Here is my question:

If I have a dulcimer that was never strung and has some cracks in the top panel, is it worthwhile getting it repaired and strung?

A bit of background. When I was 12, we lived in Morganton, N.C., and some folks befriended me. One of the events we went to as a group was a Christmas concert where someone was playing a mountain dulcimer and also a hammer dulcimer. Absolutely beautiful music.  Well, I would see and hear such instruments a few more times before moving back to Washington state.


(The dulcimer in question)

Well the next year - I think I was in 7th grade - I took woodshop.  My grandfather is a gunsmith and I had learned quite a lot from him and my carpenter father about wood working. We were asked for a "big project" -- others picked crossbows, a dresser and yes, I picked a dulcimer. I can still remember the very lengthy discussion with the shop teacher about it. HAH! Well ultimately he gave in, mainly because there was a person who played and had made a few in our region. We visited him twice, I got plans from somewhere via the library, walnut game from my grandfather, soft spruce was used for the sides, and I believe it was ash for the fingerboard. The sound holes were cut as eight point stars...looking at them now, they are a bit crude ah but to have had a laser cutter!

Well it was finished - I received an A+, and then a series of events occurred where I was never able to find someone to help layout the fingerboard. Other things arose during high school, and it never got finished.

Yet, it has traveled many, many miles with me some 25 years later.  It has gotten bumped and bruised along the way - and I see two cracks developed in the top. One on a seam and one along the grain. Now, it hadn't entered my mind to see if it could be fixed, until I got looking at planning a summer trip with my wife and oldest daughter to Ohio. (She is a Longaberger consultant and they have a big gathering (Bee) in July). One of the places I will be driving my daughter through is the Coshocton area and looking through the Visit Ohio magazine we got, I saw the dulcimer festival there. Well that rekindled that old interest, and on one of the dulcimer sites on-line there was a reference to a "wall hanger" dulcimer...I laughed while reading it...then I remembered the one I had built truly gathering dust in the corner.

So, a long winded explanation as to why I was asking the question.  The prices for some of the new ones are so reasonable, that I figured it would be worth asking about repairing one versus buying a new one...haven't discussed that with my wife yet! ;-) But with three little ones, boy it would be a good thing for them to learn about music.  (I should also note that I am starting to think that purchasing a new dulcimer would be a great “mid-life crisis at 37/38 as well!  ;-)  )

Any suggestions appreciated. I can provide large size pictures of the ones above if it would be of help in giving me some advice.

Thanks in advance.