I currently make a small range of simple folk zithers - epinettes and kanteles - to order. Standard models are an Epinette du Val d'Ajol with a 530mm scale length, and a 5 string Finnish kantele. Other sizes and string configurations are available to special order, and I hope to extend the range to include a scheitholt, 10 string kantele and Appalachian dulcimer in the coming months.
Wood choices for the epinette include:
Lime/poplar (or maple)
Tuning is by zither pins (geared tuners are an optional extra), with nuts and bridges of hornbeam or hard maple
Here are a couple of epinettes with geared tuners I made recently for Greg Gunner in the US:
First, a 530mm scale 5 string Val d'Ajol model in cedar and African mahogany -
Greg said - "The instrument looks and sounds great. The craftsmanship is superior. Thank you for making me such a fine instrument."
And one with a 680mm scale length (and a lovely deep voice - tuned an octave below the first) in spruce and walnut; closer to the Gérardmer style, this one has a triple strung melody course -
Greg said - "It's a beauty, and the slightly larger size produces a full, resonant sound. Added to the previously purchased and smaller Val d'Ajol model, I now have a nice set of your epinette des Vosges models. You make excellent instruments with a true scale, and the craftsmanship is a testament to your woodworking skills. All the best."
And for the kantele:
Walnut or lime/maple construction
Stainless steel string holder (varras) and zither pins for tuning. Traditional open-backed style, but using a built up frame rather than being hollowed out from a single piece of wood
Standard epinettes are available to buy from my Etsy shop here:
Or contact me direct for kanteles, special order epinettes & other types
Prices from £175