Involuntary Aesthetic Decisions

I put a lot of time into choosing which pieces of wood become a finished dulcimer. Sometimes I spend hours deciding which board (or boards) will provide the top, back peghead, fretboard, endblocks and sides for a particular dulcimer.

sorting wood in the attic

I am currently working on two walnut dulcimers. One is curly with beautiful red, brown and orange highlights, the other remarkably clear and straight grained. Both dulcimers are beautiful in their own way.

Yesterday I braced the backs, glued in the labels and glued the backs to the two walnut dulcimers.

This morning, after almost completing flush trimming the back  of one of the dulcimers I saw that I had put the curly back on the plain dulcimer and vice versa!

Here is an artist’s rendition of how I felt when I realized what I had done:

Artist's rendition of how I felt when I realized I had put the wrong back on a dulcimer

I checked to see if I could remove the backs  and put them on their originally intended dulcimers. The bodies were shaped slightly differently from each other and once trimmed the backs could not be switched .

Here is a lovely dancer performing an interpretive dance of how I felt in that moment:

Interpretive dance showing how I felt when I realized I could not do a dulcimer back transplant.

All is not lost though.

Both dulcimers look very nice and I am sure they will sound and play just as expected. They simply won’t look the way I had intended.

I thought I had enough coffee this morning. Oh well.

It's Too Bad Rusty Brains Don't Squeak!

10 thoughts on “Involuntary Aesthetic Decisions”

  1. Thanks Safiya. That’s well put. I did decide to replace the back on one of them. I started making it tonight. The other still works for me!

  2. Hi Cynthia,

    I’ll put them up as soon as they are finished. I’ve got several that are waiting for finishing and several more behind them under construction. I’m building up some stock for some festivals I;ll be going too.

    Luckily they came out very nice, just not as expected!

  3. Oh, Lordy! You are remarkably calm about this — must be all that meditation. I’m sure they are still beautiful in their own new & unintended ways but I bet you’d like to sell them and put it behind you! I hope neither was made for a specific person. And part of me really, really wants to see them!

  4. My first thought was OH NO! Then I laughed at the pictures, esp the train. Then in the ‘misery loves company’ category I thought, you mean I’m not the only one things like this happen too?? Thanks for sharing (and you too Lynn). I’m sure they are beautiful instruments just the same.

  5. Thanks Mary.
    I have a sort of collage of interesting pictures on my hard drive that I look through for various kinds of inspiration.
    Every now and them when I am writing the “Picture is worth a thousand words” concept makes a lot of sense!

  6. Thanks Lynn. There are mistakes that just seem to happen, sometimes producing unexpectedly pleasant results. Then there are the major “ooops! moments.

    Fortunately these dulcimers will be very nice, just not as planned. I sometimes have to remind myself that the eye of the beholder has a different perspective than the eye of the artist.

    At a recent festival the dulcimer that received the most attention visually was the one I found least attractive. I almost didn’t bring it to the show. It was on a table with 5 other dulcimers but it was the first one many people reached for.

    And it sounded as good as the rest of them.

    So it goes!

  7. Been there. Once I accidentally turned the toaster oven to 100 degrees too high, and totally burned a batch of polymer clay which was made by my goddaughter as Christmas presents for her parents.

    Once I sewed a Christmas shirt for a very special friend and sewed the collar on backward… and then trimmed the fabric down to almost a nub.

    Once I tried to sew something out of lovely fabric and cut it wrong. You can’t put fabric together any more than you can make 2 boards be one. Fabric is usually not as expensive as walnut, though.

    Whoever falls in love with the dulcimers, will fall in love with the dulcimers. It’s courageos of you to admit this out loud here.

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