Hide glue is great stuff. Originally I figure if Homer use aliphatic glue, it must be right, but after taking the plunge and spending about $35 to set it up a hide glue pot, I love it! You must work quickly. I found somewhere on the web a guy who uses a primer trick to get the most out of a less than optimal joint. The sides are very thin on the dulcimore and the glue didn’t seem to take. First I tried a glue bottle but it wasn’t the way to go. (mess) Then I read the primer method and used a smaller brush and WooHoo!
I got my staple marking tool made. After finishing the latest dulcimore I tried it out. Being able to adjust the note with one hand is the way to go. I have no idea how other guys do it, but I’m really happy with this technique. After marking each staple placement I then went back and double checked them a few times and somehow two were a little sharp. It all worked out great though; it is my best Ionian scale yet!
Before the length was factored in to the equation; now only the width is of any concern. It makes the instrument much easier to make. No more scale formulas, measuring with a magnifying glass, $30 stainless steel rule, and worry if it will even be correct. Make the dulcimore, set the scale, play.
I had been playing with planes, chisels, and knives for some time. I still use power tools for specific task but truly enjoy sharp steel to complete many other jobs. I set up a band saw for resaw, but still go back to the table saw. (Homer style) I cheat on the fiddle edge too. I enjoy knife work but less than a minute with the router? Hey, it’s finished with the knife! Hand-planing the panels and fret board is calming. The plane will get warm in your hand after a few minutes. Finish with a little scraping and you have a wonderfully finished piece of wood. It is not flat like a machined piece. The irregularity makes it special and I love it.
I use the band saw to rough the peg head too. Round over with the router again, and peg hollow and ball is finished with a chisel and knife. Chisel and knife are also used to “fit it” to the body. All the pieces are made and readied, and the glue up begins.


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