What's the best thing to use to condition my old all black walnut dulcimer?

Richard Streib
@richard-streib
5 months ago
35 posts

Maria,

I replaced my tuners on the Walnut Valley with 5 star geared tuners. Now no problem keeping it in tune. It is an amazing instrument. I have several dulcimers, but doubt I would ever consider selling it.

Blessings to you.

Richard

Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 months ago
434 posts

You can do a Google search for discussions on this topic.  Everybody has an opinion!  From Elderly Music Co. website (not where I got mine, but I thought the blurb was helpful):

Dr.Ducks Ax Wax - Elderly Instruments





www.elderly.com/dr-ducks-ax-wax.htm


Works on all instruments. Contains no wax, no abrasives, no silicones, and no synthetics. A very safe polish.




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
9 months ago
434 posts

I use Dr. Ducks Ax Wax.  This is for cleaning...I'm not sure about conditioning.  I bought an 8 oz bottle online and it may last me a lifetime!  There are a variety of opinions on this issue.  Some people treat it like furniture and use Pledge furniture polish. 

I think you have to know about the finish on your dulcimer to decide what sorts of stuff to use on it.  Whatever you use, test it on an inconspicuous spot and put it on a soft cloth, not directly on the instrument.  

Sorry I can't be of more help.




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
9 months ago
108 posts

Richard Streib:

Late in this discussion. I have a dulcimer made by the Walnut Valley Dulcimer Company, the 3rd one made in 1993 by L D Sacks. Mine looks like yours and is noted to be a Wildwood Mountain model. It still sounds good and has held up well all these years. It was my first mountain dulcimer. I saw the company represented at Epcot in 1991 picked up the brochure and ordered in late 1992 with delivery in 1993.

hey that's pretty cool...and yes I think they were made pretty well to last so long!! I still play mine when I have the time to "tune it" that's the only part I don't like...they slip!

Maria

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
9 months ago
108 posts

Deb M:

I've heard good things about Old Master violin polish (not to be confused with Old Masters, a brand of polish for furniture and woodwork.) I have yet to find it locally, but will order online and give it a try.

cool Thanks!!

Maria

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
9 months ago
108 posts

Dusty Turtle:

On my dulcimers that don't have a laquered finish, I use Howard's Feed n Wax.  I learned of the product from a video by Bing Futch.  It works on the body and fretboard.  It won't hurt a laquered finish, but it won't be too effective either.  It's easy to find at most hardware or home improvement stores.

I'll have to look into that..thanks!! 
Maria

Dusty Turtle
@dusty-turtle
11 months ago
920 posts

On my dulcimers that don't have a laquered finish, I use Howard's Feed n Wax.  I learned of the product from a video by Bing Futch.  It works on the body and fretboard.  It won't hurt a laquered finish, but it won't be too effective either.  It's easy to find at most hardware or home improvement stores.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

Ain't no money in poetry; that's what sets the poet free.
I've had all the freedom I can stand.
-- Guy Clark

updated by @dusty-turtle: 11/09/16 02:18:59AM
Deb M
@deb-m
11 months ago
5 posts

I've heard good things about Old Master violin polish (not to be confused with Old Masters, a brand of polish for furniture and woodwork.) I have yet to find it locally, but will order online and give it a try.

Richard Streib
@richard-streib
last year
35 posts

Late in this discussion. I have a dulcimer made by the Walnut Valley Dulcimer Company, the 3rd one made in 1993 by L D Sacks. Mine looks like yours and is noted to be a Wildwood Mountain model. It still sounds good and has held up well all these years. It was my first mountain dulcimer. I saw the company represented at Epcot in 1991 picked up the brochure and ordered in late 1992 with delivery in 1993.

john warren
@john-warren
last year
22 posts

i like johnson paste wax

 

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
2 years ago
108 posts

Ken Longfield:
Maria, you shouldn't have any problem with the Lemon Oil. I disagree with Bob on the use of Pledge or any polish that contains silicone. It can cause problems with trying to match the finish if a repair is needed. Just speaking from experience. Stick with polishes made for instruments. Ken "The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

 

Thanks Ken,

Yeah I figured I would stick with a product made for a wooden instrument!! 

