During the summer of 2008 I decided I wanted to build a harpsichord. I found a book in the library that contained plans and instructions but ultimately ended up designing my own. It took all my spare time that summer to complete, and I took several photos along the way to document my progress.
Life-size plan and stringing scale for the harpsichord
Curved frame for gluing up the curved side of the harpsichord
Clamping the curved side while the glue dries
The pieces of the frame are held together with interlocking finger joints
Three pieces of the frame held together with interlocking finger joints
Protruding fingers cut off and sanded down
Clamping and gluing in liners to secure the bottom and soundboard
Here is the bottom of the harpsichord
The bottom has been secured, and I am installing internal braces to help support the tension of the strings
Things are starting to come together. Frame is complete, and legs are installed.
The large block on the inner side will later secthare the pinblock (a large, thick slab of solid maple that will hold the tuning pins)
The key frame with pins installed that will secure the keys
The keys were cut out of a single sheet of wood.
Cutting out the keys with a band saw
Here are all the keys, cut out, with holes drilled for the pins
Test fitting the keytops
Gluing on the key tops
The bridge was cut out of a single piece of maple.
The soundboard is arguably the most important part of an instrument
The sondboard is made by gluing together 1/8″ slabs of quarter-sawn spruce.
Here is the bottom of the sound board showing the braces. The large one is called the cutoff bar.
Gluing in the soundboard and clamping it down with “go bars”
The jack slides hold the jacks, which sit on the back of the key and come up between the strings when keys are pressed
Planning where to drill holes for the tuning pins
Tuning pins, hitch pins, jacks, and strings installed. Almost ready to play