The Making of Lutes

Downtown Hindman
Downtown Hindman

During our travels, which took us through Kentucky, we stopped in Hindman, a small town near the Eastern side of the state in the Appalachian Mountains.  It was after 6, but a sign said Appalachian Artisan Center and maybe we could find some unique trinket to bring home.

As we pulled into town, it was deserted with a spattering of traffic here and there.  It was dinner time and all the shops were closed as everyone had gone to their home in the hills.

We drove about a half a mile and saw a shop with dulcimers in the window and the lights were on.  After finding a place to turn around we went back and parked across the street.

Appalachian Artisan Center Wood Shop.
Appalachian Artisan Center Wood Shop.

The sign on the door said, “Appalachian Artisan Center Wood Shop, Open to the Public“.  So we went in.

Inside we met Douglas Naselroad who is a Luthier, a builder of stringed instruments and the instructor who teaches people to build guitars, mandolins, and dulcimers.  Mr. Naselroad was extremely gracious with his time and knowledge. Not only did he give us free access to the studio, but gave us a personal tour of both the studio and historic instruments on display.

Raw Materials
Raw Materials

Their work begins with logs, some of which have been gathered from the nearby mountains. They then go through the process of building their instruments using both power and hand tools.  I did notice they use the same glue as I use in my shop.

The sides of the instrument are glued and put in a mold while the glue cures.

The Side of A Ukulele in a Mold
The Side of A Ukulele in a Mold

The Neck of a Ukulele being Assembled

The Neck of a Ukulele being Assembled

Dulcimer ready to have the Bridge, Frets and Tuners added

Dulcimer ready to have the Bridge, Frets and Tuners added

An Almost Finished Dulcimer
An Almost Finished Dulcimer

It was an incredible experience and not only can Mr. Naselroad build these charming instruments, he also played a little “Take Me Home Country Roads” on a dulcimer when he heard we were heading to West Virginia.

I just am enamored with the sound of a well played mountain dulcimer.

Appalachian Artisan Center
16 West Main Street
Hindman, KY 41822

www.artisancenter.net

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