Hammer Dulcimer #1

June 22, 2004.  That is when you would have to say that I started building musical instruments.  That is when I went to Crossscut Hardwoods and bought the materials to build my first instrument: a Hammer Dulcimer.

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I found a book of  plans and instructions on line and followed it quite closely.  I was fortunate to have at my disposal a very nice shop building, a Shopsmith, Radial Arm Saw, Drill Press, a Smithy Mill, and assorted hand tools.  I devoted all of my spare time to the project and it came together fairly well.

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I used Cherry for the sides, Maple for the bridges, and Baltic Birch plywood for the back.  The sound board is made from cedar fence boards from Home Depot.  I had to go to three stores to find enough pieces that were straight and quarter sawn.

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At this point I was probably a lot happier and pleased with my progress  that I look in the picture.

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The strings are various sizes of music wire from Wink’s Hardware in Portland.  I turned the end loops by hand and the process required more than a few band-aids.

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I was quite satisfied with the results and put a lot of miles on it playing in public many many times.  Here I am jamming with some friends at a church picnic in 2009.

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The only drawback to the instrument is that it is so big and over built.   It weighs 35 lbs.  After 9 years, I  got tired of lugging it around so I bought a 15 lb. Dusty Strings D550.

 

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