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Forte-Pianos

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Italian polygonal virginal after Pertici (1684) by Matthew Redsell (Toronto) 1980.

Asking $4,000 CAD which is approx $3,850 USD / £1,890 GBP / € 2,790 / $ 41,300 MXN / ¥ 469,000 JPY at time of listing (please check current conversion rates at the Universal Currency Converter*) plus shipping from Toronto ON and applicable taxes & duties. Qualifies as duty-free in the US, Canada and Mexico under NAFTA. Interested? E-mail Claviers Baroques, phone us at 1-888-597-0946 or Skype us at claviersbaroques Skype Me™! .

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Note from Claviers Baroques -- When we first saw this instrument in May 2007 it had been stored for some time and was not playing well -- sticky keys and a few broken strings. The case was dusty and the stand had some mildew damage. But mainly there was an *alarming* soundboard crack. The owner told us he had purchased it that way and that he did not think it affected the sound. We didn't see how that could be, so entreated him to let us fix it first. Repair photos are below.

 

We removed the keyboard to clean it and free up the sticky keys. We investigated inside the instrument with a small digital camera through the keyboard opening to see if we could find out more about the long crack on the soundboard. In addition to the soundboard crack, this is what we found:

[above] Nasty soundboard crack *before* the repair. You can see that one of the soundbars is cracked as well, right where the soundboard is split. The bridge above the crack had pulled away, too. That abolutely *had* to effect the tone and sustain of the instrument.

[below] We didn't want to do a spline because it would uglify the soundboard painting, so we opted for edge-gluiong with iternal reinforcement. We propped the soundboard up from the inside to force the edges of the split together and glued them with hide glue.

[above] Apparently someone had attempted to repair the crack some time in the past, but the repair didn't hold as the paper patches tore through (not surprisingly). The historic method of reinforcing repairs like this was hide glue reinforced with a piece of cloth, cotton or linen being the usual choice. We use silk and hide glue. Den calls it 17th century fiberglass.

[below] We wedged temporary props all along the length of the split. When the glue set we will reinforce the join with silk and more hide glue.

[above] To keep the split level we apply downward pressure from the top. These are 'go-bars', strips of springy wood, oak in this case, wedged between the ceiling and the soundboard.

[below] Even in a bright light you can hardly see where the crack was.

[above] Close up. Crack is held closed while the glue sets. Hide glue is stronger than wood, so we aren't worried that it will ever come apart.

[below] Tada! Nearly invisible soundboard repair..

[above] The bridge had separated from the soundboard at the split, so we reglued that, too. Go-bars hold the bridge down while the glue sets.

[below] We put a temporary prop underneath to support the bridge from below, too..

[above] As well as holding the parts together, hide glue forms an excellent acoustic joint -- very important on an instrutument.

[below] We added small buttons underneath the bridge to secure it; the repair is holding well.

[above] The case needed some clean-up. The stand is 'after', the pegs in my hand are 'before'.

[right] A bit of steel wool, linseed oil and elbow grease and it's back to good as new.

[below] There was a piece of moulding broken off the lid. We made a duplicate in maple to replace it and stained it to match the originals -- maybe you can tell if you know it's there and look really, really hard. But we doubt it.

So why are we telling you all this? Well, because, if you are thinking of buying it, we think you should know a bit about its history, and to point out that like any good instrument, this virginal is a *long-term* investment. Unlike many modern items, it is designed to be repaired and maintained indefinitely. I mean, do you think that those Stradivarius violins have never been in a repair shop in 300 years? And even if you are not thinking of buying it, we thought you might find it interesting to see what goes on inside a virginal. We are very proud of our repairs, and we think this instrument is well worth good maintenance. Good wood, good joints, good glue -- they can be made to last nearly forever.

 

Note: the Universal Currency Converter will convert Canadian $ to to whatever currency you like, but be aware that this is a commercial (ie, large volume) mid-market (somewhere between buying and selling) rate. Current actual consumer rate to buy Canadian dollars from a bank of financial institution will be slightly *more* than calculated by the Universal Currency Calculator. But not a lot -- maybe one cent on the dollar, two cents tops. If you would be using a credit card or PayPal transfer, the rates are here. There may also be additional fees or service charges for handling foreign currency.

Asking $4,000 CAD which is approx $3,850 USD / £1,890 GBP / € 2,790 / $ 41,300 MXN / ¥ 469,000 JPY at time of listing (please check current conversion rates at the Universal Currency Converter*) plus shipping from Toronto ON and applicable taxes & duties. Qualifies as duty-free in the US, Canada and Mexico under NAFTA. Interested? E-mail Claviers Baroques, phone us at 1-888-597-0946 or Skype us at claviersbaroques Skype Me™! .

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last updated August 17, 2007