Old Folkcraft Teardrop Kit

Dave D
Dave D
@dave-d
2 weeks ago
11 posts
Thanks for all of the replies. I like the idea of reusing the pegbox of the old fretboard with a scarf joint, although I don't think I can get the surfaces flat enough with the tools I have on hand. And the string groove in the pegbox limits the room for dowels or anything else to strengthen the joint.

I'm still waiting to hear back from folkcraft. They sell two types of mahagony scroll heads that I think would work with a new fretboard, but I would have to cut them down by 3/8" at the bottom to work with the sides I have. I have instructions for both the old kit that I have and the current kit that folkcraft sells and there really aren't that many differences in construction (besides the fretboard and the side height, the main difference is that the old kit uses slotted blocks to hold the dulcimer sides at the head and tail).
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 weeks ago
1,826 posts

Yeah... a nice dowelled scarf joint should work ok.  A butt joint would fail, I think.

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 weeks ago
239 posts

Ken has a good idea.  Add a couple of dowels in the joint for strength, and Gorilla-glue it on.  Or go to a lot of extra trouble and cut a nice strong dovetail there.  There are several ways to do it.  At least you don't have to deal with very high tension like on hammered dulcimer strings here.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 weeks ago
1,894 posts

Oh, I missed that part about the warped fretboard, you're right KenH.




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
2 weeks ago
653 posts

I think that if you cut a scarf join on a new fret board and the old fret board peg box you could make a joint strong enough to hold under the tension of dulcimer strings.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 weeks ago
1,826 posts

Yes, Lisa, but that's his "too warped to use" fretboard.  If that tuning head were cut off and screwed/glued into the head block (not the end of the new fretboard) it might work, but there would be a LOT of string tension/stress on a piece without the grain structure/strength to withstand that.  A scroll or flathead from Folkcraft designed for those stresses, would also be a more "elegant" solution.  


updated by @ken-hulme: 11/26/18 07:10:51AM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 weeks ago
1,894 posts

Unless I'm mistaken, I'm seeing the peghead 'box' area on the right, pre-made with slots and holes already drilled for the tuning geared pegs, which are also included in the bag.  Looks like a little noter is also included!  ;D




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 weeks ago
1,826 posts

Unless they have one of those old "extended fretboard is the tuning head" pieces, you are also going to have to buy and add something to hold the tuning machines.  A scroll head would probably be easiest because it's a single piece glued/screws into the headblock.  A flat "guitar style" head isn't much more difficult -- a piece of 1/2" plank for the flat head, and a piece of 1x2 for the brace underneath glued together.

I would call Folkcraft and explain what you've got, and ask them what they can do to help you put together a functioning dulcimer.  People like John and I have been building dulcimers for a long time, and can think of several solutions to your problems.  I know at least two other ways to make a tuning head, but they would involve autoharp tuning pegs, not the geared tuners you already have.  

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 weeks ago
239 posts

Dave, you could try contacting Folkcraft about getting a replacement fretboard.  When I received a McSpadden dulcimer kit in the mail once, it had a warped fretboard also, so I called them and told them what happened, and they sent me a replacement fretboard free of charge.  This might be a different situation, but it's worth a try.

If the warp is from side to side, and not from top to bottom, you still might be able to use it.  You could shave a little off each side to even it out, but it would of course end up narrower than before.

Dave D
Dave D
@dave-d
2 weeks ago
11 posts

I just picked up this vintage Folkcraft kit (~30 years old according to the seller). It's for a solid spruce top teardrop with mahogany side and mahogany plywood back.

The sides are only 1 3/8' tall, so it's thinner than the current Folkcraft kits. Most of the new kits also have a solid back and not the ply.

The bad news is that the fretboard is warped and unusable (see pic). I know that Folkcraft currently sells the same fretboard, but without the extra 4-5 inches for the tuning pegs). The other kit components are ok, and I suspect the spruce top would be very nice when finished.

Looking for advice on how to proceed. It it worth the trouble to solve the fretboard issue, or should I just pick up a newer kit if I want to try my hand at building one? 


updated by @dave-d: 11/25/18 03:58:20PM