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Thread: New Harpsichord Finished - Sapele and Chinoiserie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Chocowinity, North Carolina
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    New Harpsichord Finished - Sapele and Chinoiserie

    Hi all,

    For the past six months I've been working on an instrument somewhat out of my comfort zone. While most of you don't care for painted wood, most of my instruments are just that - painted. I thought it was time to try something new (for me) and convinced my decorative painter (Sandy, my wife) to try her hand at chinoiserie. The platform stand and bench are Sapele, and the case is poplar painted black (sorry about that) and decorated with chinoiserie. This was an interesting and challenging project - fun too!

    Thanks for looking.

    Ernie
    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths."
    -Steven Wright.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Concord, NC
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    2,163
    Beautiful Ernie. I'm just amazed at the quality of these instruments. Thanks for posting this.
    Richard

    Wooden Railings by Richard & Son

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Porter,TX
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    921
    I am at a loss for words Ernie,just staring at a work of art.Not only your craftsmanship but your wifes painting skills,if you get a chance would love to see a pic from above showing the hardware.Not that I have listen to alot of harpsichord play before but I do remember the sound from all of Vincent Price's movies,love the sound it makes.Tks for posting---Carroll

  4. #4
    Lovely!! I know the amount of fussy and often tedious work that goes into these. I've built two. The "good" one is a double manual in cherry with a QS crossbanded cherry border and an intervening strip of holly. My base was nowhere as fancy as yours. That one took me a couple of years working at it episodically. No desire to do it again.
    I don't play but built 'em for the hell of it. The 7 footer was donated to a university.

    Where did you buy the mechanical 'guts' of the instrument?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Los Chavez, New Mexico
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    F​antastic! I always have to show your pictures around. They're always so well done I want to share them with others.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
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    That is fantastic Ernie! Instrument makers skills amaze me, but you took it to a new level. How does it sound? Vivaldi's harpsichord concerto's get some serious play time in my shop.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Blairstown, NJ
    Posts
    270
    Wow, that is really awesome craftsmanship. Both you and the dear wife.

    BTW, I think that folks used to paint a lot of furniture, and a lot of trim in expensive houses too. Probably a case that in wintertime, didn't see much but gray skies, with big screen TVs and iPads being kind of scarce in the 18th century. I was at Geo. Washington's Mr. Vernon 25 years ago. The dining room was some wild color (green?), don't remember what, restored to his original color scheme, no doubt.

    I have a 150+ year old grandfather clock, made in Norway. Painted green and red. Even has a pull cord inside. If your friends/neighbors come to visit, you can pull the cord and listen to the bell strike whenever you wanted to hear it. Entertainment in the 19th century.
    Last edited by Tom Fischer; 01-27-2013 at 5:14 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Concord, NC
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    Ernie, is Chinoiserie a French from of decoration or is it Chinese?
    Richard

    Wooden Railings by Richard & Son

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    10,818
    Another masterpiece! Are there any YouTube videos of someone playing one of your harpsichords?
    Freedom is the last, best hope of earth. Abraham Lincoln

    Please help support the Creek.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Northeast TN
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    140
    I am SO out of my league coming here and seeing what fine craftsman can create.

    Humble doesn't even begin to describe the feeling.

    Just magnificent!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    SE South Dakota
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    +1 on what "the other Bruce" said---I would love to hear this one if you have the time to post a clip!

    Bruce
    Epilog TT 35W, 2 LMI SE225CV's
    CorelDraw 4 through 11
    CarveWright
    paper and pencils

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Spokane Valley, WA
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    116
    Just....superlative.
    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" - anon

  13. #13
    I build musical instruments. Wouldn't even know where to begin on something like that. That is beautiful in every way!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Granada Hills, CA
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    316
    Another magnificent instrument!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Wolf View Post
    Ernie, is Chinoiserie a French from of decoration or is it Chinese?
    Richard,

    It's a Western (mostly European, at least originally) decorative style meant to evoke, if not exactly imitate, Chinese decorative forms. For centuries, the West has gone through periods of infatuation with various things Asian.
    Last edited by Frank Drew; 01-29-2013 at 2:29 PM.

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