Unfortunately I forgot to take photos as I was making the soundpost. It’s another piece of the old piano soundboard, cut to a long thin square section at first, sized to fit the hole in the back of the instrument. The bulk of the post was then rounded, cut to length (with a slight angle on the top to fit the top of the instrument), and wedged in place using the traditional method, cutting a step in the base of the post. In the photo you can see the wedge – the thinner piece.

end of soundpost through back Continue reading

There are a lot of possibilities in choosing the wood to use from my recycled piano – I don’t know what this is (maybe some sort of mahogany) but it is not too dense, works beautifully without producing splinters, and is fairly hard. So it should be good for the nut (where the strings leave the headstock) and the tuning pegs.

wood for pegs Continue reading

The key box design is very simple (thank you Kjell Lundvall for the suggestion). It’s even more simple than the design used in old kontrabas nyckelharpor I have seen in photos; rather than having a double wall on the side of the box away from the “finger” side of the keys, it has a single wall, with the key body able to poke through. I have seen this idea in four row chromatic nyckelharpor as well – presumably to make the keybox for that instrument, which has to be rather bulky anyway, a bit less so.

Here are the sides after being marked out carefully:

keybox sides Continue reading

Supermoon (photo taken as it set this morning) – why do the social media and the internet get so excited about the Moon appearing a bit bigger (and brighter) than average? Not that it’s even noticeable unless you observe it regularly against the same objects near the horizon. There’s a perigee (closest to the earth) every month, and a smallest perigee every year – and from year to year the smallest varies by less than about 1000km. That’s less than a third of a percent difference in size in the sky. Yet another reason for me to be a grumpy old man!


Having got the top nicely smooth, it’s time to cut some holes in it. Knowing how much work has gone into making it so far, this is a bit daunting – but it has to be done!

I measured carefully and drew up the sound holes (the two big ones, and the small ones under the keybox), and started drilling. Again, this showed me how brittle this old wood it – hopefully it will sound OK, but it does have the tendency to chip, so I have had to make one or two tiny repairs around the main sound holes, and will need to apply a couple of cleats (as I understand they are called in the luthier’s world!) on a short crack. The top is a bit thinner than I’d expected (more like 3mm rather than 4) – clearly my planing wasn’t as even as I thought, and it’s a bit thicker at the ends; however thin(ish) ought to be good if it’s not too thin!

Here’s the “bass” bar being glued on:

bass bar Continue reading