In April 2002, while attending the Escapees Club Woodcarvers get together at North Ranch in Congress AZ, we enjoyed an evening of dulcimer music when about eight of our fellow woodcarvers had a Jam session.

Fran was hooked instantly and "had to have one". I was interested to learn that a couple of the players had made their own dulcimers from kits. Well, it wasn't long before we purchased a dulcimer for Fran and a kit for me to build... Fran didn't want to wait for me to finish the kit. I have purchased several kits over the last few years.

As a full-time RVer I don't have the luxury or a wood shop full of the necessary tools and machinery needed to make dulcimers from scratch but the kits eliminate that need. Still it does take a few tools that take up space in the RV. It's a lot of hassle to pack the tools away so I don't do any dulcimer work unless we're going to be at a place for a while. Also, since my workshop is the great outdoors the weather has to cooperate so I don't get to make as many as I'd like to.

My first MountainDulcimer

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See a larger view

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See a larger view

This dulcimer was made from a JENNY WILEY DULCIMER Scratch Kit designed by Jeff Lambert from Stinson Creek Dulcimers. It's all solid wood made from dark walnut and poplar.

I wasn't sure about the poplar since it has a gray, green, yellow color. But a few applications of tung oil gave the wood a really pretty color. The sides of the sound box are poplar but stained to complement the walnut woods. The walnut was also stained to give it a rich, antique feeling.

I also substituted bone for the walnut nut and bridge pieces that come with the kit. No good reason except that I like the white and think it offers a nice contrast to the dark wood. I don't know if the bone changed the sound since this is my first dulcimer. I also added a 6 1/2 fret. Something Fran says allows her to play more songs. The extra fret is now an option that Jeff offers.

The instructions for the kit are adequate to complete the building of the dulcimer but could be more detailed. Also, the instructions are not included with the kit anymore. You have to access the Stinson Creek web site to get them. Probably not a big deal but then my web browser doesn't always print the pages the way it should. I would vote for having real paper instructions included and the online instructions for backup and updates/additions. In any event you can always email Jeff with any questions.

This is a photo of the JENNY WILEY DULCIMER Scratch Kit


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This Page Last modified on: June 2006 Copyright 2002