Richard Kingston tongues

Hi, everybody.

I’m looking for replacement tongues for a 1980s Richard Kingston harpsichord. I haven’t called his old shop phone number yet, but I assume that it is no longer monitored. Does anybody have any ideas? Photos of the jack/tongue design at link below.

Link 1:
Google Photos
Link 2:
Google Photos



In this period, it’s 3D printing, for sure. Not a difficult job for somebody or some firm with the gear.

Surprisingly his website seems to still exist, although the list of current models is dated 1999.

Complete with phone number. You may get lucky.

I shall call tomorrow. But I don’t have high hopes.

And I have no experience with 3D printing…

That’s not what I meant, and very expensive to buy and set up the equipment. I meant, get a service to do it. There are hundreds of such now. I think there are some list members that can do it.

If the jacks and tongues are delrin, reproducing them in delrin is a little more challenging. Many hobby 3D printers cannot maintain a high enough temperature to properly extrude delrin. The more expensive ones can ($500 and up, last time I looked). A commercial firm might be able to. I would also worry that the tongues would not be a uniform as molded ones. I could be wrong. ZHI sells a several types of jacks. Have you tried them? I would give Richard Auber a call.

Ah! I see. Thanks!

Not necessary to use Delrin for tongues. And besides, as said, I am not talking about hobbyists, or buying a printer for a one off job like this.

And now you have brought it up, I think the best upgrade you can make for a harpsichord is to go to wooden jacks. There are many suppliers.

Thank you, Gregory. Adam Hou from Zuckerman says that he thinks that they have them.

Yes, Andrew, you are of course right about wooden jack upgrades. But I have done that before, and it opens up many cans of worms. Will one also replace the guides? Then will one want to switch to quill? And then one starts tinkering with the keyboards. And…

For now, I’m just wanting to get the instrument playing to do an initial assessment of its musical value. It’s been donated to my university, and it has been long, long neglected. If it seems like it will “open up” nicely, then I might contemplate more elaborate restoration.

Zuckerman stocks old Kingston tongues? I am astonished.

Me, too. I’ll report back if I actually end up with some from ZHI.

Immediate update: Claire Hammet informs me that Kingston left his collection of drawings and parts to Richard Auber. So it looks like ZHI is indeed the source.


Well now. That explains it.

hi jonathan.

i’m not sure about this - and please forgive me if my response seems completely off - but except for a stem attached to the
lower end of the tongue, yours looks very similar to the hubbard tongues. i wondered whether simply getting hubbard tongues and snipping off the stem would work?


Dear Vivienne,

The tongues bear a resemblance to the Hubbard tongues, but they are not the same. They have perfectly round “shoulders” as axles, with a fat circle at the base of the jack sides and a smaller circle that actually goes into the jack body. Various parties have confirmed that it’s not possible to modify Hubbard tongues to work.

But it does appear that both ZHI and HCH might have replacement tongues. And someone else has reported success with replacing the tongues with wire springs. So I seem to have options!


Dear Jonathan,

In a different thread we’ve been discussing 3D printing of jacks and tongues. I’ve been printing my own Hubbard parts because of lack of inventory availability. So, if all your other options fall through, I might be able to help. However, I’d need very precise measurements, or a broken tongue shipped to me. I presume what you showed in the pictures was one that had lost its “tail”. So, an exact measurement of the spring length, perhaps along with a pic of a wholesome tongue, would be helpful. Just let me know.
As Vivienne noted, those springs look a lot like Hubbard’s, so it would be very easy to adapt the CAD model to the Kingston’s.

Good luck!

Thank you for this generous offer, Roberto! I may well take you up on it if other options fall through. I want to provide the university with a stock of spare parts. It would certainly be easy to ship a tongue (with spring “tail” intact) to you, or an entire jack assembly.


Are you seeking to replace tongues simply because the return spring has broken off? If so, just glue a short length of harpsichord wire to the back using CA glue (“krazy glue”) and bend it to get the necessary tension.

Why throw out an otherwise usable tongue?

Hi, Boris.

My university has just had a Kingston double donated to us. It has been sorely neglected. Yes, some springs are broken, but some tongues are also missing entirely. So I have to get some replacements.

I’ve seen the wire spring idea, and I hear that one builder has done something slightly more sophisticated than crazy gluing a piece on there.