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Considering The Harpsichord Jack (Part Three)

Considering The Harpsichord Jack (Part Three)

Harpsichordist Peter Watchorn playing an A.R. McAllister made harpsichord from Australian Blackwood. This is the third and final part of the article from the forthcoming book by well known harpsichord maker A.R. McAllister. For parts One and Two just click the links at the bottom of this page. "Now to the jack body itself. It must be of straight and long grained wood which I prefer to have of a dimensional strength that gives some room for mishandling by dim wits. Also, I have found that one size seems to suit all Northern makes, bigger perhaps for Italians, but a little lead can always be added. Weighting is by means of a fishing sinker about 1/4” in diameter. The sinker is placed in the jack with its hole oriented horizontally within the jack hole, so that on being flat punched tight in the jack, no outward stress is placed on the narrow walls of the jack hole which could cause it to split, while the hole in the sinker will be hidden from critical eyes. The lead should have some french polish dabbed on, to retard its oxidisation. The body of the jack is thick enough to include a reasonable
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Considering The Harpsichord Jack (Part Two)

Considering The Harpsichord Jack (Part Two)

A typical open-ended harpsichord jack. Part Two of the article "Considering The Harpsichord Jack" from the forthcoming book by world renown harpsichord maker A.R. McAllister. For parts One and Two just click the links at the bottom of this page. Looking at the design of the tongue itself, I like to consider it being rather bottom heavy on its pivot, that is to say, a large portion of the mass of the tongue is below the pivot point so that when it is moved from the vertical, which happens at the moment of pluck as well as on return to rest position after plucking, this larger mass wants it to remain unmoved, but when and if it does move, the pendulum effect helps minimise this movement. Thus the spring tension does not have to be excessive - not too much, not too little. I haven’t the language skills to express it any better I’m afraid, but the point is that many makers drill the pivot hole for their tongue far too low in the tongue body - which means that, once moved from its sprung/rest position, the tongue is encouraged to keep moving until the heavier part of the tongue,
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Considering The Harpsichord Jack (Part One)

Considering The Harpsichord Jack (Part One)

A work in progress -- A harpsichord for the Melbourne Recital Hall. The following article, broken up into three parts, is from the forthcoming book on harpsichord making by A.R. McAllister. Mr McAllister is a veteran of 50 years as a harpsichord builder and repairer and has an international reputation, having made instruments for customers in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He has worked on some of the important harpsichords from around the world -- including the keyboards for an instrument for the White House in the early 1980's. This article concentrates on the making of wooden jacks, and his thoughts and ideas concerning them: "I refer to the jack as ‘my’ design, but I acknowledge that there are no new prophets and that there is nothing original in my design, rather this is my shorthand in a segment that is just a dissertation on the individual parts making up the whole of a jack. My jack is made with a closed top which reduces the possibility of the sides jamming on the tongue. This is not difficult to make with a router, set up like a spindle moulder, with the jack blank held in a pivoting
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Basics Of Blacksmithing, Part One “The Basic Tool Kit”

Basics Of Blacksmithing, Part One “The Basic Tool Kit”

In this video Trenton Tye, from Purgatory Ironworks in Morgan Georgia, talks about putting together the basic hand tools needed for blacksmithing. According to Trenton all you really need is "Something to hammer with, something to hold with and something to cut with." Trent takes you by means of scrounging standard gear for little or no money. He explains that hand tools can be found in a variety of places -- antique stores, garage or car boot sales, as well as brand new tools from hardware stores or big box DIY warehouses. It's not so important where the tools have come from, only that they are sufficient enough for the work you wish to do. The Hammer While you can make do with an ordinary carpenter's claw hammer, what you're really looking for is a nice, solid engineers ball pein hammer of a good weight. What I mean by "a good weight" is something that you're comfortable with using. Something which you can swing day in, day out. If you're really lucky you might come across an old blacksmith's cross pein hammer. These hammers are substantially built and the cross pein allows you to "lengthen" metal easily by hammering out
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Copper Wire Inlayed English Elm Bowl — Woodturning Tutorial

Copper Wire Inlayed English Elm Bowl — Woodturning Tutorial

Inlaying metals -- whether precious or otherwise -- into wood often gives the finished article a unique and personal look. In this video, woodturner Tony Barfoot shows us how to inlay copper wire in a turned wooden bowl. The particular wood used is English elm, a hard and durable wood with interlocking grain which is often used for the seats in Windsor chairmaking, as well as the hubs for carriage and spoked wheels and even wooden pipes in London's underground! The wire used is ordinary copper wiring, 0.5mm in diameter, used by electricians. Tony will also add a black line just underneath the copper wire to help accentuate it. This line will be made by burning the groove black with another piece of wire. Tony starts by mounting the blank to the faceplate and then turning a foot for the bowl. Once that has been done he begins to turn and define the shape of the outside of the bowl with woodturning scrapers and gouges. When he's satisfied that he has the right profile, waxes the outside of the bowl to inhibit the superglue from seeping into the fibers of the wood, thus darkening it and making it look "blotchy".
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Bow Making — How To Make American Double-Curve Bows

