Hubbard Harpsichords

Is Hubbard completely defunct?

The website is still running, such as it is, so somebody must be paying monthly fees to keep that alive. They don’t run for nothing, generally (or maybe hosted free at some university?) The domain name hubharp.com is registered until 2027 according to a whois lookup, but this means nothing as people often take long leases on domain names to avoid losing them by neglect.

Hello Andrew,

It always take a lot of time before they reply and you’ve to insist several times. At least that was my experience 2 years ago.

When you download the price list, it dates from 2007…

Have a nice week,

Chris.

Dear Andrew

I’ve had no response from Hendrik Broekman since June 2018, and many customers have been asking me the status of Hubbard. Perhaps the Hubbard website hosting has been paid for some period in advance, as you’ve find the domain name expiry?

Regards

Carey

I know. I am tempted to say that’s not really very up to date. Indicative of complete neglect? Funny that there does not seem to have been any public notice of cessation of business. On same gravestones in 19c England you can read “Only Sleeping”. Perhaps the same?

The website expires on 2027-02-02.

No., that’s incorrect. The domain name registration expires on that date. That has actually nothing to do with the website except that it points to it. It’s independent. The whois data does not tell us about the website or the business, but it is interesting. For example, I have used a different domain name for this new forum.

As anybody who runs a business for a long time knows, there comes a day when you realize it is time to do more of what makes you happy in life. Small businesses are extremely time consuming. Henrik is essentially retired and occupying himself with things that make him happy. He may or may not reply to requests.

Thank you Anne for this. It’s still somewhat odd that there appears to have never been any announcement about winding down the business, and many people keep asking this question, are they still going, not just me (in fact I am asking on behalf of somebody else). And why keep the website going?

May be time to shut up shop and put an end to this FAQ on the part of hubharp. It’s at the point where it is misleading.

Are you saying that building harpsichords was not what made Hendrik happy in life? I can’t imagine you mean that.

Just so you know that I am an old (literally) customer of Hubbard Harpsichords, having Franks kit #625 as of 1973 I have gotten all my replacements from them without trouble. But in the fall of 2018 I needed new plectrum leather and received no response, though I tried email and the phone. About Jan/Feb of 2019 I found the address and phone number for a neighbor (same street side) and called for information about Hendrik. The lady of the house answered and said: He is in the garden; whereupon I immediately called his home and got in contact with him. He only admitted to: Yes I was gone for a while and it sounded like he had taken a longer trip (see Anne Acker’s perception above). I received my leather forthwwith.
Because I used that register very muchlately I needed more in the fall of last year, and I went unsuccessfully through the same routines and more: I wrote to the business location through the postal service, the letter came back as address unknown. The letter I had written to his home never came back. I located a new neighbor across the street from him-the previous neighbor could not be reached by phone-and wrote to him/her, no answer, I have written to the town’s chamber of commerce, to no avail.
Thus I have entertained the reason for the “disconnect” as being rather serious, namely that his first “absence” in 2018 may have been a serious medical condition, with his second “disappearance” being even more serious. He was always so prompt and considerate that I have a hard time thinking that Hendrik would not have made some arrangements for Frank Hubbard’s legacy to continue in some respectable form for continuation if he had not been under very strong pressure.

So anyway, has anyone been successful in contacting Hubbard harpsichords? I’ll probably need a bunch of jacks if I accept a repair job.

I just heard yesterday that Harpsichord Clearing House, harpsichord.com, is now carrying Hubbard parts.

Dear Mr. Vandekerkhove.

Before I initiated the question regarding the existence/continuation of Hubbard Harpsichord earlier this year I had been in communication with harpsichord builders in the western US about suppliers of plectrum leather. I did not retain all the contacts, but I seem to recall that your name had come up as one who had investigated the suitability of various leather products and found that a supplier in England had meet with your approval. Am I at the right address here?
I had searched for a supplier and had contact with JR Leather in Germany wo has/have a very good reputation for fist class sole leather, but their leather was a bit thinner thinner than the British company’s, J&FJ Baker. Do you have a reliable source?

