Carefully selected timber is vital for the production of a truly exclusive keyboard. That is why we dedicate a great deal of time to the search for particularly expressive wood. Our timber is stored for around ten years. This extensive drying period ensures that the keyboard will not develop cracks later on. The residual moisture in the wood must be between 12 and 14 percent before it is ready for processing.
Once sufficiently dry, the timber is cut to size and planed several times until a thickness of around two centimeters is achieved. The founders of Gebr. Hentschel then decide which pieces of wood are destined for further processing on the basis of aesthetic considerations. Only wood featuring a particularly attractive grain, interesting color or pleasant haptic qualities are suitable to become Gebr. Hentschel keyboards.
Elaborate surface finish
At this stage the real craftsmanship begins, with the first of many meticulous processing steps. The wood is sanded back using up to fifteen different types of sandpaper with an increasingly fine grain. In between sanding, the wood is treated with a special tincture that regenerates the plant cells, enabling the surface to be made ever smoother. This process is repeated until the surface is perfectly flush.
Now the wood is ready for finishing. Various polishing pads and cotton cloths with increasing grades of yarn density are used to polish the surface by hand until it is silken to the touch. The wood is treated with high-quality wax designed to perfectly complement the particular species of tree. The natural wax not only provides lasting protection, but also produces a remarkable radiance that beautifully emphasizes the wood’s individual grain.
The final assembly of the components also takes place at our atelier in Berlin. The circuit boards are installed first and manually soldered in place. All 108 keys are individually positioned and mounted by hand. Last but not least, the back panel and casing components are firmly screwed together.
The characters are engraved onto the keys and the resulting grooves are hand-painted to ensure the markings will never show signs of wear like conventional keyboards. After the paint is applied to the letters, numbers and symbols using a very fine brush, the keys are expertly sanded to ensure longevity. The keys then spend twelve hours in a polishing drum before being finished off by hand.