Spinet Braces Attached

Hello all:

Next phase of the spinet is complete.  I’ve glued and nailed the tulip poplar triangular knee braces into the interior of the case.  Follow the captions on the photos (don’t forget to click on them for closeup views) for the explanations of what’s happening.

Where we are headed:

Knees in place, ready.

Brush hot hide glue on the knee. Both surfaces are end grain, I sized them with thinned glue and water 5 – 10 minutes before the real act.


The knees are angled into notches cut into the bent side liner while butting on top of the bottom braces.  As you will see…

Glue goes into the bent side liner notch…

…and glue on the top of the bottom brace.

The knee is pressed home, the nails already in the knee, thus indexing the block into position by the pre-drilled holes for the nails.

Nails are driven home in the liner and the bottom brace ends. Note the artful use of the hammer, ha ha!

Another view: the tail knee pressed home, all surfaces covered in glue, nails positioning the block in place.

Tail knee liner nail being driven home.

Nailing the tail knee in place into the bottom batten.

I hate nailing, so much pre-drilling, all the worry about splitting….

Now for the finished knees in place:

The three knees installed, this photo taken with flash.

The same image as before, without flash.

Close view of the three knees in place.

Okay, that completes pretty much the case frame assembly phase.  I now have a choice of what to do next:  soundboard, keyboard, bridge and nut, cap veneers, front panel veneer work.  Decisions, geez….

Thanks to Kaare for taking the process photos while I worked.  Cool job, fellow worker.
Best to everyone.


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4 Responses to Spinet Braces Attached

  1. Dave Ray says:

    Thanks for the pix and the explanation of what your doing. Looking Fwd to your decision as to what to complete next

  2. Roderick Drumgoole says:


    First, thanks for taking the time to post your progress. I don’t think I will ever build a Spinet, however, I am a huge fan of the process and the details as these carry over to many items. A few questions:
    1. How do you keep up with the “math” regarding the various angles as the base (bottom batten) along with the knee blocks appear from the pictures to be extremely “tight” in their fit?
    2. You made the following comment in one of your captions:
    “Both surfaces are end grain, I sized them with thinned glue and water 5 – 10 minutes before the real act.”
    Would you mind elaborating a little further – not quite sure I understand. I do use hide glue exclusively and understand end grain gluing (no strength), but just want to understand more.

    BTW, it is refreshing to hear about your “struggles” with nailing. Keep posting, there are many of us out here who are learning and being encouraged within the process.



    • Hi Roderick,

      Sorry for the delay. The angled shape of the knees derived from the old Aston spinet. I systematically chiseled out the notches in the liner, marked from the knees directly, trial and error fitting, actually goes rather fast. The important aspect is that the back corner of the knee must butt the side of the case under the liner to prevent any excess wobble, while the notch fit comes together as well. Tricky, but doable. The old spinet had a couple of shims in this construction and frankly, so do I. The kerfing on the liner broke open the edges of two notches. It happens, but they fit tight now with the shimming. My motto: make it work….
      On the end grain surfaces, I merely brushed on a thin size of hide glue on those surfaces, let it soak into the end grain, wipe off excess after a few minutes. Wait at least 10 – 15 minutes for everything to dry, then do the actual glue job. It seems to help, though of course, end grain joints lack strength, as you say. The grain of the knees parallels their top edges to add strength to their buttressing of the bentside so it will not cave it under string tension. Thus end grain on the joint with the bottom batten is unavoidable.
      Hope this helps. If not, ask again. Best. Ed

  3. James says:

    I really enjoy these updates, thanks guys.
    Will you also post the finishing process? I have some questions regarding the finishing process in your shop. Again thank you.

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