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Renaissance Workshop Company
The foremost manufacturer of early musical instruments worldwide

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Similar instruments -->  Cembalino | Harpsichord | Spinet | Virginal

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Finished & Kit RWC English Bentside Spinet


Spinets have always been a popular keyboard instrument possibly due to their attractive shape but more probably because they only require about six feet of wall space (a harpsichord needs extra for the player's chair).

A spinet will fit in almost any room and is ideal for domestic practice and accompaniment.

Octave spinets were portable keyboard instruments, widely used in private homes in Italy throughout the 17th and 18th centuries to accompany singing.

[more about the Spinets]




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Finished & Kit RWC Ottavino Spinet


RWC Spinets
The Renaissance Workshop Company produces two completely different spinets.

Our 8' English Bentside Spinet is a copy of a particularly fine spinet by Stephen Keene signed jointly with his former apprentice Charles Brackley. It dates from about 1718 and has a long bass octave rather than a broken octave, giving a full compass of GG - e'''.

We have copied the original in every detail, using solid walnut for the lid and sides, cedar for the nameboard, jackrail and internal veneer and spruce for the framing and baseboard. The instrument is almost a replica, and we believe that it sets a new standard for uncompromised design. No detail has been overlooked even down to casting the brass hinges from wax copies of the originals, or matching the faded colours of the marquetry panel. The spinet has an overall length of 178cm with a bass string length of 149cm, giving a sound equal to that of many full size harpsichords.

The instrument includes a matching walnut music desk, matching walnut turned stand and marquetry panel nameboard.

Disposition: Single 8' brass strung, 58 notes, GG - e'''. Size: 178cm long, 52cm wide, 19cm deep.

Our 4' Ottavino Spinet is based on a small spinet of Italian form, dated around 1595, in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum allowed us to make a close inspection of the instrument from which we prepared detailed working drawings. At less than 2 feet in length the Ottavino must be the original 'portable keyboard' and has proved to be a very popular travelling companion for recorder and viol players. The pitch, at 4', is an octave higher than larger 8' instruments and has a short bottom octave to keep within its compact size.

We use the best materials for the finished Ottavino Spinet. The inner casework is plantation grown mahogany with all the mouldings cut exactly as the original. The soundboard is planked from selected Swiss pine and the wrest pins and other hardware are of an historic pattern. The jacks are made from beech with holly tongues and have traditional hogs bristle springs. Both jacks and keys are weighted with the latter guided in a traditional slotted register. An attractive gold design is applied to the keywell to compliment the nymphs at either end. Strung in soft iron and brass.

The finished instrument comes complete with a lightweight carrying case.

Disposition: single 4', 45 notes, C/E - c''' (short bottom octave). Size: length 68cm, width 41cm, depth 10cm. Weight: 5kg (without carrying case)

Each instrument is entirely hand built to special order by in house craftsmen in our own workshops in Toledo (Spain) and comes with 12 months warranty.

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Detail of the nymphs and gold decoration in the RWC Ottavino Spinet


Spinet Kits
The same instruments are offered in kit form for home assembly. Our Spinet Kits build into ones of the finest instruments we have produced to date.

As in the finished, only the highest quality materials are used throughout.

The price includes the license to build one instrument for private use.

A fully dimensioned plan and instruction manual take the builder through the construction of the instrument in a clear and concise manner, with 'step by step' photographs further illustrating each stage.

All the kits Include free access to our customer 'Helpline' should you need any advice on construction, setting-up or playing.

The RWC 8' English Bentside Spinet Kit. Carefully selected seasoned timbers are used throughout so assembly can begin immediately. 'Swiss' pine for the soundboard is supplied planked, jointed and sanded to a thickness of only 2mm. The solid walnut casework sides have pre-cut mitred ends for accurate jointing and most importantly the bentside is supplied pre-bent and cleverly held to shape in a special jig. Matching walnut is planked and thicknessed for the lid. Cedar is quarter sawn for the nameboard, jackrail and internal casework veneer and like the original, the back, baseboard and bracings are cut from selected spruce. The wooden jacks have holly tongues ready to be fitted and the plectra are graded in thickness for ease of voicing. All the hardware parts, tuning pins, balance pins, hitch pins, bridge and nut pins, brass stringing and tuning lever are included to complete the kit.

A turned stand kit, marquetry panel kit and decorative hinge kit are available for the English bentside spinet as optional extras.

Turned stand for the English bentside spinet. A fine English style turned stand in walnut ready for final sanding and assembly. Cleverly designed to be easily dismantled for transportation.

Marquetry panel Kit for the English bentside spinet. Re-create the original marquetry panel. Our specially designed kit makes it easy to accomplish. This remarkable kit has all the correct layers of veneer assembled in the correct order so that one cut around the marked pattern with the veneer saw is all that is necessary to achieve a truly professional finish.

Decorative Hinge & lock Kit for the English bentside spinet. A fine detailed copy of the original Keene & Brackley brasswork including long and short strap hinges, fall lock and key and even a copy of the original tisserian chain and pin safety catch!

The Renaissance Workshop Company's 4' Ottavino Spinet Kit provides the perfect introduction for anyone wanting to learn about making keyboard instruments.

Only the best materials are used. The inner casework is mahogany with all the mouldings cut exactly as the original. The soundboard is prepared from selected spruce and the wrest pins and other hardware are of an historic pattern. The jack bodies are cut size and shape from beech with holly for the tongues and hogs bristle springs. Both jacks and keys have to be fitted with the lead weight provided. Also included in the kit are the materials for an Italian rose.

A transfer sheet of gold artwork for the keywell decoration is available upon request at extra cost. An outer carrying case is available as an optional extra and if ordered with the kit is used for packing the parts.

A unique gold transfer sheet especially for Renaissance Workshop Company based on the artwork of the original instrument. This really sets the instrument apart and is exceptionally easy to apply. It even provides the initials for any builder to be included in a modest oval in the centre of the design.

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Finished & Kit RWC Ottavino Spinet


Spinet Plans
You can make the same instruments from scratch, following detailed step-by-step instructions through the construction process in a clear and concise manner.

A fully dimensioned plan and a set of photographs illustrates each stage.

The price includes the license to build one instrument for private use.

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Finished & Kit RWC Ottavino Spinet


Spinet Accessories and Spare Parts

Lead wire to counterbalance keys and add weight to jacks.


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Copyright © 1999 Renaissance Workshop Company Ltd.
Last modification: 17 de septiembre de 2010
Phone & Fax:(+34) 91 450 30 50