Deciding to actually build one

I finished reading through all of the posts that Ernie had written so far documenting his harpsichord project. It’s a fascinating process and the pictures are extremely helpful and clear. There are so many details. So far I have compiled 25 of the posts into a ‘book’ format that I’ll later share with Ernie.

I’ll spend some serious time over the next few days poring over all this material to gain a better understanding of the process and to see what I’m getting myself into. Some time ago I bought an original copy of “The Harpsichord Owner’s Guide” by Edward Kottick from e-Bay. I seem to like the ‘originals’ of books, rather than the later reprints! Time to start reading this book again.

I sent Ernie a number of questions about the keyboard construction process. I think I could (might/will) build one of these instruments. I love to build challenging projects.
Ernie is very quick with the email and responded to all of my detailed questions. I know I will have many more as I proceed.

Ernie posted the soundboard decorating section. His wife Sandy does the painting and is a very good artist. The harpsichord is just beautiful!

Ernie sent me his CAD files for the keyboard layout today. He’s a very generous person to share something he’s obviously worked so hard on. When I thanked him for his generosity he replied:

You’re welcome. I’m just trying to pass along the favor that my teacher, Paul Kennedy, did for me when I was starting. I have always found the instrument builders are extremely generous with not only their time, but sharing their knowledge and experiences.

My cousin Pete came over tonight and we continued to work on his ‘ukulele project. It’s coming along. Afterwards we sat down and I showed him the Harpsichord Project “book” that I was compiling from Ernie’s postings. I think it was today that I decided to build one, or at least to start building a keyboard.

Sent a number of additional questions to Ernie for advice on parts he uses for his keyboards. He gets his parts from the Instrument Workshop. He kindly answered all of my questions. I continue to look for ways to keep the overall cost down on this project. Ernie says it will end up costing about $2000 and that is certainly not bad if I am able to do this over time. A long time, at least until the children graduate from College!

After discussing it with Ernie I decided to order some dimensioned basswood rather than to try using wood I already had. His recommendation was not to use mahogany as people are used to seeing ‘white’ wood keys and that the mahogany might be too heavy. I found a place online (Itasca Wood Products) that sells dimensioned basswood for much less than I can find locally, even after paying for shipping. I purchased six pieces of seven-inch wide by eighteen inches long by one half inch thick.

After a recommendation on CAD software (DeltaCAD) I downloaded and have been trying it out. Today I purchased it. It is indeed an excellent value. Ernie Miller was kind enough to send me a technical drawing of his Ruckers Flemish Single!

About npcarey

Amateur Luthier, music enthusiast, software enthusiast
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