Thanks for the suggestions Fred. If I do give it a go, it will not be outside tomorrow. 1 to 3" of snow expected! There might be some workspace in the garage.
Don McKechnie, RPT
I had my first session on the gap spacing repair on this Zuckermann. Interesting things were revealed! I wish I had the room at home in my workspace to do the work. It is not ideal doing this repair in a home.
I had my gap spacers all ready to go but the wrestplank threw me a curve. The back end of the plank is not square to the top and bottom. There is an angle going downward towards the front. Of course, I made square gap spacers. As you will note from the pictures there are gap spacers. The two wood spacers are original and the aluminum spacer was added some time after the harpsichord was returned from its visit to the Zuckermann shop in 2002. I intend to add spacers in the treble and bass just for security. Fred, as you mentioned on your remembrance of a gap repair, there is a groove in the wrestplank for the original spacers.
Note the pictures of the gap in the treble and bass ends. You can see how tight the gap is to the registers. Note especially the treble gap and the soundboard line. The soundboard line is quite uneven. When I removed the registers, it was obvious that the soundboard pushed forward a bit. By sanding the edge of the board and the belly rail I now have some space.
Removing the strings was necessary to gain access to the gap. So far, I am finding that it is impossible to reuse the 4' strings in the high treble. The tuning pins are the very small tapered type without becket holes. The 8' strings are tightening up so that was a relief. If anyone has suggestions on how to tighten the original strings on the thin 4' strings I would appreciate the help.
Note the picture of the treble side of the instrument. You can clearly see the cheek disease. You can see the repair for the cheek disease in the picture showing the brace that was added. Obviously, the case cannot be straightened out but the new brace has stabilized the instrument.
Frank, I agree that the work is best done in the workshop. Unfortunately I cannot take it in just now and the customer would like the work done sooner rather than much later. Just bad timing.
Given the type of tuning pins used on this instrument, it is not possible to just take down the tension just a bit to get the strings out of the way. The coils will come loose and in the case of the thinnest strings, they are next to impossible to get tight again; at least in any way I am able come up with.
Besides adding gap spacers, the edge of the soundboard and the belly rail need filing. I believe that is the current culprit in seizing the registers. I want to put gap spacers in the treble and bass just for insurance.