"out to sea" -- I hope that means you're on a boat someplace, not floundering elsewise!
Jill -- John's tuning pegs work very smoothly. I've had one of his Thomas replicas for quite a few years, with no problems. Every year or so I put a couple drops of Peg Dope on the shaft of each peg.
I have this poplar Thomas dulcimer reproduction for sale now. I built it in the winter of 2019. The price is $440 plus shipping. Remember that this is for noter/drone playing only-- you note the first string only, and the other 2 strings drone the accompaniment. It has walnut carved tuning pegs, just so you know.