The Building Bench

Here is where I put the dulcimer's body together. I begin by selecting woods, then giving them a final sanding with 120-grip sanding blocks. Then I use a building form --the one shown here is for the Teardrop Model--and glue the back, sides, tailblock and peghead together. It is a fast-paced period, for I have to get everything aligned within the 15 or so minutes while the hide glue is still "open" (amenable to adjustment).

I also profile the fretboard here. I count on this table to be a flat reference surface. Any fretboard that goes into a dulcimer has to be flat with respect to this table. So I take good care of it. It's a laminated maple laboratory table top, mounted on an old patient examination table I got from a doctor's office. Very heavy duty.

I also press the frets into the fretboard at this table, using a little wooden press I built--nothing fancy. Pressing in frets is not rocket science.

The other major operation done here is gluing the top onto the body. This is done with the body back in the building form, and is another one of those close-order drills where everything has to happen in sequence before the hide glue sets up. Hide glue is a great promoter of disciplined, quick work!