Bow Making — How To Make American Double-Curve Bows

American style double-curve bows are a traditional Indian weapon and Ed Scott is considered a master bowyer, or bow maker. An early starter Ed, who now lives in Grants, New Mexico, made his first bow at the age of nine after an uncle taught him the craft. However, after a career in the U.S. Navy and, later, as a tree surgeon, then as a missionary in Botswana, Scott did not return to the craft until about seven years ago when he made a bow for his grandson. After getting into bowmaking again there was no turning back. In this video Ed explains how he uses and shapes billets of juniper and mesquite, which he then glues sinew, such as elk sinew, to add tensile strength. In making bows, Scott's process is traditional and everything is done by hand. He explains the importance of tensile strength in the functioning of a good bow. According to Mr Scott, once heated and bent to shape these woods can get up to 10 times more tensile strength than in the wood alone if sinew is glued to the back of the bow. Once the sinew has been applied, Ed shapes the bow using drawknives,
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Ten Essential Tools For Stained Glass & Leadlighting Work

Ten Essential Tools For Stained Glass & Leadlighting Work

Leadlighting and stained glass work can be enjoyed by almost everyone, and it is often asked of me "What kind of tools do I need to get started in stained glass?" With this in mind I give you my top ten essential tools for the job. They are: The Glazing Hammer. The Glass Cutter. The Side Cutter or Lead Dyke. The Grozing Pliers. The Leading Knife. The Soldering Iron. The French Curve. The Horseshoe or ‘Cut’ Nail. The Flat-topped Bench. The Grouting Brush. Armed with a few essential tools, a good imagination, and an eye for art and form, plus a great deal of practice and perseverance, anyone, male or female, can aspire to become a sought after Lead lighter. Over time, experience will surely demonstrate, as no amount of reading the text books will, all the possibilities and probabilities met with by other folk who have practised the art and craft of the Glass Worker. The achievement of the ‘artist’ is perhaps universally applauded, still for some, best practice continues to be difficult to attain. Yet the art has a very long history and continues to be much admired, even loved. Being born colour-blind must surely be a major
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The Use Of Australian Timbers In Musical Instrument Making

The Use Of Australian Timbers In Musical Instrument Making

Australian Blackwood As a violin maker, one seems to be constantly reminded, by people who can hardly be expected to know beyond argument, that Australian Timbers are unsuitable for the work of the luthier. This is, simply, not true! What, of course, is true, is that Australia had not been discovered until after the Golden Age of violin making was past. Therefore, the early makers did not have the opportunity to assess for themselves, the truth or otherwise of the suitability of our timbers. But who, now, can say, what their judgements may have been? I am persuaded to think that they would have been both interested and excited by the possibilities of Australian timbers, to have their resource stocks considerably expanded, and naturally, to attempt their hand at achieving a success with something different. Assuming that all appropriate species were made available to them, they would, never the less, have to be selective over their choices, and then having completed an instrument, would have assessed and discovered for themselves the mysteries of Australian timbers. Ringed Gidgee To establish a 21st century concept of the viability of using Australian timbers, one surely has to understand the fundamentals of how best
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Turning A Wooden Egg — Some Tips And Tricks

Turning A Wooden Egg — Some Tips And Tricks

Consider this. Have you ever been asked to turn a wooden egg? The first thing to notice is that if one simply increases the size of a common poultry farm hen’s egg, our perception of proportion seems to go awry, and our product turned to our specified size, looks even ridiculous – it does not meet our impression of what an egg should look like. So, to make the egg look realistic we are obliged to change its proportions. This phenomenon, incidentally, applies to many items foisted on the unsuspecting human brain, very obvious examples being sundry motor vehicle models…. To achieve the appearance sought from the turned egg one should draw out the size required onto white card and thereafter cut out the shape as a template. The proportional acceptability of your egg will depend on the assessment of your eye – you have to be both judge and jury. The outcome of your art work may be affected by the grain structure of the wood you choose to turn, so, for example, Oak is perhaps a poor choice because of its medullaryed grain structure. Bog oak is darker hence with less visual impact imposed by the grain, and
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