Robert Smith was born in 1935, raised on a farm, and by this became familiar with hand tools at a very young age. Smith worked 42 years as a builder.
As a long-time hobby, he made Shaker furniture, dollhouse furniture, musical instruments, and played stringed instruments as far back as he can remember. Smith makes mountain dulcimers in the old traditional manner, mostly with hand tools and using wood from trees native to Pennsylvania (bird cherry, sugar maple, black walnut, white poplar and such).
Although there are no industry standards, Smith adheres to the traditional teardrop and hourglass configurations. Smith does not load the wood down with fillers and stains but leaves it natural, highlighting the beauty of the grain with a mixture of turpentine and linseed oil, much as it was done 100 years ago.
Since his retirement, Smith has made more than 250 dulcimers and has been blessed to receive numerous awards, ribbons, and citations from fairs, show houses, and such. Smith markets his dulcimers from his shop in York County, Pennsylvania, and also attends juried shows in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Smith is a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Yorktowne Chapter. Smith also enjoys entertaining at senior centers, nursing homes, and churches in his local area.