15 October 2013

Long time no see...

It's a long time ago that I wrote on this blog.

Nothing happened? ... As if!

In the beginning of September just after the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht I've attended the Medieval Keyboard Meeting and took part in the workshop using my organetto.

Very inspiring days with true experts on late medieval music and instruments. Also a lot of fun with absolutely wonderful people.

Of course the organetti of Stefan Keppler / Wolkenstayn were far superior.
I've got some useful hints for improving mine.

During the summer I was informed that my name reached the top of the waiting list of the viol-building course of CMB in Puurs. Starting for me at the 8th of september.

My first project was a 'Hommel' (don't know an English name for it). A wire-strung plucked instrument mainly used in folk music with its origin before 1600 (mentioned by Praetorius in his Syntagma Musicum)
Three unisono melody strings and 3 drone's (Dgd).
Finished last saturday.

Next project will be a discant after Pieter Rombouts (1708)

23 August 2013

Organetto carrier

An old backpack frame transformed in an organetto-carrier.
(The same of which I used the straps to try playing walking/standing)
I made a plywood support attached to the frame.

Of course I'll use some protective cover for real use but for the picture it is nicer without....

18 August 2013

Portative? Experimenting with belts

Would it be feasible to play my organetto standing/walking?

I've done some experimenting using straps from an ood backpack.

The waistband takes most of the weight, supported by a piece of would with a groove fitting the side of the organetto

10 September 2012

03 September 2012

Nearly there?

All parts assembled and more or less functioning

While trying to intonate the pipes I discovered that any small leak in the stop destroys the tone completely. Putting some soft tissuepaper around the pipes works for now.
Still have to solder some of the stops of the pipes in the upper octave.
The lower octave starts to work.

I'm experiencing a rather ennoying problem with the bellow. The gussets are a bit to large permitting the bellow to open a bit to far. Without any pressure the bellow opens and closes smoothely, but while under pressure the folds tend to plop outward. 

01 September 2012

bellow (4)

It took some time to discover the best form for the gussets (funny word. 'zwikkels' in dutch. Not a word one can find in a pocket dictionary...)
Tonight I fitted the other six. 

 And finally the top.

I hope all seams prove to be airtight tomorrow...

20 August 2012

Bellow (3)

Is Titebond at 33 degrees celcius 'hot glue'? It's definitely hot!
In spite of the heat I've made some progress

Bottom and sides of the bellows are ready.
Most dificult part is still to come. 
I hope the parts will fit together. Getting it air-tight won't be easy.

13 August 2012

Bellow (1)

I want to construct a bellows with multiple folds.
Designing it is not as easy as I thought/hoped.

My first experiments with cardboard and ducttape..

Not too bad but when the bottom is entirely unfolded the sides are not. 
One should be able to calculate the correct dimensions but I've not yet discovered how.....

11 August 2012


After mounting the pipeholder  I could determine that there is (just) enough space for the 25 pipes
The pipes will need quite a lot of work. Some of them are bent or dented and all of them have become dull over time. Polishing with some steelwool is easy, undenting and intonating! will be quite a bit harder. 
First I'll have to experiment on construction of the bellows and finish the keys.

08 August 2012

Valves (3)

All 25 valves and springs fitted (Still without felt and leather.....)

Valve springs

To be able to produce 25 equal valve springs I made a simple tool to bend the wire.
(A description of the tool can be found in Bouwbrief 91, p. 13/14:  Materiaal en Gereedschap 45: Hulpstuk voor het maken van speelklep veren. author: Johan de Vries)
Material used: 4 m. of spring steel wire of 1 mm diameter. Length of the legs 5 cm.
The steel wire is bent over a pin of 6 mm. (1 loop) by means of a lever.

 The ends are then bent with a small vise

The result: a pile of 28 springs

05 August 2012

The sides

Preparing the sides...
I don't have clamps the size of the width of the instrument so I use smallness of the cellar. 

03 August 2012

The valves (2)

Felt and leather not yet fitted but otherwise finished the valves
And glued dark pieces of nut on the chromatic  keys. Starting to look real!

02 August 2012

The valves (1)

The beginning of the valves very crudely sawn from old left-overs

Guidance pins mounted and the valves planed to shape
(Mind you, you're looking to the underside of the instrument to be....)

31 July 2012


The - short - keys:
Hope it will work.
At the back end turing on a bar on brass pins.
The keys will directly push the pins opening the valves below. I hope these push-pins will sufficiently eliminate lateral movement of the keys. 

13 July 2012


Oeps, made an error with the depth of the holes.
The air-ducts of the front-row of pipes should be in the upper layer, the back row in the bottom layer.
I did it the other way around.
Corrected that by plugging some holes after cutting the air-ducts with a router (width 10 mm, depth 12 mm)

10 July 2012

hundred holes

25 for the pins and the rest for the wind-holes.
Hopefully they all end in the right layer!
Iĺl use a router to cut the wind-ducts in the two layers.

08 July 2012

more preparations

This afternoon I've done calculating and drawing for the distribution of the pipes and the keys.

The sizes of the keys seem all right. 161 mm for 1 octave from C to B resulting in a total width of 245 mm.
Now the exact location of the push-pins of the valves is known next will be drilling holes for the push-pins and the vent-holes

25 pipes (almost) ready to use!

How lucky can one get....?

A friend of mine supplied a set of 25 lead/tin pipes ranging from C4 to C6 (closed)

that gives me a headstart.

I would preferably have used open pipes (prestant) but as these are available I take the easy way.
(If the whole project will be succesful what wil keep me from building another one with homebuilt prestant....?)

Next I've been collecting the other materials
The major wooden parts will be maple (sufficiently available in my storage). For the windchest and bellows I will also use plywood (Not visible from the outside....) and some metal parts (2.5 mm brass pins and 1 mm steel for the valve-springs)

For the keys I think I'll use maple as well, for the half-tones I can use dark pieces of nut (also sufficiently available in storage)

no strings attached

Almost a year ago the idea emerged to build a small portative organ.
Must be fun to own one and it certainly presents some new chalenges on the woodworking front.

My starting point has been the description on

For starters I have tried to build some open (prestant) pipes from pine-wood.
Wood was my first choice but iconography only shows instruments with metal pipes. So trying my soldering skills was inevitable.
I made one pipe (lead 1 mm. as used by the plumber. Too heavy but sufficient to test my skills)
While not totally hopeless this did not seem the best option.

28 August 2011

This weekend we had our annual medieval festival dedicated to the van Limburg Brothers.
After performing with our group 'de Speellieden van Gelre' I 've taken part in a small exhibition demonstrating the bigger part of my products of the last five years.
The fiddle is of course the most authentic of the bunch.

11 August 2011

No additions to this blog the last days, but some progress is made!

part one of the rose cut from pear
and part 2 cut from parchment.
The pattern printed on paper and glued on top of the parchment with removable contact-glue.
With light from below on a glass surface. With minimal pressure on the (sharp) knife you don't cut the glass resulting in a blunt knife-tip....

part one and two glued together

Linings in the body to support he joint with the top

Fitting the two bars

The result after shaping the bar-ends
And to complete the top the bridge (from rosewood) ....