Thanks for raising the question again re the supply of Harpsichord parts. I’’ have to follow up on that.

All the best and keep well.

Wolfgang Knauss

PS. Do you have an email outside of the Jackrail?

Dear Mr. Knauss,

I’m afraid I can’t help you with a leather supplier in England. Did you try the leather from Vogel in Germany: https://www.vogel-scheer.de/en/auxiliary-material/5-2-skins/

You can always contact me offlist via: chris.vandekerkhove@gmail.com

Have a nice weekend,

Chris.

I confirm here that the Baker tannery has supplied me with excellent traditionally oak-bark tanned leather, cow shaved bend if memory serves. I have made a a pluck-o-meter to do some rigorous tests, comparing other types sold for our purpose. Most other leathers were rather short-lived, but the Baker’s I stopped torturing after half a million plucks, and the plectrum said to me:is that all you got, bring it on, I can take it! Since it is a vast investment timewise for me and therefore for the client financially, you really want the stuff to last. One thing: their first question was how many pallets of the stuff I would order? In the end I could convince them to sell me a few square feet if I paid with a credit card.

Sincerely, Martin Spaink

Is anyone here skiving leather to meet the thickness needed? I have looked into the possibility, and find there is a wide range of possible tools and techniques. I would like to hear from someone who does it, tool(s) used, and a description of techniques. I only occasionally replace a few leather plectra, but find that having precisely the right thickness is step one, and the leather supplies I have are almost never a precise match. If I were better at it, I might volunteer to releather a set of jacks rather than do spot replacements.
I suppose what I am rmostly after is technique to get small bits/strips of leather to the right thickness. For releathering a whole harpsichord, other techniques and tools might be more efficient.

Dear Mr. Spaink.
Thank you so much for responding and refreshing my memory (wich had lost your name during the past year). I am especially interested in your sharing with me the results of the tests that you performed for assessing the durability of various leathers. I hope others under Jackrail will benefit from that also.
Thank you also for softening up the Baker firm to sell small mounts (not cheaply) but selling less than a hide; I received a small amount, also.

May I write to you a little late reading cutting the least into strips of precise width?

Keep well.
WGK

martinspaink
September 18

I confirm here that the Baker tannery has supplied me with excellent traditionally oak-bark tanned leather, cow shaved bend if memory serves. I have made a a pluck-o-meter to do some rigorous tests, comparing other types sold for our purpose. Most other leathers were rather short-lived, but the Baker’s I stopped torturing after half a million plucks, and the plectrum said to me:is that all you got, bring it on, I can take it! Since it is a vast investment timewise for me and therefore for the client financially, you really want the stuff to last. One thing: their first question was how many pallets of the stuff I would order? In the end I could convince them to sell me a few square feet if I paid with a credit card.

Sincerely, Martin Spaink


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wgk Wolfgang Knauss
September 18

Dear Mr. Vandekerkhove. Before I initiated the question regarding the existence/continuation of Hubbard Harpsichord earlier this year I had been in communication with harpsichord builders in the western US about suppliers of plectrum leather. I did not retain all the contacts, but I seem to recall …


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Wolfgang G. Knauss
Theodore von Karman Professor of
Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, emeritus
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena CA 91001

626 395 4524 Phone — Office
626 798 3793 Phone — Home
626 797 0405 Fax — Home

Hi Fred,

There are tools made specially for working with leather. I would suggest that you have a look at them and see which is most fitted for the job. If you search the Internet for “leather working tools” you should easily find a shop.

Enjoy your weekend,

Chris.

I have found bookbinding suppliers provide just the right tools and quite nice goatskins, Moroccan leather, etc as well. I use a professional skivver as well as a skivving knife from Mechlinger.