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WORKSHOP NEWS: August 2014

Once again, I must apologise for the long delay in updating this ‘Workshop News’ page. This is a summary of the workshop activities since my last report, over three years ago:

I completed the ‘Mersenne’ clavichord, including a stand with barley-sugar twist legs, and the instrument is currently on loan to a player who is preparing to make a CD with it. (Watch this space for news). With Oliver Sandig, I restored a derelict instrument made by Ammer in around 1969 (an interesting exercise, despite the fact that the design was non-historical and the case was made of rather unimpressive GDR plywood). I also overhauled and re-strung a 1961 instrument by the late Hugh Gough for a private customer.

I restored, with the skilled help of Ben Marks, the 1925 Arnold Dolmetsch clavichord belonging to the Benton Fletcher Collection at Fenton House (this restoration was sponsored by the British Clavichord Society and the Dolmetsch Foundation). Ben also helped me with the overhaul of one of my own earlier instruments, a small German clavichord from 2003. I made a new stand for this instrument, and it is now in the Royal Academy of Music, London. Here is a picture of it on its stand in the workshop before leaving for its new home.

But it is (naturally) the current project that is arousing my keenest enthusiasm: this will be a new clavichord in walnut, based on the ‘Silbermann’ clavichord in Nuremberg, but with a cokmpass extended to g3 so as to be able to play all W. F. Bach's Polonaises. I am aiming to make this my best instrument so far, and I hope it will be complete by the end of the year.

To free up time for this and other future instrument-making projects, I have reluctantly decided to stop offering to make over-wound and twined strings for other makers. All current orders will be fulfilled, and I shall continue to supply individual strings as replacements for instruments made or re-strung by me, or where I have previously supplied complete sets.

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