This mountain dulcimer build is entirely the fault of LJ’er Dave Rutan. I followed his blog on building a mountain dulcimer while I was building a marimba. When I finished the marimba he had convinced me that I could build a dulcimer. Thank You Dave, I think. I started searching “building mountain dulcimer” after a week or two of reading. There are a lot of people building dulcimers as it is a folk instrument there really is no right or wrong way to build a dulcimer. I...
Wood has three dimensions and the table saw cuts both X (length) and Y (width) The Z (thickness) axis needs a lunch box planer. The table saw has the Incra rip fence and miter gauge so X and Y are covered. Z however needed some help getting the same accuracy as the saw. One of the benifits of digital gauges is that I can see the reading without squinting or having to bend down. I have a digital height gauge to set the saw height and set the router bits consistently. Repeatability is...
Used to have a shop, X got in the divorce. :( Fast forward 15 years & I have 2/3 of 1/2 of a garage to build a cabinet shop in. The core of any shop is the table saw and within my (retired) spending limit I got a brand new Grizzly G0715P. Simultaneously with the saw purchase I added an Incra LS-III rip fence and an Incra miter gauge. I’m disabled and can’t walk / stand a lot so everything is within reach of my chair in front of the saw. I’ve got most all of th...
I put the final tune on the resonators. This took a little while and a lot of miles. Temperature plays a lot in the tune of this instrument. We have had an unusually cool winter I kept the resonators in the house and carried each to the shop sanded a little then walked back in the house checked the tune then repeated. This kept the tube close to room temperature but required about 3 trips per for each resonator time 37 is a lot of trips. Everything is within 3 cents so were good to go. ...
The keys and resonators are made and have a rough tune. It’s now time to get everything ready and do the final tune.We need to drill mount hole in the keys before we can tune, first we need to locate and install the suspension components. The glockenspiel taught me that location and spacing of the suspension is a critical step. Space the suspension to close and the keys rub against the suspension causing vibration noise and affecting the sound from the keys too far and there isn̵...
Time to start on the resonators. These are the pipes that hang below the keys and give the instrument its signature sound. The keys when struck sound like a musical note but they sound more like a piano than a marimba.I went with as thin wall PVC pipe as I could get locally. I believe for the 2” it was about 140psi and the 1 1/2” about 160psi. The plans give the length to cut as I cut them i wrote the note inside the tube to keep them straight. Once they were all cut glued th...
I have all Christmas presents ready and time to work on the Marimba again.When I left last I had moved the lower keyboard over an 1 1/2 for clearance. After final tune and drilling the keys I didn’t like the gap so I moved everything back an 1 1/4. It looks way better. I applied one coat of lacquer. The old adjustment The final. Keys are closer to the upper frame and just looks better. I need to quit over thinking these things. Time to rough tune the keys. the keys were ...
I’ve never done a music box before and now that I look at this mechanism, I think I could have done better. Too late now. What I have done is install this one and made the box so that I can upgrade the music mechanism later. I used my patented (not really) magnetic latch technique. I love using magnets to secure thing. These rare earth magnets are cheap, strong and easy to use. I cut a heart out of walnut for a split lid feature In order to figure out the velvet l...
Well, I didn’t just quit woodworking for two years. I just let that box sit. I did turn this chunk of mahogany into a bass guitar that same year, I just haven’t posted that project yet. Back to the music box. A longgggg time ago (~15 years ago) I purchased a music box mechanism to make a music box for my wife. It plays “It’s a small world” as we’ve been to Disney World a bazillion times and her favorite is the Small World” ride. Ob...
Like magic, all the mitre cuts are done. This part isn’t difficult, but it requires SUPER CAREFUL setup and no haste. Here it is folded back together. Everything looks good so far. I re tape it for glue up Only after it is all glued up do I see my small but significant error(s): My mitre cuts were a hair off. This caused small gaps along the sharpest edges. No going back now, so I decide to bevel out the edges to compensate. I am good at compen...
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