It is possible to build your own . . .

Where did this all start? This idea to build a harpsichord? I have had a hankering to build one for years, but never thought it might be possible. Then one day a copy of “American Woodworker” arrived in my mailbox. In that magazine was an article about a man who builds harpsichords and was documenting the construction process on a North Carolina woodworker’s forum! After checking out the forum I immediately contacted the author Ernie Miller by email.

Dear Mr. Miller,
I read with great enthusiasm the article in American Woodworker that arrived in the mail yesterday. I visited your website today and just wanted to tell you how much I admire your workmanship. Your instruments are truly beautiful.
As a hobby I make ‘ukuleles and rebuild other instruments (mandolins, balalaikas). It’s a very rewarding and cathartic process and I hope to build a harpsichord someday (after my 3 children graduate from college perhaps), tho’ I’ll likely consider building from a kit or at least purchasing the keyboard/keyworks. Any thoughts on the difference of kit versus scratch?

I heard back:

As for kits vs. scratch built harpsichords I don’t think you’d have a problem either way. I’ve never built a kit harpsichord but from what I understand they’re potentially very good, but expensive. It would no doubt be significantly less expensive to build one from scratch and, maybe, more rewarding at the same time. The woodworking involved is no more complex than what you already do on your instruments. Unless you know something of how a harpsichord works, you’d have the same difficulty that I would have in building a ukulele. Where do I start? How do I make the parts? etc.

So there were the answers! Build it from scratch, it would be less expensive and more rewarding. It was just what I needed to hear. We exchanged some more mail on various topics over a period of time.

About npcarey

Amateur Luthier, woodworker, music enthusiast, software enthusiast
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