Plans and Designs

The restoration of the Blunt spinet offered a rare opportunity for the original (including the interior structure) to be measured and recorded. A full-sized plan was drawn, and detail photographs taken.  These data will form the basis for this replica, which will be as accurate as possible.  However,  for an amateur builder, there are other options.  Three plans

I can recommend are:

 

 - From the Royal College of Music, a plan of their Anonymous 1708 spinet for £45.  This was the basis for my own successful spinet seen on the heading of the Spinet Page.  The original has the standard (for the time)  compass of GG - d3 with a short and broken octave in the bass.  For my own instrument I expanded it to GG, AA -f3 chromatic.  Trickier than it sounds - please chat to me if you fancy doing this!

  This one ''from the school of Stephen Keene' is very similar to the 1704 Blunt.

 

 

The famous Keene & Brackley

c. 1710 .  The compass of the original is GG,AA - d3, e3 as seen inthe picture, but the plan has added the two 'missing' sharps.  Marc Vogel Gmbh offer the plan of this one for €67.  The invaluable booklet by Peter Barnes,'Making a Spinet by Traditional Methods' is based on this instrument, and is obtainable from Amazon and elsewhere for about £15 (€20).  Rather than the broken octave of the one above, this one has a fully chromatic keyboard.

 

 

- From Edinburgh University (Russell Collection) the Hitchcock c.1728.  This is typical of the fully-developed English spinets of the eighteenth century, with a five-octave compass GG - g3.  

 It is possibly worth pointing out that the Hitchcock is quite a bit bigger than the '1708'.  Not surprisingly, the Keene & Brackley is in between the two!

There is, of course, another possibility.  The construction of all English spinets is basically the same, so if you follow the notes which will gradually be added to this page, you can design your own instrument.

It might help to start with a plan-view photograph of an original; many of these are published in books, catalogues, and on the internet.  

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© David Hackett