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Marchand 1775 Hurdy Gurdy

Full-size drawings are now available for this instrument.

Building a Marchand HG

I hope to be able to reasonably cover the construction of a 'Vielle carreé' or 'square' hurdy gurdy, based upon a rather poor A4 drawing purporting to be a Marchand of 1775.
I have based a large part of the internal construction on Marcello Bono's Bosch model HG (see the Bosch HG page), and the rest is (I hope) good common instrument-making sense.
The two substantial end blocks, made of maple. These are 120mm deep, and their construction benefits from some sort of mechanical assistance.
The end blocks and the two straight ribs of 2.5mm maple, fitted and glued up.

The ribs are set into saw cuts as shown in the lower picture.

The white paper under the end blocks is so that the blocks can be removed from the building board without damage.

I am using animal (or bone) glue throughout, unless otherwise stated.
Marchand, blocks and sides

Marchand, rib fitting
All three back struts, of 18mm spruce.
The back struts are now in place, as are the lower linings.
This picture clearly shows the relatively flat curvature of the back, and the substantial curve built into the soundboard.
The body of the instrument, complete with the three front support struts in place, and their soundposts, and the front linings too.
The top block cut to take the two peg head supports - these are simple housing joints, using the back material to act as a 'stop' to the joints.
The two peg support pieces fitted, with a scrap piece of balsa to hold them parallel while gluing.
The wheel has also been fitted at this stage, as it will be impossible once the front is glued on.
Preparing the peg head, in two parts. This part is finished by continued carving.
The soundboard fitted apart from final finishing at the peg head. The glue wash around the soundholes is to help prevent the wood from splitting.
The half-housing joints in the peg head used to attach the peg head to the support struts and the keybox sides.
  The peg head fitted, and the two turned supports ready for fitting into the top block.

Note: the end part of these supports are square in section, where they fit to the top block.
  As above but fitted, and pegged into the top block.
  Pegbox sides fitted.
  The 'white' keys rough fitted.
  The two top nut bridges, both left unglued, and the extra side bridge to take the two lower drone strings.
  All keys and their tangents fitted.
  The alto drone (Mouche) bridge, above, and with the trompette fitted, below. Also in the upper photo is the peg set in the front to unhook the trompette string when not needed

  The main bridge and the lower drone bridge; all bridges are glued except the trompette.
  The tail block showing the 'S' crank on the shaft, the button for fitting the playing strap, and the holding block for the two lower drone strings.
  Handle, turned from apple, with a steel pin and phosphor bronze bearing inside.
  Completed instrument!


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Copyright © Nicholas Nourse, April 2003