I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Instead of crawling the mall or online shopping, I spent my Black Friday cleaning up the new-to-me dulcimer. The top had separated from the sides a little, and there was a small crack in the headstock, so repairs were in order. With that done, I went on to the clean up process. It was really gunky but cleaned up great. I ended up making a new nut from one that came from a mandolin and adjusting the bridge. It put me right where I need to be.
The only problem I see now is that the frets are quite skinny (sorry no measurement here, but I'm familiar with fret size on mandolins and guitars and can tell relative size). I am wondering if I should try to replace the frets with something a bit larger. The frets also seem to be well worn and probably need to be replaced anyway.
The tuners were stiff and super gunky. I cleaned the buttons, cleaned the gears and posts, and oiled the gears. The tuners now turn smoothly and hold the tuning well. I'm pleased that they did work out okay since I figured I'd have to replace them.
After cleaning it all up, I researched wood and think it is made of honduran mahogany with a walnut fingerboard, and after further inspection think it may be solid wood. The strings that were installed on the dulcimer were apparently guitar strings that were way too hefty for this 31 -inch instrument. I put on some d'Addario dulcimer strings tuned DAA, and now it has a resonant and mellow tone.
For a free dulcimer I can't be more pleased. Now to learn how to play it. I ordered a couple of Mel Bay books and will start on the learning process in the next few days.
Thanks for your insight and assistance with this. You got me on the right track.
updated by @robinnc: 11/30/19 11:00:00AM