The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Building a Hammered Dulcimer–Take 2

It’s a little sad that the last time I posted was almost two years ago, and now I’m posting a follow up to that post. When I built the hammered dulcimer a couple of years ago, there was a problem with the instrument that came up shortly after I built it. Basic gist is that the soundboard collapsed due to a structural failure. I combined two different sets of plans when I made that dulcimer. One of the plans said you could get good sound using 1/4 inch plywood for the soundboard, so I used that. What I failed to note was that the internal bracing for that set of plans was different from the bracing that I used from the other set of plans. The end result is that there wasn’t proper bracing beneath the bass bridge, the soundboard collapsed, and there was no way to salvage the instrument. I had spent too much time on it at the time to even think about rebuilding from scratch at that time, so it unfortunately went on the back burner for well over a year.

A few months ago I pulled that project back out and built a new hammered dulcimer for my daughter. It went much faster the second time around because I had learned a lot from the first time, and I have gotten better at woodworking since then.

Here are a few pictures of the end result. I am very pleased with how it turned out. In a nutshell, this is the most beautiful thing I have ever built from wood, and there isn’t a close second. There is a video below of me talking about the instrument and playing a couple of short segments (the beginning of Ode to Joy and the intro to Creed by Rich Mullins). No, I don’t actually know how to play it, but I can learn just enough to at least vaguely sound like the song.

The frame and internal bracing are all made from hard maple. The soundboard is mahogany, and the bridges and side pieces are from purpleheart. And yes, purpleheart is naturally purple. The whole thing got a thin coat of boiled linseed oil followed by multiple coats of lacquer.


November 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Building a Hammered Dulcimer

Back in November, my wife approached me about building something that our daughter asked for for Christmas…a hammered dulcimer. I enjoy woodworking, but building a musical instrument? That would be a stretch at best! Julie had found plans online, and pointed me towards them. After looking at it, I determined that from a woodworking standpoint, it’s basically building a box…a trapezoidal box. I can do that…and if the plans can help me precisely position the tuning pins/etc, then I could do it. Let the adventure begin!

For those who don’t know what a hammered dulcimer is, it is stringed instrument that is played by striking the strings with small wooden hammers. Our family first heard the instrument through the music of the late Rich Mullins. Here are a few links to some very talented musicians playing the instrument.

Throughout the build I took lots of pictures because I figured I would get around to writing this blog post about the build.

I took the plans from MusicMakers and then made some modifications to the frame design based on a post on the Smithsonian site by a famous dulcimer builder name Sam Rizzetta. The plans call for a simple 90 degree joint for the bottom corners. Sam uses a different joint on all four corners that is much stronger…as the strings provide tension, the joint can only get stronger. But that did involve figuring out the angles and how to best cut this without making mistakes.

Step one was to work with some scrap wood to figure out how to best go about doing the cuts before wasting the good wood. I started by just eyeballing the angles onto a scrap of plywood just to get it close.


What that helped me figure out is that if I planned it right, every single angle of the frame would be either a 30 degree or a 60 degree angle. That meant that as long as I dialed in my table saw blade perfectly on that angle…it could cut the entire frame by just changing the height of the blade. Continue reading

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Choose to Love

Lately I have been bothered by how our society has become so abrasive…so uncivil…so unloving. This has been percolating for over six months. On Sunday I filled in for my pastor who was out of town. The message I gave was addressing our need to both love God and love those around us.

One of the lessons in the parable of the Good Samaritan is that we are called to love those that we are put in contact with. This specifically includes people who are very different from us. Believe it or not, there was more animosity between Israelites and Samaritans than there is between Democrats and Republicans today.

We are called to show love to those around us. Our society has devolved to the point where it seems illogical that two people can disagree on a topic without one or the other believing that the other person hates them because they disagree. It doesn’t have to be this way. Just because we don’t agree on everything does not mean that hatred is the natural result. It is possible for us to disagree on topics (even very big topics) and still be civil to one another, to be friends…to even still show love to one another.

Honestly, it is easier to love those who are similar to us. Some of the people we are in contact with today will not be easy to love. And some will say the same of you and me. Many won’t return the gesture. We should choose to love anyway. Is this easy? No, sometimes love is really hard. And sometimes it requires God changing our hearts. But it is possible, and it is worth it.

One point that absolutely needs to be made. We cannot trust or expect that a change of this nature will come from the leadership in our country regardless of who wins this election. This kind of change starts in the hearts and minds of individuals. It starts in the hearts and minds of people like you and me.

