The Spinet Page

  Perhaps these have always been my favourite instruments, but please don't tell my Square Pianos!

 

  Relatively few original spinets turn up at auction, and prices are beyond the reach of most of us.  However, it is not too difficult to make a decent spinet, and I hope that this page will aim to encourage people to have a go.  There used to be reasonably-priced kits available: the best were the Early Music Shop's 'Keene & Brackley', and the freelance designs of John Storrs.  The EMS one is still available from the Paris Workshop, but is expensive.  The plan alone is more affordable.

 

  Other plans are available, notably from the Royal College of Music (the basis for my own spinet above) and from Edinburgh.  

 

   For any queries, or just to show interest, please contact me, David, on friends.sp@btinternet.com

Spinet For Sale

We will be happy to feature spinets (as well as plans, parts, or kits) that may be offered for sale, and here's the first of them:

Robert Goble 1955

The seller writes:
 
Goble Spinet for sale, 1955.  This is an important early instrument by Robert Goble, and has historical significance in terms of the early music revival. It has been fully restored (three years ago) by the Early Keyboard Agency, by a craftsman who worked for Goble at the time it was built. It has a beautiful walnut case, is of solid construction, like all Goble instruments, and is signed on the soundboard by Robert Goble. The original keyboard has ebony naturals and ivory topped sharps, and unusually, there is an inscription on the board over the keyboard.  It has wooden jacks and leather plectra, and makes an lovely sound, and is ideal for continuo or domestic use. Owned by a professional musician, it is in very fine playing condition.
 
FF-f’’ 61 notes
1x8’, buff and halfstop pedals
 
£4,250 or very near offer.
 
Please contact:
Malcolm Archer
01962 870094
07872 631406

Friends Spinets

  It's always nice to know what other people have done, and to share knowledge, challenges, and successes.  So on this page we will be featuring instruments made by Friends.  Thanks to Andrew Nolan for contributing the first of these, an English Spinet with an Australian accent.

  This fine spinet is based on the Longman & Broderip spinet (made by Culliford) which is in the collection of the Royal College of Music, London. 
  Andrew writes:  "I used a 'plan'  picture of the L&B spinet (from the RCM Brochure) along with the dimensions and scaling details from the RCM site and made a drawing on the baseboards. I worked out the vertical dimensions starting with the length of a surplus set of jacks I had. 
  "The original has upper and lower guides but he decided to go with a box guide built up from blocks. I used Tasmanian myrtle which is similar to pearwood in being a fine grained timber which is able to be planed to a smooth slippery surface. The blocks were cut out to match the jacks I had, using a bandsaw with fences for depth of cut and position of cut.
  "The bottom and framing are spruce (known here as 'Baltic pine').  The sides back and pinblock are American oak. This oak bends easily when heated.  The external veneer is Tasmanian Blackwood, fiddleback and plain for crosbanding. The keywell and inside the rim is Tasmanian myrtle, with mapa burl (poplar I believe) for the lighter bits.  The solid cabinet work -lid stand etc is Tasmanian Blackwood.  The soundboard is recycled spruce from an upright piano. Nut and bridge from Euro beech.
  "The stringing is in iron with similar scaling to a Kirckman but the plucking points are a bit higher giving it the flutey spinet tone. The instrument had been used to accompany arias for the Handel Messiah in a large church, quite effectively." 
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© David Hackett