How We Make Harps
My new harp is everything I hoped it would be
and more. I just love it. I love to look at it, and
I LOVE to play it!! It sounds soooo beautiful.
I am busy playing songs I haven't played in
months and am inspired to work on new songs.
Thanks so much for blessing people with your
gift of harp making. - Vicky
Creating a harp:
We use local maple, walnut and
cherry woods. The walnut comes from our twenty seven acres of timber. When the
wood is ready to use, the parts of the harp are cut out of roughly, three
inch thick boards on the bandsaw. Plywood templates are used to outline
the harp parts for this step. Next the three quarter inch neck and pillar
halves are thickness planed for evenness and glued together with epoxy. They
have been cut about an eighth of an inch from the cut line and need to be shaped
and sanded. This is done on a shaper using the plywood templates again. If we
are in good form only a finish sanding will be required.
Now it's time for the sides,
base and top of the sound box. If we are building a square s.box we
will either resaw the side pieces which have been cut out using the same process as the neck
pillar or plane them to about a 1/2" thick. The base is angled, front and
back, to accommodate the soundboard and harp back. If we are building a round
back, several laminations of high figured
veneer are glued up on the mold.
The soundboard is extremely important to us as even a slight variation in
thickness or material can make the harp sing or not. We use a soundboard
backing of 1/8" finish Birch aircraft laminate
tapering it from 1/8th" to 1/16th" from bottom to top. Next, a perfect
of AAA Sitka Spruce is laminated vertically to the birch with Hide glue.
We use hide glue for it's
naturally brittle consistency which doesn't
compromise or dull the vibrations of the soundboard.
We have found after years of experimentation that this combination of
materials when tapered,
planed and sanded in just the right places creates an ideal, sound
quality. Bright ringing highs and midrange and deep resonant basses. The
whole harp sings with sympathetic overtones.
This is due in part to the fact that we can build a much thinner, more
responsive soundboard than
is possible using nothing but Sitka Spruce in horizontal sections. We make
cedar and red wood soundboards as well.