Celtic Harp Construction
Recently I was asked to build a harp by a member of the traditional Irish group in which I play, and when I agreed, it became apparent that another member of the group had also always wished to acquire a harp. So I committed myself to building two. Both finished. As with the mandolins, I took photos during the construction, and this section is a record of that learning experience! Some of the problems I had with the first, I managed to avoid with the second.I chose to build the harp from the plans only, sourcing the wood locally. For what it would have cost to buy the wood WITH the plans and ship it, I could have bought a finished harp, so I ordered only the plans, strings and hardware. Also, because I only intended to make 2, I did not want to buy a lot of specialised equipment that perhaps would not be used there-after. (Not to mention the expense and lack of space!!) So I have attempted to build these with only the hand tools found in a typical workshop, a router, and a bandsaw for the heavier cutting.
Problems and solutions are dealt with in the following sections.
|Pillar & Arm||Finishing|
|The first problem was to find plans for a harp, having never made one before. I decided to tackle a lap harp, as being of a realistic size to start on, whilst still giving more than two full octaves range.||
Eventually I found a set of plans at 'Musicmaker's Kits' in the States, which had the added advantage that they also sold the hardware for the harps and the strings as well.
It was a good place to start, but the plans have not been without their problems?!
| The harps started
off like this, several rough-cut planks of maple and walnut, from the
local saw mill, about 30mm thick. I decided also, to use a couple of
old maple neck blocks, which were a bit thicker, for the arm and pillar
of the first. I also needed guitar topwood for the sound boards and
backwood (maple) for the backs.
With all the pieces roughly finished apart from the soundboard and back, it looked like this.