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