Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 182, October 2020Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Here's My Woodworking!
By Jim Tackett
Lexington, KY


When I was about 14 or 15 years old I was learning to play chess. My dad gave me a nice wooden set of chess pieces that I still cherish. I really liked those little carved pieces of wood but the regular checker/chess board with all the black and red squares was boring. I decided I had to do something about that.

In our basement I found some scrap 1 x 2’s and some 1⁄4 inch plywood and went to work. I built a 12 x 12 x 1 inch box with a padded interior (green velvet) and elastic straps (from my mother's sewing kit) to hold the pieces in place. I topped it off with a hinged lid with the new board on top, but no squares. My new chess board had circles in place of those boring squares. I thought it was great but it drove my friends crazy. In the following years I made boxes, chests and other minor objects.

My first foray into serious woodworking began after I encountered some ladies playing the mountain dulcimer at a folk music festival. I had no idea what it was but I liked the sound and I liked the instrument itself and decided I had to have one. With some research I found a gentleman about 40 miles from my home who was building dulcimers. He was very gracious and willing to share information with a curious youngster. As we parted, he gifted me a pattern he no longer used. It now proudly hangs on a wall in my computer room.
For many years, through constant study and experimentation, I’ve concentrated on building high quality mountain dulcimers using cherry, walnut, maple, butternut and other wood species indigenous to the Appalachian Mountains where the mountain dulcimer was born.
Part of my dulcimer-making process is shown in pictures below:

Beginning to cut wooden pear log to square.

Resawing the log.

First slice off a pear log.

Beginning stages inside of a walnut dulcimer.

Walnut dulcimer in clamps.


Jim can be reached by email at info@jimtackett.net.

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