Ok, it didn't actually take fifteen years to build the harpsichord. It was really only about three years of intense building - and twelve years of less intense thinking. (read procrastinating). I worked like crazy for most of 1967 and 1968 and then put the project aside for a dozen years. After moving to New Jersey I made a trip to upstate NY to Derwood's to retrieve the harpsichord where it had been stored during the four years we lived in South Carolina. Then I began an intense year and a half of working each morning for a couple of hours before going to work and spending a good bit of each Saturday and Sunday finishing the project.
Not the date I started construction, but it's the date written on the back of this picture. This is my mother's family room and those are my dad's clamps. I also used his saws, nails and my brother supplied the glue. I bought the birch plywood for the bottom and the poplar for the belly braces came from my dad's sawmill.
The hitchpin rail took every clamp we could find.
The keyboard took hours and hours of band saw (rented from a workshop in Great Bend) and drill press work. The natural keys are covered with black walnut, the sharps (not installed yet) with maple.
I kind of went overboard on the stand but my dad had a good bit of two inch cherry that had been stored in the rafters of the sawmill for many years and we thought this would be a good use for it.
My stand was a simplified version of this one built by Hans Ruckers, Antwerp, 1616.
This picture was taken on the front porch of the Great Bend house. Most of the major components are complete. The carcass, keyboard, soundboard and the (tuning) pin block.
Shortly after this I began to have less and less time to devote to the project. After leaving IBM I found my new job at SUNY to be far more demanding and at the same time I joined the Time Tunnel which consumed most of my spare time for the next decade. November 24th, 1977 we moved to Columbia, SC and Derwood very graciously volunteered to store the instrument until we could get settled.
Continue with Completion, 1981 - 1983
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