CLAVIERS BAROQUES Information Report, the crate
Wittmayer Clavichord shipment WO 409 for Mr. Gordon S--------- updated March 5 , 2003

This is the crate which was built for your clavichord #30 in the Kurt Wittmayer shop in about 1950. I believe it exceeds present-day home building standards in most countries and constitutes an important historical and cultural artifact in its own right.

  • The crate weighs about as much as the clavichord but as woodworkers we have to admire its relentless craftsmanship. My husband suggests it also reflects European post-war angst, as it appears to be built to withstand dire conditions I can't even imagine, like simultaneous earthquake, flood, and aircraft assault.

  • The slats in the crate sides are splined to each other and dovetailed into the case ends. You'd be hard-pressed to find such fine work even on an instrument, these days. As crates go, this is definitely a Mercedes.
  • Important note: The previous owner had saved several of the original screws, but most of them were badly bent. We used the ones that were still good, though, it seemed only right. The new screws are mostly our Canadian standard Robertson (square socket) and since I don't know if you can get the such screwdrivers in Europe I have included a Robertson bit (a little stripped, sorry), it is in the "Documents" package taped to the outside. You should be able to use it in any electric drill or screwdriver, or even a bit-and-brace, it should just chuck up like a regular drill bit.

[below] You can see the huge hand-cut dovetails on the right-hand edge of the crate end. In person you will be able to see where the builder made his scribe line across the dovetails -- we are in awe. We did a little repair to a corner where one of the dovetails had popped out, that's a pipe clamp holding it while the glue sets. Mabon the Wondercat supervises, as he often does, especially if a box is involved.

[right] Neferkiti checks our wrapping job. We've swathed the clavichord in plastic film to keep it from getting too dried out in the baggage compartment, which is probably unpressurized. It's not air-tight, but it will temper the humidity changes.

[below] Neferkiti wants to go to France... No, 'Kiti, get out of there, that's the space for the legs.

[right] We've sealed up the crate, inventoried the cats (all six and the bunny accounted for) and here it sits in the hall, waiting for the truck to take it to the airport to sunny France -- did I tell you we had 15cm of snow on Monday?

It took three people -- Den, Dawn and the hapless driver -- to load it on the truck. He wanted to know if it was a safe.

Goodbye, goodbye! Keep in touch!

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