Hammered Dulcimer

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Project by Blayne posted 1498 days ago 3294 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m a hammered dulcimer player, and I decided I wanted to build one on my own. So, with a set of plans and a pile of lumber, I set out to build this dulcimer. I got as far as completing the sound box when new responsibilities at my day job kept me from completing it for a year. But, I eventually came back and finished it all in one (long) weekend. This is my most ambitious project to date.

The soundboard is quartersawn mahogany, which I resawed in the shop from an 8/4 board, and then edge glued to make the panel. The pin blocks (which you can see in the construction photos) are hard maple, and the pin panels (the wood visible beneath the tuning pins, overlaying the pin blocks) are 1/4” birdseye maple. The sides are cherry and the edge trim is walnut. The bridges and string supports (next to the pin panels) are padauk. The back is 1/4” birch ply. The soundhole rosette is a maple, laser-cut crown of thorns that I purchased off of the Web. The dulcimer is finished with four coats of General Finishes wipe-on oil poly. The label on the inside is the name under which I build my instruments, Dove Creek Dulcimer. In the construction photos, you can see the hard maple pin blocks, the (unfinished) cherry sides, and some of the internal support.

This instrument sits in my office at work today, so that I can play it when I have some spare time. It has a good sound and stays in tune pretty well. While it was a frightening build at times (wondering if I was about to make a high $ pile of firewood), I’m pleased with the outcome.

-- Blayne -- Stillwater, OK

13 comments so far

View Kate's profile


396 posts in 2508 days

#1 posted 1498 days ago

Wow, that’s beautiful. Makes me wish I could play.

-- Kate,

View CharlieM1958's profile


15691 posts in 2852 days

#2 posted 1498 days ago

Gorgeous instrument!

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

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

240 posts in 1757 days

#3 posted 1498 days ago

Incredible! Now I want to build one.

-- Tony -

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

240 posts in 1757 days

#4 posted 1498 days ago

Any way you can post mp3 files????

-- Tony -

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 2540 days

#5 posted 1498 days ago

a seriously excellent project….I’ve always love hammered dulcimer music…like the zither…super super.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Tim29's profile


307 posts in 1784 days

#6 posted 1498 days ago

Nice! I would love to hear it.

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View richgreer's profile


4522 posts in 1708 days

#7 posted 1498 days ago

This looks absolutely great.

My wife owns and plays a hammered dulcimer. I would love to build a new, very special, one just for her. This is inspiration for me.

FYI – the hammered dulcimer’s first cousin, the alpine dulcimer, is, allegedly, the only true American folk instrument. My wife has one of those also.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View BigTiny's profile


1664 posts in 1522 days

#8 posted 1497 days ago

I too admire the workmanship and would love a copy of the plans if available,
As for the dulcimer being the only american instrument, isn’t the banjo also in that catagory? As Roy Clark says about the banjo, “only america would DARE!” ;)

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View tinnman65's profile


1121 posts in 2048 days

#9 posted 1497 days ago

Fantastic job Blayne, it looks like it was worth the wait.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Blayne's profile


28 posts in 1498 days

#10 posted 1497 days ago

I’ll look up the plans and let you know where I got them. I’ll also try to record some MP3 samples when I get time.

-- Blayne -- Stillwater, OK

View DocT's profile


109 posts in 2072 days

#11 posted 1497 days ago

I can almost hear it now! Ditto on the MP3 sampler. What genre of music do you play? I have a stringed instrument on my wood working bucket-list, but this build must have been a bit daunting (it would be for me). Great job, and, I assume…..GO POKES!


View Lewis Baumstark, Jr.'s profile

Lewis Baumstark, Jr.

49 posts in 1558 days

#12 posted 1497 days ago

Very nice! Loved your “Pickin’ Stick” project, too. There’s just something about building instruments…

-- Every time I walk in my shop I thank my dad, my geometry teacher, and my drafting that order.

View BTKS's profile


1967 posts in 2098 days

#13 posted 1497 days ago

Beautiful. Talented with wood and music, I’m envious.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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