How to Make Dulcimer Cases
Dulcimer cases are very important in helping to protect the instrument during transport. There are numerous variations of Dulcimers. The two main types are the Appalachian (or Mountain) dulcimer and the Hammered Dulcimer. Dulcimers are members of the zither family of musical instruments. They are string instruments with frets. The Appalachian variation usually has three of four strings. The fingerboard reaches the entire length of the body and it usually based on the basic C-D-E-F-G diatonic scale. The Hammered dulcimer differs in that it is often larger and has strings that are stretched over a sounding board which are struck by mallets. The Appalachian dulcimer can be set down or carried while it is played whereas the Hammered dulcimer is set on a stand while being played.
Both hard cases and bags are used to transport dulcimers. You can use cases designed for other instruments or purposes as well for a dulcimer. For instance a guitar case or a rifle cases can be rigged to fit a dulcimer. Following are instructions to build your own dulcimer carrying case.
Step 1: Measuring
Measure your own dulcimer and cut 4 wooden boards to the length of the dulcimer plus an inch or two because the case will also hold supplies. The width of two of these boards should match the height of the dulcimer just to the top of the fretting. The width of the other two should match the width of the dulcimer. The typical Appalachian dulcimer is slightly over 3 feet long, under a foot wide and 3 inches or so thick so, using those guidelines, you can build a case to fit numerous different instruments. The boards must be measured so the dulcimer has only slight pressure on its fret board and it does not move within the case.
Step 2: Cutting the Boards
Cut more wood boards to use as the sides of the case to complete two open top boxes that will be placed one on top of another. One of the largest two sides should be the open side on each box.
Step 3: Create the Box
Construct the boxes and attach them together using hinges on the long sides.
Step 4: Attach Feet
The hinges will be on the bottom of the case so also attach feet using small furniture casters.
Step 5: Attach the Handle
On the top of the case, the side that will open, attach clasps and a handle. These can be purchased from a company that supplies string instrument artisans also known as luthier supplies.
Step 6: Affix Corners
Also to protect the case and to add a design element, you can affix decorative corners to corners of the case.
Step 7: Make Compartments
Inside each box, attach a small board widthwise about an inch or two from one side. This will leave a small space to store picks, tuners, wax or anything else to be carried with the dulcimer. This extra area should be in the case as well as the lid so it forms a closed area for the dulcimer to rest.
Step 8: Position Padding
Take your padding and either glue it directly to the inside of the main compartment in the case or pre-glue it to cardboard or home insulation material and glue or place this inside of the box. The padding should be easily removed to make future repairs.
Step 9: Cover the Case with Protecting Material
The case can also be covered with a strong material like vinyl, leather or canvas to protect it and further protect the instrument inside.