18th-Century French Harpsichord
Woodworker: Charles Palmer
After seven years of piano lessons as a child, Palmer was introduced to J.S. Bach’s Baroque music and was hooked. He has built three harpsichords from kits since 1974 (he gave two away as gifts and sold one), but this is the first one he built from scratch, and it’s the one he’ll keep. It is a replica of a large 18th-century French double-manual (35 in. wide by 94 in. long by 11-1/4 in. tall without the stand), with the case and stand made of poplar. The soundboard is sitka spruce, and the keyboard is made of basswood, maple, ebony, pearwood, and bone. Palmer followed tradition and painted the harpsichord, using alkyd enamel and gold leaf. The elaborate soundboard painting is also typical of the period and was painted by Brad Clement.