I spent several hours fabricating more parts: 25 Bolivian Rosewood sharps, 2 arcade blanks, one Maple, one Bolivian Rosewood. I’m still uncertain which combinations of wood to use so I’m fabricating several choices to create some mockups. The comparison of these sharp sets reveals quite a difference in weight. I compared 25 sharp blanks of each type and got these results:
- Bolivian Rosewood 209g
- Walnut 165g
- Mahogany 122g
I don’t want to make the decision solely based on weight and figure I could make up the difference by judiciously carving the keysticks to remove enough weight to make up the difference. So I’m looking for keys that are as light as possible? Ernie said he tried this once with poor results, so I think I’ll stay away from that process.
The next task was to create a couple of mockup keys to compare how they look and feel. Today, in addition to the sharps, I made maple and rosewood arcade blanks. I also milled up 1/8″ keytops (heads and tails) of Bolivian Rosewood. I thought I would make some sample walnut and mahogany tops to create mockups to compare and figure out what I like the best.
Started working on some key mockups of various wood combinations to see what I like. Made 2 rosewood keys, 1 walnut. 1 walnut, 1 rosewood, 1 mahogany sharp. Cut out the mockup keysticks, glued all of the tops on and cut the decorative lines as outlined in Ernie’s Harpsichord Project book. For a finish I decided to use the Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil. Put on 4 coats all together so far.
Completed the sharp mockups today, with final coats of finish, then buffed with steel wool, then polished with a soft cloth. When I do the actual sharps I’ll fill the grain with the Birchwood-Casey (Gun Stock) filler and instead of steel wool, I’ll wet sand with 2000-grit paper, then buff to a low luster.
Here are the key mockups, left to right:
- Bolivian Rosewood Top with Maple Arcade
- Walnut Sharp
- Walnut Top with Bolivian Rosewood Arcade
- Bolivian Rosewood Sharp
- Bolivian Rosewood Top with Walnut Arcade
- Mahogany Sharp
After much thought and discussion with my mentor I decided on the maple arcade as it is more traditional and looks really nice.
Laid out the complete keyboard and laid out and cut the arcade, then attached the arcade to the keyboard blank. So I fit the maple arcade blank to the front of the keyboard. Then I trimmed the arcade flush and trimmed the overall depth of the keyboard to 15 3/16”. I needed to plane the bow out of the board by hand using a block plane.
But here it is all installed and ready to ‘split’ the key sticks apart with the bandsaw.