I just remember as a child doing my "chores" and we always had to use pledge on the bedroom set furniture and it has like this waxy build up now ( I recently was given my mom and dad's bedroom set after my mom passed and noticed that and remembered what we used!!)

take care and thanks

Maria

Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
2 years ago
527 posts

Maria, you shouldn't have any problem with the Lemon Oil. I disagree with Bob on the use of Pledge or any polish that contains silicone. It can cause problems with trying to match the finish if a repair is needed. Just speaking from experience. Stick with polishes made for instruments.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
2 years ago
108 posts

Okay so this is good information. Thank you.

I ordered this: from musician's friend ebay store: Dunlop Fretboard 65 Ultimate Lemon Oil

it was free shipping and less then 4.00 and it gets good reviews

I will try that on the fretboard and see what happens etc...and then perhaps the other advice on the wood or maybe even try a spot that's not conspicious and use it for the wood. I will know more when I receive it and read the label.

Thanks again

Maria

Joe Robison
@joe-robison
2 years ago
38 posts

In case the fretboard has a different finish than the rest of the instrument, I would use walnut oil from the salad oil shelf of your supermarket.  I do not varnish or lacquer my fretboards. I use only walnut oil as it is a drying oil similar to tung oil and does not build up on wood if applied and wiped with a dry cloth.  However, it might build up on your strings so I am careful not to get it on strings.   I use baby oil on strings and to freshen up fretboards.  Baby oil will not dry and must be wiped clean.  I understand that it is mostly mineral oil with fragrance added.  Just a note about drying oils.  All excess oil should be wiped off or you will end up with a sticky residue.


updated by @joe-robison: 12/16/15 03:01:03PM
Bob Reinsel
@bob-reinsel
2 years ago
102 posts

Although it is hard to tell from the photos, the fret board and body may have been finished differently from the body.  If the fret board looks a lot less shiny than the rest of the instrument, then this is probably the case.  For everything but the fret board you are probably OK with a guitar polish, or believe it or not, Pledge furniture polish.  I would try a small spot first to make sure.  Not knowing what is on the fret board, I would probably apply a light coat of lemon oil to it.  I use Old English lemon oil.




--
Bob
Site Moderator

The greatest music is made for love, not for money -- Greg Lake
Joe Robison
@joe-robison
2 years ago
38 posts

I keep two colors of high quality wax on hand for use on my dulcimers.  One is dark brown  and one is neutral.  I put a coat on all of my new builds and use it to freshen up older instruments.  A good choice that is easy to get is shoe wax in a matching color.

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
2 years ago
108 posts

Ken Hulme:
As the others say , we really need to know what the original finish was -- oil, urethane, shellac, etc.   FWIW, Lemon oil can be used on ANY wood, not just lemon wood   Brand doesn't matter, contents do -- you want a lemon oil where the lemon oil itself is the predominant ingredient.

so basically no matter what finish it is the lemon wood WON'T HURT it right??

If that's the case then I will get that. 

Thanks

Maria

Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
2 years ago
1,522 posts

As the others say , we really need to know what the original finish was -- oil, urethane, shellac, etc.   FWIW, Lemon oil can be used on ANY wood, not just lemon wood <grin>  Brand doesn't matter, contents do -- you want a lemon oil where the lemon oil itself is the predominant ingredient.

Rob N Lackey
@rob-n-lackey
2 years ago
453 posts

I use Martin Guitar polish on my dulcimers.  Seems to work well.

 

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
2 years ago
108 posts

it won't let me delete the duplicate picture sorry

 

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
2 years ago
108 posts

oh wow...I don't know. I do know it was made by Jack Bruner who owned the Walnut Valley Dulcimer Company. It's all solid black walnut and it was the 86th dulcimer made in 1989. I believe the owner of mine actually bought it new in Epcot from the owner.

Thanks so much

Maria

here are some pictures

 

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updated by @sleepingangel: 12/15/15 06:42:36PM
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
2 years ago
160 posts

Is it a painted finish? Or stain, or oxidation?  Who was the builder?

Dan
@dan
2 years ago
78 posts

Maria, different finishes require different conditioning. Do you know what your dulcimer is finished with?

 

DAN

www.dulcimore.com

sleepingangel
@sleepingangel
2 years ago
108 posts

Hi,

I noticed today when I was playing in the sun (hard to believe it's Dec 15th in NY) that the wood has some areas where it looks dry.

This is the all black walnut dulcimer I bought used. The owner's son had it in a box (original box btw) for the last 20 years.

Thanks so much. 

I've heard lemon oil ( I think it was Marc Matthieu) but I don't know what kind to get brand etc...and can that be used on walnut

 

Thanks so much

Maria


updated by @sleepingangel: 06/08/16 09:24:05PM