Building a hurdy gurdy: Part One (Fiona)

I’ve always loved building things from kits….. In the past few years I’ve made a clockwork clock out of paper and a stirling engine and orrery out of cardboard. I find things that turn and little cogs and clever mechanisms very exciting. So it was with great pleasure that I started out on my latest kit, building a hurdy gurdy. After all, how hard could it be? This one was going to be made from wood, not paper or cardboard, and there were lots of colour photos with the instructions. Well, as it turned out, the answer was ‘very hard’. But I’m proud to announce I’m nearly there. So here goes with pictures of the preliminary stages:

Jan 4th, 2014, having been gazing at the kit parts and instructions for several months, I finally took the plunge… and got Mike to do the drilling. (I hate drills, nasty loud buzzy things, ugh).

In this picture, Mike is putting in the decorative holes on the sides.


Gluing the sides of the box together. My kind next-door neighbour lent me some clamps. I haven’t made anything out of wood since school. And that was a pencil box. I got a B-.


OK, so this next stage was really boring. In fact, it took me many weeks of scraping to turn some small round holes into small square holes. I’d do it in the evenings, with my family all trying to watch TV. It became known as ‘scrapey scrapey’. I was REALLY glad when that bit was done.


Making the key sliders was much more fun. Minimal scraping involved. It was starting to feel like a real musical instrument.

photo-16photo-18The next stage was to glue on the base. Unfortunately, I’d allowed the wood to warp by leaving it exposed in a room with temperature and humidity changes. The base piece and the lid piece were now curved. So I took about a month off building while these pieces were flattened under heavy weights.

Work continues in Part Two.



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