Building a bentside spinet

Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:16 pm

Thanks Randy & Beate.

I don't know of any forums, but there is a harpsichord mailer list that covers both building and playing.

The soundboard will be a glue-up- I got the spruce (~5 foot long pieces) from Brent at Alaska Specialty Woods.

I'll have another go at the bend tomorrow. Laminating something up is still an option.
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:51 pm

Finally some progress. I tweaked the bending jig a little and soaked the tightest radius of the bend in some "SuperSoft" for a day or so. The soaking seemed to do the most good. My heat pipe isn't quite big enough to do much. Short of laminating, I may try a steam box next time.

The bent side:
bentside.jpg


I traced the actual bend onto the base board and then cut. In retrospect, it probably would have been better to do this before the rest of the assembly...
base.jpg


Fitting the side to the baseboard. Still have a few miters to cut.
fitting.jpg
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:31 pm

I finished out the case sides. Per the book's recommendation, I started in the front and worked around the sides.

IMG_20170225_190504051.jpg


Ok, for authenticity, I would have used cut nails here, but I went with screws. In either case, there will be moldings applied along the lower edge to cover up the fasteners.
IMG_20170225_190543151.jpg


Here's the back being glued on. I digressed from the original assembly by not gluing on the back rail first. The side rails are glued on after this step, so I figured I'll do the back rail later too.
IMG_20170226_192014723.jpg


Next I should make some glue blocks for all the corners to reinforce those joints.
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Bryan Bear » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:17 pm

This is fascinating!
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:44 pm

I added three corner reinforcements. The first couple were easy. The third one (the dark hole) was tough. Note to self- next time, fit this before gluing on the side.

IMG_20170303_190805624_HDR.jpg

IMG_20170303_190819732.jpg


Next was adding the liners. These serve to support the sound board (much like on a guitar), but they also hold the hitch pins (to which the strings will attach). The liner for the bent side is kerfed.
IMG_20170304_084123779.jpg


IMG_20170304_084146969.jpg


IMG_20170304_084202548.jpg
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:50 pm

Next were the liner braces- these are three cross pieces that are fitted below the liners.

The first picture shows the braces cut, mitered and rabbeted and just resting on the liners.
IMG_20170304_193200690_HDR.jpg


They were glued in place and then triangular brackets are added for reinforcement.
IMG_20170304_205818930.jpg
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:15 pm

One other thing were the two spruce spacer strips that keyboard will ride against (one on the bass side, one on the treble side). These also reinforce the butt joint on the sides of the keyboard (these still need to be trimmed back):
IMG_20170305_162527421_HDR.jpg


Then I started on the keyboard. First up is the basic frame which is just two sides, the back member and balance rail (the keys will pivot on the balance rail). The keyboard assembly can be slid in and out of the instrument.

Here it is by itself:
IMG_20170305_195940374.jpg


And in place in the instrument:
IMG_20170305_200002207_HDR.jpg
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:12 am

Glued up some wood for the keyboard last night. While that's drying, I added the wood bits to lock down the keyboard.

This triangular wedge keeps the back down (this one is on the treble end and there is another on the bass end). The rear of the keyboard slips in underneath the wedge.
IMG_20170306_190611747.jpg

These turnbuttons (one on each side of the keyboard) keep the front of the keyboard assembly in position.
IMG_20170306_204240263_HDR.jpg
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:51 am

Building the keyboard is a 7 step process. Here's the prep and step 1.

First is getting the blank to shape. It's about 800 mm wide, 12 mm thick. The treble side is about 260 mm deep and the bass side about 300 mm deep. I'm using poplar.
IMG_20170307_193732800.jpg


Next is the keyboard ruler that marks the edges of the natural and sharp keys. Barnes drew this on the plan, and I copied that to a stick.
IMG_20170307_193655271.jpg


Here we extend the lines for the natural key edges from the ruler onto the keyboard blank using a square.
IMG_20170307_220052343.jpg


Completed. The tic marks at the top of the line indicate where the sharps will be.
IMG_20170307_220114630.jpg


Next is to glue on the tops of the natural keys. The original Keene & Brackley used ebony for the naturals and ivory for the sharps. I've probably got enough ebony (in fretboard blanks) to do ebony naturals and then maybe use maple for the sharps. But I'm also thinking of maybe cherry naturals and maple sharps. Could also go with maple naturals and cherry sharps too...
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:44 am

I also started the lid and flap. Here I'm just getting some boards in place prior to glue up.
IMG_20170309_190606733_HDR.jpg

The lid is attached to the case (in the back) with three hinges. The flap (which covers the keyboard) is attached to the lid with three more hinges, and there is also a lock on the flap. The hinges are drawn full-size on the plan and they are really cool. I wasn't particularly looking for exact replacements, but I learned there is a guy over in the UK who actually makes replicas of these (and many others). As you can imagine, they are not cheap- I'm guessing US $350 (plus shipping) for the set. You can check them out here: http://www.traditional-brassware.co.uk/ ... 1/spinets/ (in my case, references 13 - 16).
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Bill Raymond » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:51 pm

Charlie, re: your kerfed bentside liner, how can you be sure that your hitch pins won't be driven into a kerf rather than the solid part of the liner, thus being subject to pulling out from the tension of the strings?
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Jim McConkey » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:11 pm

I think you should have a go at making your own hinges! Brass is easily cut with most normal inlay tools, and cutting these patterns is no different than cutting inlays. You can get brass sheets at almost any hobby or big box hardware store.
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:38 pm

Bill, I wondered that too. The kerfs were marked on the plan, so hopefully they are strategically located.

Jim, I had not considered that. Worth some research. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:38 pm

Got the top glued up and rough cut.
IMG_20170314_193417391_HDR.jpg
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:01 pm

Back to the keyboard- I'll use cherry for the naturals. I cut the pieces 4.5 mm thick and then cut the width so that the edges line up between keys.
IMG_20170309_190548394.jpg


Here they are glued on, with the lines redrawn. I used HHG here because some of the cherry will have to be removed and replaced with the sharps The sharps are also drawn on, and a couple horizontal lines that define the front of the sharps and the where the chamfers between the naturals end. The horizontal lines will be "boldly" cut as they are also decorative.
IMG_20170312_192446942.jpg


Another shot of all the lines- the two horizontal lines above the key tops mark where the balance pins will be drilled for. The sloping line is just to keep the keys in order after they're cut out. The top line is the end of the keys. As I type this, I remember that I need another line at the top to mark the depth of the slots that get cut in the end of the keys. I also should taper the key tops front to back (and redraw all those lines again...).
IMG_20170314_193443149.jpg


The recommended way of figuring out where to cut the keys apart is to locate where the jacks will go. So we make a dummy jack with two points on one end.
IMG_20170315_192436364.jpg


The keyboard is placed in position and the jack drops in the slot. You can see the jack resting on the end of the keyboard.
IMG_20170315_192503769.jpg

IMG_20170315_192539018_HDR.jpg


Then we take a mallet and rap the top of the jack to make a pair of marks on the keyboard blank. Repeat 55 times.
IMG_20170316_184937.jpg


And here you can see the dents left in the keyboard.
IMG_20170316_185046.jpg
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Eric Knapp » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:03 pm

This is getting more and more interesting! Thanks for sharing all the details.

-Eric
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Re: Building a bentside spinet

Postby Charlie Schultz » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:39 pm

Getting there- I extended lines from the key edges to the back of the panel. Each line was drawn so that it falls between the pairs of marks left by the dummy jacks.
IMG_20170318_140607.jpg
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