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Old Sandpaper Box

March 10, 2023

Good Morning, Y'all!

I had someone actually call me out on using "y'all" in an earlier newsletter. Born in Michigan, lived in a few northern states (Ohio, Montana, Indiana) since 1981...

But I spent most of my grade school - and high school years - in Arkansas. So my "y'all" is legit, y'all, not an affectation. So there!

I talk about Folkcraft's history quite a bit. I'm enthralled with what Folkcraft founder David Marks was able to do - starting a company from scratch (in his garage) back in the early 70s. We have tools and fixtures, dating to that period, which we still use here every day.

Here's a tool from a while back - 25 years ago - which I just "retired" earlier this week. This tool is made of corrugated paper and held a nice protective layer of sawdust in its depths.

old box full of rolled up sandpaper

It is just a cardboard box, but it seems to fit the "If you can't make something better, leave it alone" philosophy. This box did a remarkable job holding various-sized cylinders of sandpaper. For 25 years!

How do I know this? Look closely at this photo of the side of the box:

folkcraft address on side of old cardboard box

This box was mailed from Helen, Georgia, to the Folkcraft shop in Winsted, Connecticut. In October, 1998 - according to the postage label. 
Yes, it is an old box. But most of us have older boxes in our attics and garages. This box, though, stood the test of time, with daily use in a working wood shop.
Yesterday's UPS delivery brought me a 1992 Folkcraft dulcimer for some maintenance. It's 31 years old, but still in great shape. It just needed some new frets and a bit of minor TLC to play like new again. 
There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a tool, box, or dulcimer until it can't be used any more. I often sell unused tools that are too good to throw away and don't hesitate to put a box in the dumpster. But an older dulcimer? Definitely keep it going!
New dulcimers have some benefits - generally more power and projection, fresh and shiny finishes, modern pickup systems. But the older instruments have their charm, too.
What's your oldest dulcimer? Not one hanging on the wall, but one which you still use? Tell us about it, and I'll feature an instrument or two in next week's newsletter! (a photo would be great, to go along with any stories your old dulcimer can tell...)
Thanks for reading, y'all - have a great weekend!
Richard Ash, luthier-who-enjoys-working-with-old-tools