Robert Smith was born in 1935 and raised on a farm, where he became familiar with hand tools at a very young age. He worked for 42 years as a builder. In his leisure time, he crafted Shaker furniture, dollhouse furniture, musical instruments, and played stringed instruments.
Smith makes mountain dulcimers in the traditional manner, mostly with hand tools and using wood from trees native to Pennsylvania, including bird cherry, sugar maple, black walnut, and white poplar. Although there are no industry standards, Smith adheres to the traditional teardrop and hourglass configurations. He leaves the wood in its natural state, 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. He markets his dulcimers from his shop in York County, Pennsylvania, and attends juried shows in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. He is a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Yorktowne Chapter. He also enjoys entertaining at senior centers, nursing homes, and churches in his local area.