I’ve been busy, so there have been several dulcimers on and off the bench!
Shown is what will become dulcimer#184. I have been saving some interesting pieces of reclaimed wood and decided to use a few for this particular dulcimer.
The back and sides came from a beam that was once part of a barn. A friend who used to have a sawmill nearby knew I was always looking for quartersawn wood, so he gave me a few slices straight from the beam. We were not sure what type of wood it is, possibly birch, but it is light, stiff and pretty in a slightly rustic way.
The soundboard is redwood that came from an old shelf given to me by another friend. It is perfectly quartersawn.
Using reclaimed wood is a way of recycling wood that might have ended up in a fire or a dump. It also is a way of getting one’s hands on old growth timber and/or species that are sometimes no longer available.
Working with reclaimed wood poses some challenges. It is not uncommon to be surprised by a nail, a staple, archaeological remains of an insect civilization, and other oddities while working with it. Sometimes the traces of these oddities add to the unique beauty of the wood, other times they render the wood unusable. I expect more surprises when using reclaimed wood, though any piece of wood tends to yield its mysteries while working with it.
There is history in the dulcimer before it is even built, and that makes me happy.
I regularly post photos of my dulcimer making in progress on Instagram.