding. Since prioritizing making dulcimers for people who were waiting for them, I have rarely had time to make dulcimers available for immediate sale. The ebb and flow of dealing with physical challenges has made it difficult to predict how much and how often I can work in the shop, and as I’ve learned to accept that, I’m going to embrace what I consider the best way for me to remain both productive and happy.

My plan is to continue making dulcimers as I am able and offering them for sale when they are complete. There are also new ideas I want to try and styles of dulcimer and dulcimer-like instruments I hope to be making soon.

Even when I was most productive, I was not a production-oriented dulcimer maker. I’m always trying new ideas and new methods of work, and though not the best way to turn out a larger number of dulcimers, I find it is how I thrive and do my best work. 

So the adventure continues, and I do hope to have dulcimers available for sale during the next several months.

I post photos of dulcimers in progress on Instagram far more often than I post here, so please take a look if you find that sort of thing of interesting!