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Double-necked Dulcimer

Q: I posted a thread on Everything Dulcimer this evening.
If you would, I'd sure like to have you take a look at it.
It concerns a double-necked dulcimer I bought that has
a damaged head. I posted a link there to about 20 photos
that are stored in Photobucket. Some of them are close-ups
that give you a pretty good look at the damage. Your assessment
would be helpful to me in deciding what to do about it.
The post is under the category of "Playing Mountain Dulcimers",
Some of you know that I recently won a double-neck dulcimer on Ebay. It was said to have a 'cracked' neck, and photos gave us a glimpse of it.
I received it yesterday, and hurried to take some photos today so I could show those of you who are interested, and especially those of you who build/repair dulcimers. I would like to get your assessment as to the possible repair of the damage, and your thoughts on the best way to go about repairing it, in your opinion.
Frets are not very well done. Some stick out over the edge of the fretboard, and snag your finger or thumb if you fret as I do. Some seem to be a little too high (only a slight buzz), even though the fretboard, itself, seems to be straight. Frets may need to be completely redone to be right.
The walls of the peg head are 1/4" thick. I have wondered if it might be possible to glue a thin piece of wood on the inside of the walls to give some support to the repaired cracks. The crack was caused by a pretty heavy blow to one or two of the tuning pegs on one side. The pegs were driven so far into the hole, that it split the wood. It was suggested that it would be a good idea to replace the tapered pegs with mechanical tuners, in order to prevent a repeat. I had thought of planetary tuners (no screws required) (I like the looks of the straight kind) and possibly using dark knobs (rosewood?) to blend in with the appearance of the instrument. If I am correct, most of the planetary tuners will handle a wall of 5/16" thickness. That wouldn't allow for much of a support piece, with the walls already at 1/4". Just some thoughts. I'll need to rely on input from those of you with the ability to build these beautiful instruments, as I sure don't have the knowledge.
At any she is. Take a look, and give me your feedback, please. (I tried to put the photos in a progressive, logical sequence, but now it looks like they've been in the blender.)

View Photos

Thank you,
Bill - Tulsa, Oklahoma

A: A good glue joint is as strong as the wood. You do not need to worry about reinforcing with a backing. Your big problem is that there is wood missing. Someone will need to match and fit some new wood. The very best job possible would make the patch "not noticeable." Invisible is impossible. 
    Banjo tuners would be fine, replacing the violin pegs would be fine. The strength of the head is not an issue. The amount of stress that broke it in the first place will break it again. The new glue will hold and it will break somewhere else. Just avoid dropping it, slamming it in a car door, using it as a weapon etc. 
    A fun thing to look at might be Perfection Pegs. These are made for violins, and look like ebony violin tuners, but they have planetary gears in them. They would give you the ebony peg look with a banjo peg function. But, here is a cold truth: it is very difficult to tune a steel string with a 1/1 gear ratio peg. Perfection Pegs have a 3/1 ratio, banjo pegs have a 4/1 ratio, but on guitar tuners you can get a ratio of up to 16/1. It is vastly easier to tune with the lower gear ratio pegs. Note too that all guitar tuners are "right angle" and need a very specific measurement from the hole to the edge of the box to allow clearance. You have a classic dilemma. Your dulcimer is a piece of art, and a musical instrument. Do you go for continuity of design or functionality?
    Probably all of the complaints about the frets will be addressed by an "action set". You could need a few frets replaced or even to have the fingerboards planed and refretted. These are all common jobs and any professional luthier will be able to handle them for you.
Steve Mason

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