Richard Sanabia’s
Chestnut Dulcimers
Where to start with these great pieces? How about a little history lesson!
There are still a few old-timers around who remember the American chestnut as it was before the
blight bug that decimated it.  They will tell you it was a fine lumber tree. Many of the old houses and
barns were made from chestnut. The rot-resistant chestnut logs were very popular as durable fence
posts and utility poles.  It was ideal for making split rail fences, since the straight-grained wood split
so easily and was more available than cedar or black locust, also rot-resistant trees, in many areas.  
The wood was also used as railroad ties and for furniture.
The American chestnut was a giant in the forest.  Chestnut trees were as large as 10 feet in
diameter and 100 feet tall.  Because of its size, it has been called the "Redwood" of the East.  
To get a sense of how impressive these trees were, just look at the old photo below that
shows humongous chestnut trees dwarfing the lumberjacks.
Ok, so on to the projects!
Hi Jessie, Here are some pictures of my first Cigar box style dulcimer. The top is made of
American Chestnut, long extinct in this country. The log it was cut from is 200 years old from an
old cabin that we dismantled deep in the east Tennessee mountains. Your pickups are the
BEST I have used, and I have tried them all. The dulcimer has a diatonic fretboard, with the stick
and peghead of Hickory, the fret board of walnut, and the boxes are topped with wormy Maple,
Chestnut, or other nice wood. The sides are Hickory, Poplar, Walnut, or the nicest woods I can
find. It is getting harder to find good cigar boxes, so i make my own, which are larger. The
dulcimer sounds great, especially with the pickup. Peace, Richard
If you would like more info about Richards projects,
Feel free to contact us!
Thanks Richard!!
Project #2
Coffin style dulcimer
Here is my latest old timey style dulcimer, with one of your amazing pickups. I have a little bit of
American Chestnut left. This wood is LONG gone from the Great Smokey Mountains. I made it very
heavy, with Hickory ends, and the long sides are of Chestnut. The sustain is truly wonderful.  It is a
joy to play. I don't believe any of the thin and light wood dulcimers can touch this one.  Your pickup
is the finishing touch on this instrument. Peace, Richard, in the East Tennessee Mtns.