Instruments from the workshop of


KNIGHT VERNON
Harpsichord Maker
 Authentic replicas of historic instruments, carefully made, and elegantly decorated

Construction:


These instruments are constructed of solid wood, having lightly built cases, which are framed according to the best of traditional techniques. These techniques are supplemented by the judicious use of hardwoods at points of greatest stress. An example is the use of hardwood gap spacers between the upper belly rail and the wrest plank. There are six of these, which become closer together in the treble where the strings are closer together and tension is concentrated. These gap spacers are let into the members they go between.

Wrest planks, which are made of hard maple, are veneered with quartered Sitka spruce on both top and bottom to equalize and reduce moisture absorption. The wrest planks are let into the case so that the tension of the strings is distributed uniformly throughout the entire instrument.

Carefully selected Sitka spruce of close grain is used for soundboards in our harpsichords. Musical instrument wood of top quality requires quarter sawing to produce the best tone. Soundboards for our instruments are made from perfectly quarter-sawn wood in which the growth rings are vertical with the surface of the wood. This results in soundboards, which are ideal in both structural and tonal properties.

After jointing these quarter sawn planks to produce a soundboard of correct size, the soundboard is cut to shape, carefully thicknessed, and gradually tapered by hand planing from the bridges to the edges of the case, thus increasing the resonance capacity of the board.

Ribbing techniques correspond with those used on the prototypes; spruce being used for ribs and cut-off bars. Ribs and cut-off bars are glued into notches cut into the liner to prevent cracks from forming in the ribbed area of the soundboard. The bridges and nuts are hand carved of beech, cherry or walnut and are tapered in both height and width.

The soundboard is treated in such a way as to form a crown under the 8' bridge. This crowning technique prevents the down-bearing of the strings from forcing the bridge into a trench. It also eliminates the problem of having the 4' bridge vibrating against the 8' strings.

This kind of construction results in an instrument, which not only obtains maximum tuning stability but also has an extremely alive sound in which the entire instrument is free to vibrate. The resulting tone is bright, full-bodied and evenly resonant throughout the entire range.