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Canarywood Runs Red

April 5, 2024
Good Morning, Y'all!
This has been a great week for dulcimer building. Dad, Casey, and Cheyenne have been working in the shop, and Pam in the sewing room, so we've been highly productive. I've spent my time this week lounging around on the beach, enjoying the sun and a chilled beverage, as usual. (And most of Y'all know that that last sentence was entirely a fabrication - our shop is in Northern Indiana. We have no beaches here, and for the past few weeks very little sun. It is too wet and sloppy to even work in the garden right now, so once we DO get some dry weather, it'll be a scramble to get the soil prepared for vegetable planting in a few weeks...)
Last week we opened up the Folkcraft DulciVox for ordering and it has been going very well - you're going to see a lot of our new model dulcimer on players' laps in the coming months. In case you missed it last week, here's a demonstration video, and here are the links for this instrument at
Today is the LAST day for the 60% fare discount on next February's Castaway Music Cruise. After today, you'll be subject to all the (annoying and unpredictable) fare discounts that Norwegian Cruise Lines offers its potential passengers. I'll suggest that you sign up for the classes first ($299) since that's the limiting factor (we have a maximum class capacity of about 30 people) and then sign up for your cabin second. Registration for the music portion, and contact information for the cruise portion, are at the website.
And in the shop this week? I got you some photos of a canarywood side-set that Cheyenne bent yesterday afternoon. This wood finishes out to a pale yellow, and has a tone remarkably similar to East Indian rosewood. But unlike rosewood, this comes to us from Central America, and doesn't have any governmental restrictions on harvest/export/import, so it is much less expensive. I mentioned "pale yellow," right? Check out what happened when this lumber was heated in our side bender:

Outside of side-set. The hole is where we'll mount the Fishman preamp after the dulcimer is fully lacquered.
The streaks of red, and the big, huge blotches of red (lower right) weren't there before the wood was heated. I'd guess there was a pocket of sap (bright red sap!) that when heated, leaked all over the sides. It went through to both sides of the lumber, and even stained our side bender!

Inside of the side-set

Lower half of the side bender

Upper half of the side bender

The "sap" wasn't at all sticky - the side bender cured it to a glassy hardness. Cheyenne cleaned up the lumber with sandpaper. It came off just fine and looks normal again. The side bender, with the sheets of stainless steel? A razor blade/scraping tool made short work of the red blotches there, too.

So no catastrophe or anything, but this was something I hadn't run into before.
Kind of fun, what I learn even after making so many dulcimers in the Folkcraft shop!
Thanks for reading, Y'all - have a great weekend!

Richard Ash, luthier-who-was-worried-that-there-had-been-a-shop-injury-when-he-first-saw-the-red-marks-on-the-Canarywood