Friday, September 29, 2006

LEGO harpsichord

Click here to see a harpsichord built entirely with LEGO parts!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Here is a photo showing the 4' nut clamped in place. Whether gluing on a nut, a sharp, or the soundboard, the builders must gauge how much glue to use--too little and the bond will be weak; too much and they will have a lot of cleaning up to do as the glue oozes out the sides.

Paul continues to work on the keys. Here he is filing off the slight excess on the sides of the arcades.

Attaching the sharps goes fairly quickly. Again, with just the right amoung of glue, Angela positions the sharps onto the key levers. Once the glue has dried, the sides will be cleaned up as needed. The lower manual is nearing completion!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Class 9/27

Roman filling a bucket of water for the purpose of washing excess glue from the wrestplank.

The water is scalding hot!

Angela preparing to glue on sharps.

Class 9/27

John shows the keyboard team how to apply the sharp blocks. (Paul is holding a light below the keyboard so that John can make sure the sharp block is properly centered.)

The case team (here converted to the wrest plank team!) prepares to glue the nuts in place.

Elizabeth and Karen adjust the 4' nut.

John checks the alignment of the sharp blocks. We had followed the instructions to score a line along the back of the sharp before gluing it on, but we ended up with uneven front alignment. Since the glue hadn't set yet, John just popped off a few of the keys and I glued them back in place using the front ruler as a guide instead.

Today we also looked at real cow-hide glue (like my namesake would have used in the 1580's!) and discussed what we should engrave on the rose before we gild it.


Instructions to Keyboard People, week of 9/20.

I noticed that the arcades for the upper manual were slightly shorter than the keys - is that on purpose?

The sharps!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Here are some photos showing the rose hole being cut with a shop-made hole cutter. The hole did end up a bit large, but I have added a band of organ pipe metal around the edge of the rose to make up the difference.

The area between the hole and the pencil line will be tapered slightly.

The rose will need to be gilded before it is installed.

Here is Roman using the mylar plans to transfer the locations of the nuts. He and Elizabeth have begun to position them onto the wrestplank, and the 8' and 4' nuts will soon be glued in place.

New Pictures!!

Hi all! I thought it was about time I contributed some of my pics of what we've been doing in class and on our own. What we did yesterday was great! I actually got to saw out the hole for the rose!!! Yes, there is now a big hole in our beautifully planed soundboard. It's a little bigger than it was supposed to be, but that's ok. We can make it work! We were working on the nuts too, but they aren't quite done.

Elizabeth and Roman put the nuts in place. A close-up of the rose. Isn't it lovely??

Look! The rose! John is helping Roman nip off nails to hold the nuts in place.

Here is the harpsichord with the soundboard in place. How pretty!

Here is the harpsichord with a bunch of new stuff added, and Roman blowdrying the soundboard to shrink it into place!

Here are a few of us working on the keyboards.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

First cuts and planing the soundboard

The first harpsichord cuts:
We had sawed four notches in the three corners and glued small blocks to fit. After the glue dried we just cut away the extra material to make super strong corners.

Roman and Karen working to even out those rough edges

Jessica, Angela, Paul and Jeff preparing the keyboards

"Scrubbing" the soundboard. Here comes the fun part: The soundboard came to us with a thickness of about 8/64". The sides and sections that will be closest to the wrest plank--the most sensitive areas of resonation -- need to be planed down to 6/64" and a roughly oblong section in between to 7/64". Since we're working with such intricate measurements, we use a slotted wooden paddle and tapered measuring stick that we slip around the planed soundboard to indicate the proper thickness.

Karen working on the 7/64" sections. Boy do we love planing!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Spacing the keys

Here's what we did on the manuals this week:

First we check the spacing and look for uneven gaps:

If a gap is a little too tight on one side, we bend the pin on the back end of the key:

And then sand out the mortise:

...replace the key...

..and check again. Still a bit tight! I'm working on that center pair of black keys.

I started sorting the arcades, but if anyone wants to arrange them differently (I did dark in the middle fading to light on the edges) they are sitting on top of the upper manual by the window. (Thank you, whoever taped them to that board!)

Monday, September 18, 2006

This week

On Monday we will install the wrestplank supports, something we ran out of time for last Wednesday; on Tuesday (if the weather is dry enough or I can dry the soundboard enough) we will finish fitting it to the case, mark it for the locations of the bridges, ribs, and cutoff rail, and start the tapering process

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pictures from Sept. 13

Jessica, Paul, and Jeff working on the manuals.

Elizabeth braves the power drill! (along with John, Roman, and Prof. Parkins)
I'm curious, since I'm over working on the keyboard I'm not sure what you all were going to be doing with the drill. What's happening with the case?


I'm curious to know what happens with the soundboard on Monday and Tuesday - I don't think I will be able to come. It sounds like it will be pretty exciting.