Hammer dulcimer, Part 3

Here’s the last shot of the sound board, after squeezing the rosettes in:


Time to make the bridges.  First thing is to determine the space between holes.  This is usually the most frustrating part of the whole deal.  But this time it was a cinch, so maybe my frontal lobe has developed some since I last made one of these.  😉

This time, I stretched a thread between the pins, at the top and bottom of the blocks, then measured the distance between them, at the position and angle where the bridge will be.  Then divide that number by the number of spaces between courses.  So, for the treble side, it was 19.125″, divided by 17, = 1.125″.


So, having got that figured out, it’s time to process the wood.  I used curly maple for the bridges.  First cut it out of the parent board, then joint the edges, and plane to 5/8″ thick.  I’m making these 1-1/8″ tall.


Now the table saw is used to make a V shaped groove on the top:



Then the holes are layed out:


and drilled.  I used a 3/4″ forstner bit.   I also marked where I’ll be cutting notches:


The notches cut and the bridges set in place:



Here’s how the cross section of the bridges ended up:


I’m using 3/16″ diameter music wire set on top of the braces, to support the bridges.  I was worried they wouldn’t be strong enough to support it, so I added some braces in between the others:


Now it’s time to make the strips of wood that hold the saddles.  They’re made pretty much like the bridges, except they’re only 1/4″ tall:




Now it’s time to drill out the tuning pin holes:


The pins:


I made this tool for driving the pins in.  It keeps them from going in too far.



The hitch pins:


Making a carrying handle:




The hole to the left of the handle is for the pickup jack.

To be continued… again…


4 thoughts on “Hammer dulcimer, Part 3

  1. Hello! My name’s Andrea, i write from Italy!

    Congratulations about your works!!!
    In particular i like very very very much, your hammered dulcimer making. I was folgored by the beauty of your dulcimer!

    Usually i’ve make.. lyres, psalteries, and little harps…but
    It’s many time that i search a full range hammered dulcimer plans, but it’s impossible found it here in Italy.
    I know your MusicMaker kit’s website and i see they sell a plan of a 17/16…well yes,….but its concept of construction , …pinblock , side bridge (brass), soundboard glued … i don’t like very much!! eheh..

    About your dulcimer: i would like kindly ask you if you have buy a PLAN about this instrument. I really like it, and because the shape, construction and other parts are really powerful to my eyes.
    With this occasion, I ask to you if you have possibility to sell a plan about this instrument., or if the plans is selled from another builder.
    If not possible, should be very very interesting to have just the measures of the parts…(but i don’t know if you have this info to leave to me…)

    (In the chance you have plans, and you can sell it..tell me costs!
    If you will a donation about your further infos, nothing problem!)

    I hope you can help me! 😉

    my best regards

  2. Hi,

    I’m interested in the plans too. If you wouldn’t mind sharing what you can, I’d really appreciate it!

    • Hi,
      I really don’t have plans, but plans are available. Try Google. 🙂

      If you have some specific questions though, I’d be happy to answer them.


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