Building an ottavino

A film (in French) following the harpsichord builder Yannick van Hove in his workshop in Switzerland as he builds an ottavino:



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Featuring Titebond, my favourite glue! :slight_smile:

Let the Great Glue Debate awaken once more. :slight_smile:

Yes, I was surprised to see that too. In the film he says that he uses a glue made from bone and antlers but with a synthetic binding agent (and then the Titebond appears).

I wonder how many makers spend time tapping their soundboard woods before choosing which piece to use for a particular instrument. I know of some luthiers who just take the next piece in the pile (of pre-selected tops) but still produce outstanding instruments.


i came across the Wikipedia entry for Lautenwerck and was dumbfounded that the pictures are of instruments that even looks like a lute.

Is there a historical basis for this?

If not, anybody up to fixing the entry?

Bruce Jacobs

Saint Paul

Thanks, Matthew.

I was also surprised to see him use carbon fibre plectra in the bass.
This is the first I heard of such plectra. What are the advantages over
delrin and, especially, feather?

It looks like Celcon to me (which is much softer and smoother to cut than Delrin - it almost has a ‘buttery’ feel to it).

I don’t know whether there is a connection but fluoro-carbon (polyvinyliden fluorid) serves to make strings which are widely used to replace gut strings on lutes and particularly theorboes (they have a higher density than nylon and so one can use thinner gauges for the long basses) and I have seen them give convincing results on a small Italian harpsichord (without the tuning issues with gut when it is subjected to variations in hygrometry).