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Mountain Dulcimer

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Project by Dan Pleska posted 09-26-2007 05:36 AM 1674 views 4 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this dulcimer for my wife. Although she doesn’t play yet, she has wanted on for a long time. The woodworking club I belong to chose a dulcimer as a club project, so I couldn’t put off making one any longer. This is my first stringed instrument, and was loads of fun to make. I started with a piece of 5/4 figured cherry (her favorite) 9 1/2” wide and 48” long. Since my jointer is only 8”, I had to rely on the my planer, bandsaw and drum sander. The top, sides and bottom are 1/8” thk., but the sides are laminated from two 1/16” pieces glued up in a form the shape of the side. The fretboard is cocobolo. I sanded the cherry to 320 before assembly. I applied two coats of Watco Danish Oil to pop the figure out, then wet sanded with 600 using the same Watco. I let it dry for a week before buffing with 0000 steel wool and applying two coats of paste wax. My wife, Cathy, goes by the name of “Cat” hence the cat-shaped sound holes. Hope you enjoy. Thanks for looking.

-- Dan, West Virginia, http://www.danpleskaCreations.com





18 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4438 posts in 2710 days


#1 posted 09-26-2007 05:41 AM

Really great work, Dan. I especially like the cats. Reminds one of the mountain ladies on the front porch in the evening. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a dulcimer. They don’t seem to be as popular in this part of the country.
Tom

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View 's profile

593 posts in 2719 days


#2 posted 09-26-2007 10:57 AM

Wow!

It’s amazing, and you say it’s your first instrument? Unbelievable. I love the nice detail of the holes cut in form of cat silhouettes too.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2908 days


#3 posted 09-26-2007 12:37 PM

lovely. Great idea for the cats!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View ThreeJs's profile

ThreeJs

82 posts in 2687 days


#4 posted 09-26-2007 01:18 PM

So how does it sound? Very nice looking instrument btw.

-- David, Charlotte NC (http://beechcreeknaturals.etsy.com)

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2942 posts in 2742 days


#5 posted 09-26-2007 02:21 PM

That is a beautiful job! Nice work. I bet the wife loves it (whether she ever plays it or not…).

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15795 posts in 2966 days


#6 posted 09-26-2007 02:39 PM

Great job, Dan.

I remember my dad building a dulcimer from a kit many years ago. As I already played guitar, I found it very easy to play. Your wife should give it a try…it’s probably the easiest of stringed instruments to learn. Of course the professionals can get into some very serious technique, but basic strumming is within anyone’s grasp.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4473 posts in 2825 days


#7 posted 09-26-2007 03:12 PM

Woodworking art! Great job.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4473 posts in 2825 days


#8 posted 09-26-2007 03:12 PM

Woodworking art! Great job.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2909 days


#9 posted 09-26-2007 05:07 PM

A great looking instrument Dan. Well done.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View jerryw's profile

jerryw

158 posts in 2663 days


#10 posted 09-26-2007 11:03 PM

nice dulicumer. i like the cats. where are you located in WV. i live outside of salem a few miles.
keep up the good work. jerryw

-- jerryw-wva.

View Dan Pleska's profile

Dan Pleska

139 posts in 2708 days


#11 posted 09-26-2007 11:53 PM

Thanks for all the nice comments. Everyone seems to like the cats, includeing “Cat.”

Jerry, I live in Scott Depot. It’s on I-64, about halfway between Charleston and Huntington. I think you make the third Mountaineer here on LJ. If your ever in the area, give me a call, I’ll give you a shop tour. I’m in the phone book.

-- Dan, West Virginia, http://www.danpleskaCreations.com

View jerryw's profile

jerryw

158 posts in 2663 days


#12 posted 09-27-2007 04:54 AM

Dan thanks for the invite. I don’t get to your area very often, but you never know. If your in the Clarksburg area, email me and I will give you direction. I will be at the Forest Festival in Elkins Oct. 4-6 , if you should happen to be in the area.

-- jerryw-wva.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2736 days


#13 posted 09-27-2007 05:12 AM

Great job!

I started a violin a few years ago and I am trying to get interested again.

Have you had anyone that knows how to play, try it out yet?

Gary

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2744 days


#14 posted 09-27-2007 08:53 AM

Very cool…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Dan Pleska's profile

Dan Pleska

139 posts in 2708 days


#15 posted 09-27-2007 03:11 PM

Gary, I haven’t yet. Will post a comment when she gets it tuned up.

-- Dan, West Virginia, http://www.danpleskaCreations.com

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