Saturday, August 25, 2018

Songbird 16/15 Finch Solid Top complete outfit $549.00 plus FREE SHIPPING

We have been experimenting with how to make a stress free solid top hammered dulcimer.  The top is composed of 7 individual boards connected only with tongue and groove joints and not glued.  It works great, and they are remarkably stable.  The top of this one is quarter sawn Douglas Fir which though unusual, is a recognized tone wood.  It is also beautiful, though a little hard to work with.

Ideas just happen to me, and I believe they come from outside myself, they are just given to me at the right time, and this is one.  This is how it happened.  My aunt, Dottie Raun passed away, and we wanted to go to the funeral, which was scheduled for 8:00 AM in Des Moines, 150 miles away.  So we had to go and stay overnight, and ended up in a real flea bag motel.  The bed was horrible, I wasn't sleeping well, and dreamed this dulcimer.  It was vivid and went on all night.  By the time I got up, I had it all worked out.  Now this wasn't something I was thinking of or working on, or even concerned about, but I knew the idea was worth trying.

The problem with solid wood is it expands or contracts across the grain but not with the grain with changes in humidity.  The rule of thumb in cabinet making is not to glue wood cross grain that is over 8 inches wide or you are asking for trouble.  But we do it in the hammered dulcimer world and sort of get away with it by taking precautions with moisture content of the wood, humidity in the shop, and by using only the most stable woods.  Some also strenuously specify in the guarantee that it is up to the owner to keep their instrument in controlled conditions, necessitating humidifying the house, keeping the instrument from extremes, and if cracks or warping happen, telling the owner it was their fault for not taking proper care of their dulcimer.

The new Finch with the divided top solves that completely.  Each individual board can swell or shrink up to 1/10 inch which isn't enough for you to see in the cracks, but if it was glued solid together, the whole top could move 1/2 inch across the whole width, causing major stress on the instrument.  We've tested it, it works, and they sound great, too.  All the sound holes need to be in the back for strength reasons, but that actually helps the sound anyway.  It is smoother, and projects better.  Check out the video.

At $549.00 for the complete outfit plus free shipping, this one is a deal.  The final model will be $699.00 plus shipping when we put it on the web site later this year.  If you are interested, or have any questions whatever, our email is, or call 563-571-5296.

Thanks for looking!
Chris Foss

BTW:  Lifetime guarantee on this one.  you can take it anywhere you like, and not worry about it.  It'll be fine.  Death Valley?  No problem.  The Amazon?  Ditto.

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