bowed instrument hard cases

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Nic Hambas
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Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:34 pm

bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Nic Hambas »

I make bowed dulcimers and I need to find a source for ready-made hard cases. I have searched the internet up and down for a simple but, alas, elusive answer: what is the total dimension -- tip to toes total, not just body length -- of a 1/2 size cello or a large viola case. I get tons of charts but never a simple answer. My dulcimers are 36"long; 9" wide; and 6" thick from the back to the top of the bridge. Any ideas?

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Bob Gramann
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Re: bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Bob Gramann »

If they look like the dulcimers that I am used to seeing, it sounds like a rectangular case fitted to the instument with cut foam padding would be perfect. If you're not willing to make them, could you get a local cabinet maker to build you a batch?

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Bryan Bear
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Re: bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Bryan Bear »

I'm not gong to be much help on the case question but I am really interested to see some pictures of these bowed dulcimers and hear about what you do differently when making them for bowing. Whenever I bow an instrument that is not a "bowed instrument" it sounds terrible.

As for the cases, have you considered looking at cases made for other items? You could custom fit foam/upholstery to the interior. I'm thinking maybe shotgun cases or other sporting equipment. . .
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

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Jim McConkey
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Re: bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Jim McConkey »

Please limit this discussion to cases, and start a new discussion on bowed dulcimers themselves. That is the next project on my plate, but my shop got destroyed in February by a flood and it's still not back together yet.

Welcome back, Nic! Since there is no "standard" bowed dulcimer shape or size, I'm not sure there are any specific cases. Does Ken Bloom offer any for his? TKL has hard dulcimer cases, but they are too narrow and too shallow for yours.
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Nic Hambas
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Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:34 pm

Re: bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Nic Hambas »

IMG_2869 3.jpg
Here's how my basic bowed dulcimer looks like. The dimensions are in my previous post. I have already made a wooden case that weighs a ton, but I'm still hoping for something a bit lighter and more elegant than a crate with a handle.

Chet Bishop
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Re: bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Chet Bishop »

You could undoubtedly handcraft one of heavy foam (styrofoam or similar) available from the Home Depot or some other building supply house. It comes in a variety of thicknesses, is very stiff and very light. My suggestion would be to get a sheet of the 2" stock, and laminate it to the thickness you need, using titebond glue; cut the appropriate recesses for the instrument and bow, etc., and add a lid and back, of thinner foam. You can pad the inside with thin soft foam and fabric.

If you want, you can put wood veneer or leather, maybe dacron or something similar, on the outside, to make it pretty, add latches (or a zipper and velcro closures) and a handle etc. The "hinges" can be fabric. The cost in materials would be very low-- certainly less than $50. The time would be what you make of it.
Chet Bishop
Violin-family instruments
Forest Grove, Oregon

Paul E Buerk
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Re: bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Paul E Buerk »

I'd recommend building your own road cases. You can get all the extrusions and parts online, and there's not much to building them. After having built a few traditional guitar cases, I'm inclined to never do it again, and the cost to build a road case is comparable to what it takes to build a more traditional case.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: bowed instrument hard cases

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

" I have already made a wooden case that weighs a ton, but I'm still hoping for something a bit lighter and more elegant than a crate with a handle."

The problem I've found with many home made cases is that people build them too heavy. I have copied some of the old "coffin cases" guitars and fiddles used. They were built with 1/2 inch pine or poplar sides and thin plates top and bottom (I use 1/8th inch (3mm) plywood). These cases are reasonably strong, especially if you put a slight arch in the top. They can be snapped together pretty quickly with titebond and a brad nailer. I line them with velvet covered corrugated cardboard, which gives some padding without adding too much bulk. Some of the originals used paper glued to the insides.
Strength -wise I wouldn't rate them with a "road case", most of which are very heavy, but for giving protection from the environment and typical bumps and scrapes they work fine.

P.S. - Very mice looking dulcimer!

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