Being reasonably competent with your hands, loving the Baroque, and loving your wife who already owns a nice spinet and who plays it quite passably - these by no means offer sufficient criteria to risk the months of self-torture and parading of one's ignorance that go with the building of a harpsichord for the first time.
The learning curve is damn near vertical. But when you're done - you and the instrument both - and your baby sings and is a sight for your very sore eyes, all is utterly forgiven. It is taking months for the post-natal depression to fade; my ability to bore our friends on the subject of harpsichords never will.
Forgive the hubris but I'm proud of what I've accomplished. On the other hand, for the most part all I did was follow instructions so I simply must say too how proud I am of the team at Zuckermann Harpsichords. The instructions are written with such clarity, humour and persuasion - and that's what you need if you are to make it through. They're accurate, too. Like the part where the instructions say "You must now paint like you've never painted before" or "Pricking your finger with the end of the wire while stringing is par for the course; but don't get blood on the soundboard". I'm sure I wasn't the first nor will I be the last to have wept with this show of love and sympathy.