Price: $Was $550. Now $300. Serious Offers Considered

Status: Sold

Types of wood: See Below

Instrument Size: 20"x7"x1.5"

Category: The Bowed Psaltery


Bowed Psaltery No 2756

TOP – Book Matched Curly Highly Figured Claro Walnut

BACK – Curly Figured Claro Walnut

In 2015 after attaining the ripe old age of 72 and having had my 4th back surgery in which metal rods were inserted into my lower back fusing 5 vertebra, I realized that my instrument making days were numbered.  Before I “checked in my chisels, etc.” I set out in search of the most beautiful piece of walnut that I could find to make my final bowed psalteries.  (Some of my posts on this website explain this in more detail.)  In this same year I achieved one of the goals on my “bucket list” when I was accepted to exhibit at the 2015 Smithsonian Craft Show (where a photo of one of my pieces was chosen to be printed on the invitation to the show).  At this show I met another woodworker who had pieces made from the most beautiful walnut that I had ever seen.  It was highly figured curly Claro Walnut which had varying hues of black, red, orange, yellow and combinations thereof.  I asked this artist where I might obtain such magnificent wood.  She pointed me to a dealer of specialized woods in Nevada where she obtained some of her wood.  I contacted this dealer and looked through photographs of various pieces of wood that he offered for sale and one of these pieces “lept off the screen and issued forth its siren call,”  Well, like the ancient Greek mariners, I was enthralled and fell completely under its spell for it had all of those qualities for which I sought.   I purchased that treasured (to me) piece of wood and, even to this day I have not been able to work up the courage to tell my dear wife of 50 years what I paid for it.

After I received this treasured piece of wood, I spent MUCH time studying it and trying to figure out how I could cut it up to produce the most spectacular bowed psaltery tops possible.  (Can you imagine the hesitation and trepidation that I felt as I first pushed this wooden treasure into the table saw blade that was whirling at 1725 RPM? (especially after this self-same blade had “relieved” me of three fingers on my right hand and chewed up the little finger in 2012.  I was most fortunate in that the surgeon was able to reattach two of the fingers although without the knuckles which the saw had removed – my middle finger was too shattered and could not be reattached.  When this first happened, I was most concerned that my ability to communicate properly would be severely compromised until I realized that I could hold up my remaining fingers up and simply tell people to “read between the lines”!  -“Sorry ’bout that”!)

Be that as it may, I was able to get several spectacular bowed psaltery tops out of the magnificent piece of wood and made several really wonderful instruments from it.  While it is true that some of the tops of these psalteries are similar, as they came from the same piece of wood, none of them are exactly alike.  Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to capture the true beauty of these psaltery tops in photographs because suspended 1/2 inch above these magnificent tops are 24 small, but shiny strings.  The result of this is that when you view the instrument with your eye, you can see the top very well, but with photographs, it is somewhat obscured.  I did not want to detract from the natural beauty of these tops with inlays and binding, so all of the instruments with these glorious tops are standard bowed psalteries with their reduced price.  This will make these truly magnificent instrument more affordable – a true heirloom treasure at a MOST reasonable price (and a display hanger so that you can display  your beautiful, one-of-a-kind instrument as an art piece when you are not being captivated by its ethereal sounds and melodies.