4 String Dulcimer Build #4: Fingerboard

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 11-14-2016 09:55 PM 1532 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Need more Clamps! Part 4 of 4 String Dulcimer Build series Part 5: Friction Tuning Pegs »

After cutting a new fingerboard stick from my mahogany, I proceeded to mill it, etc. Roy Underhill stated in his video where he shows, sort of, how to make a dulcimer, that the fingerboard is the key. You can stick a fingerboard on anything and it will work, but it needs to be correct.

[Above] After cutting the stick to correct size, I marked it up according to the instructions. Several things get done to the fingerboard, and I already learned how to avoid a few problems from my last attempt. Here I’m notching out the ‘strum hollow’. It needs to be 1/8 inch deep. While I was at it, I also kerfed out the location for the bridge and the nut as they also needed to be 1/8 inch deep.

[Above] Here’s what the strum hollow looks like before I clean it up.

[Above] I’ve marked the location for the tuning pegs and have drilled through holes while the piece is solid. This avoids the possibility of blowout where you can’t do much to prevent it.

[Above] Now I’ve drilled out the tuning head area with a Forstner bit. the rest of it is cleaned up with a rasp. Wither the peg holes already drilled, I didn’t have to worry about the drill blowing out the wood in the middle gap area. (If you understood that, raise your hand.)

[Above] The back side of the fingerboard has to be hollowed out. I did this with the table saw and a chisel. Neatness isn’t a necessity on this part.

[Above] Aside from putting the frets on, the last thing I needed to do was to put the taper in the peg holes. For this I’m using a rat tail file that I’ve mounted in a length of flat steel with JB Weld. The taper needs only be slight and this does the trick (so far.)

Next up is peg making.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

2 comments so far

View nomercadies's profile


590 posts in 3668 days

#1 posted 11-15-2016 01:15 PM

Not only is the subject at hand interesting, but a look at the background items are worth the visit to your continuing saga.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

2009 posts in 3518 days

#2 posted 11-15-2016 02:58 PM

Not only is the subject at hand interesting, but a look at the background items are worth the visit to your continuing saga.

- nomercadies

I’m glad you’re enjoying it on more than one level. Sometimes I stage the interesting bits in the background, Other times it’s accidental.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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