We have a choice. Do we continue with this horrible status quo of our society or do we choose to make a change? Do we choose to love those with whom we disagree? You have a choice. I have a choice. We can choose to love. We won’t get it right all the time. We will mess up along the way. It will be hard. But it will also be worth it.

Join with me. Choose to change our society. Choose to love.

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another Windows 10 / OneDrive Issue

Yesterday Microsoft released the next build of Windows 10 to those of us in the public Tech Preview (fast group). Build 9879 has several changes that you can find in this blog post.

I kicked off the update to Build 9879 before heading out for a run late in the day. When I checked Twitter last night I was a bit nervous when I saw Rod Trent and Paul Thurrott commenting that there were issues with OneDrive. Paul’s comment was “OneDrive is borked”.

There really are two issues that I have seen. One is a feature change…that the “smart files” function has been removed…which I agree is a bad idea. Read more about that issue here. I can get around that because I sync all my files anyway. The bigger issue for me is that OneDrive simply would not sync. THAT is a significant issue…so I started digging around this morning and noticed some issues…and found what appears to be a workaround.

As I looked at the files that were not syncing, I noticed that they were all Microsoft Office files. If I had a folder that had something like a PDF file in it…that file would sync, but not Office docs. That triggered a memory. There is a “Use Office to sync files faster…” setting in OneDrive. This setting tells the OneDrive app to essentially pass off any change to an Office document to the  “Microsoft Office Upload Center” app for synchronizing. The Upload Center does the actual syncing for the Office docs. In general, this is a good setting for a number of reasons that I won’t go into in this post.

Apparently something related to that handoff between OneDrive and the Office Upload Center is broken. As long as that setting is not set, OneDrive is backing up all of my Office docs in addition to everything else that was already working. If that setting is set, then the OneDrive app stays in a perpetual “Processing changes” state.

To resolve the issue, right click on the OneDrive icon in the system tray, then uncheck the box next to that setting.


November 13, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MMS Bible Study Day 1

Great first day of the MMS Bible study. Good discussion around the idea of fellowship from 1 John 1:1-4. Some of my discussion notes are below. We will pick up with verses 5-10 tomorrow.

Notes re: what fellowship looks like…
Communication…two way

Safety…being able to talk about failings…not being perfect…being able to let your guard down


Marriage …that level of vulnerability


Similar to a small group…living life together

April 8, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

IP Subnet Boundaries = Evil

I saw Jason’s post on this, and had to agree…IP Subnet Boundaries in Configuration Manager are indeed evil. Use IP Range boundaries instead!

Definitely check out Jason’s post for full info.

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Interview with Sherry Kissinger

sherry Last year I had the idea to start a series of interviews with various people in the Microsoft management space. The concept was to have a personal interview with people that we all know because of their contributions to the online management community. The interviews are designed to allow others in the management space to get to know the personal side of the technology person. The first one that I interviewed last year was Wally Mead. Had a fun time sitting down with him while he was taking a break from TechEd.

While at MMS in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with the MOF Master herself, the one and only Sherry Kissinger. Sherry is a ConfigMgr MVP who works for Wells Fargo and is widely known as a expert in getting the most out of the ConfigMgr inventory by making modifications to the sms_def.mof file. Continuing the interview series, here is the conversation I had with Sherry.

Note: the player below requires Adobe Flash. If you don’t have Flash, you won’t see the player.

May 12, 2009 Posted by | interviews, Uncategorized | 4 Comments


On Tuesday of this week an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy was struck by a hit and run driver. He died from those injuries last night. His name was Michael Callin. He was 26 years old. He was the brother-in-law of one of my friends.

The early indications are that this driver intentionally swerved to hit the officer. The driver, Allan Barahona, has a rap sheet a mile long. Other passengers in the car told authorities that he intentionally hit the officer…because he didn’t want to be arrested.

What does this have to do with immigration? According to the news this morning, Barahona is an illegal alien. He is in this country illegaly. Aside from violating the laws of this country by simply being here illegally, he has also continued to prove that he cares nothing for the laws of this country evidenced by his rap sheet.

WHY IS HE STILL IN THIS COUNTRY????????? This kind of junk infuriates me. We have laws for this. Why are they not being enforced? He is an illegal alien. DEPORT HIM!!! If he is deported…he doesn’t have the opportunity to violate the other laws…or kill our deputies.

My quick and dirty solution:

1. Harden the borders…ASAP. Make is so that as much as we are able…you don’t get into this country unless you are supposed to get in.

2. Deport all illegal aliens. No discussion, no second chances. If you are here illegally…you are gone. Period.

3. Streamline the process for legal immigration. Make it a desirable process.

August 3, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment


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