Over the summer my wife came home after visiting a former colleague and brought in an oldish mountain dulcimer. It had hung on the wall at her friend’s house and she was wondering if it could be made to play. I’m no expert, but I took a good look at it. It looked to be a genuine mountain dulcimer, not a mere decoration. A label inside says Geoffrey R. Johnson, NOVEMBER 1989. A Google search on that yielded nothing useful.
The Nut was broken and the floating bridge was missing, but I figured that given time and research I could likely repair the instrument.
I removed the old nut and used its remains to reproduce it in a piece of walnut wood I saved for just such a purpose. I sanded the piece to shape and marked where the string slots will go. Then I glued it on, using Titebond’s liquid hide glue. (N.B. The Elmer’s white glue was not used for this repair. It was simply on the table in shot.)
Information about floating dulcimer bridges is scarce out there, so I created a prism shaped piece to serve and put small notches where the strings will ride. It’s fortunate that there are two marks on the fretboard where the floating bridge should go.
After the glue on the nut dries, I’ll string it up and between my musician wife and I we’ll set the strings in the nut to the proper height and make sure the thing really works.
I have a book coming in from our library about making dulcimers. I’m hoping that will fill in some blanks for me. I’m wondering what I could use to clean the piece up a bit before we give it back. If it ends up being a good book, I’ll probably buy a copy somewhere.
-- Ni faru ion el ligno!