Dulcimer Finishing – Part II

Of nuts, bridges, and anchors


Well, the traveling for the office is about done and while I have a trip to Ohio and a 20th reunion ahead of us, I should have some time to this summer to make the plunge on seeing if this middle school woodshop project is worth pursuing as a finished instrument.  For the background of how I got to this point, check out this intro to my situation page at http://olypen.com/tinkers/DulcimerQuestion.htm


Here are the three questions I am currently trying to understand (trust me I have more).  Please forgive the multiple part questions – it’s an occupational defect associated with law school training:


1.     Should any adjustments be made to the space in the headstock due to its overlapping of the fret board?  Then also, should the nut be some material such as bone or the Delrin material available from www.folkcraft.com?


The pictures below help illustrate what I am asking.  There is a 1/4” overlay between the walls of the headstock and the fretboard.  I do have some woodworking tools and I could remove this material with a small Dremmel router to line up with the outer edges of the fretboards if there is a need.


 I have also marked out where I believe is the lowest point on the fret board that I could place a nut.  I believe I had originally thought it would be better places at the seam of the headstock and the nut, but this doesn’t seem to be a natural location from some of the pictures on the eye-candy portion of www.everythingdulcimer.com.  The distance between the seam and where I have marked as the lowest place for a nut is 7/8”. 


2.     Now, there is the question of where should the bridge go and should I drill through holes for the strings to run through the tail piece to fasten to something on the “outer part of the tail piece?” 


Ok – Thank God for (1) patience of those trying to help me in this task; and, (2) for digital cameras and websites.  J  Here is what I am trying to figure out.  It appears that I created an area to pick/play within the construction of the fretboard.  I also believe I thought at the time that the bridge would go at location B, but I am wondering if location A is where it should be going? Location A is to the right of the picture, Location B is to the left near the tail piece. I would use the same material here that is used in placing the nut.  NOTE:  The distance from the seam to Location A is 26 ¾” and the distance from the seam to Location B is 32 1/8” – if that makes any difference in approaching the location of the bridge.


Now the second part of the question is the terminus or “anchor-points” for the strings.  I seem to recall my thought that they would go through the tail piece that I have made here.  But I am not sure if they were to pass through just simple drill holes or something that was lined.  There is amble space on the tail piece for strap button or something of the like if there is a need.





My hope is to progress from these questions to ones next about tuners and strings…but one series of steps and fumbles at a time.  ;-)   www.folkcraft.com has a $16 hardware set for mountain dulcimers that might be a good means of approaching the materials needed aspect of this, but again, putting together a few other things (bone instead of Delrin) can work as well.