Making a case for the Stick Dulcimer
Michael J King
You cannot go into a shop and buy a case for Stick Dulcimer so making a custom fit box yourself is a great solution. This method is the way I have simplified the construction to be strong and quick to assemble. I select pine wood either shop bought ready cut to size, or adapt or recycle timber I have.
Case measurements in cm, but please adjust to fit your own instruments 2.5 95
The thickness I have used is 15mm throughout for the sides, this gives enough thickness for the screws to hold onto. If you use hardwood you can make it from thinner wood and adjust the sizes accordingly. I begin by preparing several lengths of each size, these are planed at the same time so they are all the same sizes, the box top is 2.5cm by 1.5cm in section and the case bottom 4.5cm by 1.5cm,
Before cutting double check your sizes, lay out your instrument on a piece of paper and draw your case sides around it allowing for the 1cm foam and fabric.
I use titebond liquid hide glue to temporary glue the base to the lid while we build the box, I do this by soaking brown paper in watered down glue and clamping the top to the bottom. Animal glue when watered down will easily come apart later with moisture and a butter knife.
Once dry I then measure carefully and cut out the sides and the ends, I then mark out the places the dowels will go on each of the ends, I pre-drill these then use the â€œmiller dowelsâ€? to hold the sides to the end. (normal dowels will also work but not as easy) I glue and clamp in one go.
(note the paper used to glue the top and bottom and the holes in this picture)
Clamping while dowelling....
Once dried I glue on the plywood with normal titebond 3 or 4mm plywood to the top and bottom using masking tape, it also helps if you can weight the box down to keep flat. Once dried I use a router to chamfer the edges using a round over bit, you can do this by sanding too. In any case you then need to sand the box all over and fill any holes with wood filler.
At this stage I apply a sanding sealer and then normally paint the box with either a satinwood paint or use a spray paint.
When the paint is dry I attach case fittings, two latches, handle and 2 hinges. This is to save time and ensure the two halves when parted close in the right place.
The latches and hinges are symmetrically arranged
I then use a butter knife and hot water to part the box, taking care not to damage the timber.
Once parted the paper is cleaned off the warm water and the inside edges can also be painted.
I cut 10mm camping mat foam to fit, leaving a gap for the fabric. The fabric is attached with double sided tape then glued into position
I place the instrument inside now to work out the shape and size of the neck holder, this is made of wood lined with the 10mm foam and covered with fabric. Think about keeping the instrument from rattling and sliding around but not too tight that the case crushes it.
When the instrument is fitted I make a small case box inside with a flap lid for strings and small items.
Please feel free to ask if you have any questions!