Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Gluing in the Soundboard

Three dowels inserted through the bottom of the case were used to make sure that the soundboard was bowed up just a bit when it was glued in. Here Dr. Parkins risks his livelihood as a performer by holding onto a nail in a cleat being attached to the bottom. (He avoided any injury)

Gluing in the soundboard called for many hands, many clamping boards, and many clamps. The boards are taller than the sides of the case so the clamps can squeeze the soundboard onto the liners which go all around the inside of the case.

Each person had a section to work on--to clamp as well as clean up.

This view shows the keyboard end.

With the keyboards in place, we can start to imagine how it will look completed.

Signing their work

Before the soundboard was installed, all the builders signed and dated the underside. Many, many hours of work went into this one thin piece of sitka spruce.

Here is the class posing with the completed and signed soundboard. Just after the photo was taken, we all worked together to install it.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Soundboard final stages

Roman checks his work after the installation of the ribs and cutoff bar.

This view shows the underside of the soundboard with ribs, cutoff bar, and rose all in place. The white muslin glued to the ends of the ribs and around the rose helps to strengthen these areas.

Paul is gluing on the 4' hitchpin rail. This piece will hold the hitchpins for the 4' set of strings. The soundboard is very thin and it would not be able to hold them securely without this piece. Jessica and Paul clean up the excess glue after clamping. Note the long clamping bars which span our workbench.

Once all the glue has dried on all the parts attached to the soundboard, the top is cleaned up so no glue or other marks show.

The soundboard measures exactly 36 1/4 inches--the same size as when we fitted it to the case some weeks ago. That means that the humidity is just right for installing it into the case.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

On the way to harpsichord shop...

This glorious tree stands between the music building and Baldwin Auditorium, where we work on the harpsichord.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

4' bridge

The 4' bridge is being glued on in this series of photos. Glue is applied to both surfaces.
We used long clamping boards to span the length of the soundboard. Clamps on both ends of the wood hold the the bridge down firmly.
Once all the clamps are in place, excess glue is removed by removing once clamp at a time, cleaning up, and then replacing it.

Watching the glue dry . . .

Ready for the next step!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Last (Gilded) Rose of Summer

The edges of the hole for the rose are being given an elegent taper by Karen.
Here is (another) photo of the rose being gilded.

John demonstrates the gold leafing process.

Elizabeth prepares to apply the leafing!

Assembly Line?

Many hands were involved in adding lead weights to the keys. The weights will help the key return to its rest position. Here, Jessica draws a line down the center of the key lever.

Then the place for the hole is marked with an awl. A measuring stick was made to show the places for the weights. Each sharp key gets two weights and each natural gets one.
Here Angela drills the premarked places. As Norm Abrams says, "there is no more important safety rule than to wear these--safety glasses."
The drill press is set up so it will make a hole just the right depth. This must be a sharp.Dr. Parkins hammers the round lead weights into the key lever. If the weight is loose in the hole, the top of the lead is splayed out a bit to make it snug.

Roman continues the task.

The upper manual will also need this treatment.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gilding the Rose

John prepares the gold leaf while everyone watches.
Elizabeth inverts the gold leaf onto the rose.
Dabbing the gold leaf onto the rose with a dry brush. Beautiful!
This rose may be the most-photographed part of our harpsichord! John is seeing how it looks in the soundboard.
A cross-section of the action. (This is what the keyboard team has been building these past weeks.)

Our labours

Our Efforts Shall Not Go Unrewarded!

It Just.. like Melts

It Just.. like Melts

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October 16

This week, the bridges are being fitted to the soundboard.

Here, the bridge is placed on short pins which were placed earlier.

After the bridge was clamped in place for a dry run, all the clamps were removed, the bridge and soundboard were given a film of glue, and . . .

. . . the real clamping begins! Our builders worked in teams--one positioning the clamping board, the other tightening the parallel-jaw clamps (they have really grown to love these clamps which they have found superior to any others).

A view through the many clamps used.

The clamping champs!

Friday, October 13, 2006

More pictures from Oct. 11

Nails through the soundboard.

Roman working hard to cut off the nails.

John demonstrating how to cut the backs of the lower manual keys apart. (We had glued one continuous piece of felt onto the lower manual behind the coupler dogs.)

October 11

Here work continues on the upper manual. Strips of bushing felt, a thick, woven material, are being tacked to the rear end of the key levers. The bottom of the jacks for this manual will rest on this felt.

For work on the keys, our builders are shown the task, and then they get to do it 60 more times for that manual!--one time for each of the keys.

This particular instrument will have 128 keys when completed: two manuals of five octaves, from FF to f'''.

The bridge for the 8 foot choir of strings is being marked for installation. The procedure is similar to how the nuts were attached to the wrestplank.

Beneath the bridge (here shown upsidedown) are the plans which show the exact location for the bridge on the soundboard.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

the fall break diversion

Half the class kicks off fall break with beer fest.
And good times were had...

...by all!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

a day in the life of our soundboard

On the soundboard, there were a few spots where we got a little carried away with the wonder that is planing. First, we took a couple of cabinet scrapers (thin slabs of metal with curvy sharp edges that work like sandpaper, old school style) and smoothed out any roughness on the underside of the soundboard.

Then we marked our sweet spots, covered them with a piece of muslin, and glued it liberally to the soundboard.

The soundboard (underside), post-patching