Curly Walnut Dulcimer with Shell Inlaid Sound Holes

Price: $ Was $850. Now $600.

Status: Available

Types of wood: Bookmatched Curly Claro Walnut, Black Walnut and Black Walnut Shells

Instrument Size: 35"X9"X2.5"

What a rich, vibrant wood is Walnut and finding a piece of Walnut that is Curly is rare indeed.  In my searches through many, many lumber dealers, I was fortunate to find a billet of Curly Walnut.  (A billet is a piece of wood that you can cut to the dimensions that you need and is thick enough to get the number of slices that you need – in my case 4.)  I wound up with a billet approx. 34″X4″ X 1″ from which I cut 4 slices 34″x4″x5/32″.  I then took the slices in order and bookmatched the first two and then the second two so that I had two pieces that were 34″x8″x5/32″ which were seemed down the middle with each side being a mirror image of the other.  I then used a thickness sander to take the two pieces down from 5/32″ to a light 1/8″.  (If you try to plane figured wood that thin, it will shatter – hence the thickness sander.)

If you look carefully at the photos below you can see what I mean.  Notice the lighter parts of the wood toward the neck of the dulcimer.  Also notice that the left side of this light section is slightly longer than the right side.  This means that this lighter side was “running out” as the billet became thinner.  Now look at the back.  The light streak is smaller on the right side and almost gone on the left side,  Such is the infinite wonder of wood!  Notice also on the back how one side is the mirror image of the other.  The same is true of the front, but the seam of the bookmatching is interrupted by the fret board.  Also, please notice the cross-sectioned Black Walnut Shells used as sound holes.  Black Walnuts are often crushed to get to the delicious nuts and we do not get to see the incredibly beautiful symmetry of the shell itself.  I use a band saw, hold the nut very firmly and slowly take a cross-sectioned slice from the center of the nut (I eat the nut meat inside) and then inlay the shell into top.  Six of these shells are the sound holes.  On the fret board near the neck is a small inlay of a humming bird.  This inlay is taqua nut -also known as “vegetable Ivory”.

I try to make all of my dulcimers as adaptable as possible.  My dulcimers are 4 string with a double melody string.  If you prefer the traditional 3 string, you can simply remove one of the melody strings.  Also if you are going to play or change tunings often, you might wish to replace the wooden pegs with mechanical ones.  (Grove Champion Sta-tite Ukulele tuning pegs -85B- are ideal as the use the wooden peg holes and do not use screws.  Save the wooden pegs you can put them back in when you are not playing as often and want to display the dulcimer as a work of art.  I have included a set of these Grove Tuning pegs as well.  Let me know if you would like me to install them before I ship and I will also send the wooden pegs.)  This dulcimer comes with a pick, noter, the Grover tuning pegs and a wall display hanger.  (Please read my post of May 15, 2015 regarding Wooden Tuning Pins)

I welcome any comments and questions.