My biggest concern in finishing the dulcimer was sealing the Cocobolo. I’d read that the oils in the wood along with it’s natural density made finishing difficult. Again turning to online forums, people typically recommended sealing the oils in first under a couple coats of shellac before applying your finish of choice.
Though I own (and love) an Earlex HVLP gun, for environmental/cleanup issues I use it for waterborne finishes only. The dulcimer is small enough that “rattle can” shellac seemed the obvious choice here. Several layers of lacquer was applied over the initial two shots of shellac. And then I waited.
For last year’s electric guitar build, I knew I’d need to use TimberMate to fill the deep, open grain of the Ash in order to get a smooth flat final finish. I’d assumed that this step wouldn’t be necessary with the Cocobolo. The grain seemed much tighter – especially after hand scraping the surface. A couple shots of lacquer proved this theory wrong. The grain lines and recesses were definitely visible and made for a less-than-glass-smooth surface.
I sanded a bit but in the end decided I wanted to move on (guitar!) and could live with the “grainy” finish – it still looked beautiful and perhaps some day I can use this as a test piece to improve my finish work.
While it was curing, I cut the nut and bridge from my “sample” block of white Corian and found some decent brass round-head nails to use for the string
And at last a chance to try it out: