Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Broadwood Fortepiano

After a long hiatus, I have begun the restoration of the the 1806 Broadwood grand.  Pictured is my beautiful new bride, Sylvia, celebrating the successful removal of the strings, and the interior of the instrument.  As happy as I am to have the opportunity to restore this instrument, I feel even more fortunate to have a wife who is equally excited to assist me with its restoration.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Opus IV Keyboard: All has not been lost

With a bit of patience and perseverance, I have successfully restored the keyboard and keyframe, which was badly damaged due to a flooded workshop.
The walnut keytops and cherry arcades have been re-glued to the levers, and with the installation of the walnut cheek-blocks, key cloth and keyframe front molding, it is now ready for installation.
It was necessary for me to adopt a different attitude and mindset in the restoration of this once finished and perfectly functioning keyboard, which I had considered to be the finest I had yet built.
Having done countless restorations of keyboards and keyframes from harpsichords,  clavichords, virginals and fortepianos, as well those from modern pianos,  this was a project that I simply had to approach as yet another restoration of a damaged keyboard, setting aside the frustration I felt with having to restore a keyboard I had so recently completed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Opus IV: Saving the keyboard

Having allowed the waterlogged keyboard and frame to dry out for a month, it appears that I will be able, after all, to rebuild it.
The walnut keytops have been removed, numbered, and prepped for regluing, and the keylevers appear to have suffered less damage than I had previously thought, save for some staining at the balance points, the result of the balance pins having rusted.
I have polished the guide and balance pins, rebuilt a slightly warped keyframe, and have begun the process of regluing the natural keytops onto the keylevers.
The prospect of building an entirely new keyboard was, to say the least, demoralizing, however, I am quite optimistic that I will be able to resurrect the original keyboard, a tedious, yet far less time consuming task than building a new one from scratch.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A bit of a setback

I discovered, in the aftermath of a flooded basement/workshop, that the keyboard for my Opus IV harpsichord has been destroyed.  Fortunately, the instrument itself, along with my tools and machines, suffered no harm.
The making of the keyboard, an extremely time consuming process, represents the birth of an instrument, as it is the first thing I make for a new instrument.
While it will indeed be a challenge to duplicate the dimensions of this keyboard, I am quite confident that I will be able to accomplish this task, with the hope that the new keyboard will be even better than the original.
Despite this very disappointing setback, my Opus IV will one day sing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Making progress

Having installed the soundboard, rose, lower guides, bridges, etc., I am now preparing to glue the bottom onto my instrument.
(Click on image to enlarge.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Opus IV hitchpin rail

The bridges, 4' hitchpin rail, and soundboard have now been marked and installed.  Pictured above is the installation of the 8' hitchpin rail, which is comprised of two separate sections, and the inner case molding at the treble end.
As is the case with many instrument makers and craftsmen, I am loathe to dispose of even the most trivial bits and pieces of wood, ivory, and potentially useful bits and pieces of instruments that I have acquired over the years.
While a few of these instruments have been disposed of, as they were not in a state where restoration was practical or even possible, I managed to locate a simple, brass rose which I salvaged from a poorly constructed,
incomplete Zuckermann straight side, commonly known as a "Z Box."

I hope that it would offer the well intentioned maker of this instrument some consolation in knowing that while his instrument is no longer in existence, at least one small part of it shall live on in the instrument which I am now building.