Friday, February 23, 2007


Now that the instrument is actually playing (both 8' sets of strings), Roman spends some time tuning.

Normally, we would have completed the case and done all the painting before stringing and voicing the instrument. Since it was preferable to make sure that the builders got some voicing experience, and it was unclear if we could get the entire instrument done before the end of the academic year, we chose to work slightly out of order.

Before we can start painting the case, we must prepare the various pieces. Since the lid of of veneered plywood, we need to cover the edges. Here Karen is attaching an edging to the flap of the lid. The edging is heat sensitive, and the iron melts the glue on the underside.

The edging is just slightly wider than the wood, so we sand the excess off. This produces a perfect edge.

One more detail--the name batten must be attached. Roman works on the three countersunk holes needed. The name batten will be attached to the name board which is the vertical piece at the back of the upper manual. The space the name batten covers allows the keyboards or individual keys to be removed.

Someone is flauting the "no open toed shoes" rule!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Jacks and Jackrail

The jackrail keeps the jacks from flying out of the instrument. It also determines the keydip--the amount of downward travel the keys will have. Here Angelaa bastes layers of felt together which will go on the underside of the jackrail.

Here Jessica does some voicing on a plectrum. The thinning of the plectrum is done on the underside. You can see her holding the jack upsidedown.

The jacks are all too long. We need to shorten them by cutting off the tops. After careful measuring to determine the proper keydip, Karen uses the tablesaw to trim all the jacks. Note the ear and eye protection.

You can see the black mark on the jack which shows where the cut will be.

Here Roman is inserting a woven felt damper in a jack. The felt must be low enough to stop the vibrating string when the jack is at rest, but not so low that the plectrum cannot slip under the string after a note is played. About 1/32 of an inch is needed. The felt is cut in long strips which makes it easier to insert in a slot on the side of the jack. The strip is then trimmed off and the jack is tested and adjusted as needed.