“When working on a piece of wood, it’s vital to respect its individual character.”
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 eight years. This extensive drying period ensures that the keyboard will not develop cracks later on. The residual moisture in the wood must be between 8 and 10 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.
“A perfect surface is the result of patience and repetition.”
Now the real craftsmanship begins, with the first of many meticulous processing stages. 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.
“Lacquering is an ancient art; multi-layered and experimental.”
The art of lacquering has its roots in ancient India. Back then, the craft was based entirely on shellac, the resinous secretion of the lac bug. Since then, a variety of refined techniques and materials have been developed all over the world.
Traditional lacquering is becoming less and less common, yet we strive to preserve these techniques by cooperating with various bespoke suppliers from Asia, Europe and North America.
Before we apply lacquer to our keyboards, the casings are repeatedly sanded, primed and sealed. Numerous layers of lacquer are applied in a clean room, which ensures the outstanding intensity, depth and three-dimensionality of the colors.
Between five and seven layers of a special clear varnish are used to seal the colored layers and the surface is repeatedly sanded back between the various steps. The result is a flawless and hard-wearing surface that can be easily repaired even if it becomes severely scratched.
“Natural mineral dust is the main ingredient in our silky smooth keys.”
The keys are crafted from a special composite material that consists mainly of natural mineral dust. This makes the keys extremely durable and hygienic. Each key is individually milled out of a piece of solid sheet material.
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.
“Manual assembly requires exceptional accuracy.”
The final assembly of the components is carried out by our skilled craftsmen and women – not by machines.
This process requires exceptional accuracy and patience.
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.