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DragonFly Harp #9: 2/12/2011 Harp and Stand Roughed Out

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Blog entry by Donna Menke posted 02-19-2011 09:54 PM 2276 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: 1/25/2011 Sound Box Completed Part 9 of DragonFly Harp series Part 10: Continuing Saga »

Seventeen days- long time between posts. I meant to make a break between the harp and stand constructions, but they kinda ran together. First, here is what happened to the harp:

I used my trusty Jet 14” band saw with a nice new 3/4” Timberwolf blade to cut out the pillar, neck, and neck reinforcement using 1 7/8” thick cherry wood.

This is what they looked like when all cut out. Then I needed to make holes in them for dowels to reinforce the pillar/neck joint.

These are 3” long, 1/2” diameter redheart dowels set into the holes, but not glued. Nothing will get permanently glued until much later.

Once the pillar and neck were aligned with the harp I could make a temporary attachment of the bottom of the pillar to the base of the harp with a big screw. This will help to hold everything together.

The ebony dowel meets great now with the harp body and the neck.

Here it is altogether- whew! I am happy that everything looks like a decent fit- so far.
The harp is just roughed out- lots of work needs to be done, but I’m going to switch over to the stand now because I know that if I don’t bring it along at the same rate as the harp- it will never get done.
Time spent on harp to the end of January: 13 this time, 86 total.

HARP STAND
The angles on the stand are tricky, to say the least. The shelf holds everything together, so it is most critical that it be accurate. Chicken that I am I decided to make it in pine wood first.

Even that wasn’t easy, but when everything fit together well I felt better about committing my precious cherry wood.

There was a lot of fine tuning needed to get the cherry legs to fit with the shelf, but I had to get a firm fit there in order to figure out how to make the top of the stand.

Making the holes straight up and down for the pegs to go through the top of the stand was quite a feat. Here I’ve arranged the nice new angle gauge to the correct angle, and this will go to the drill press for drilling. . . except I have it angled wrong! Good thing hubby came by to help me to hold it steady for drilling. He noticed that I was going in the wrong direction. Saved by the hubby.

Here I’m using a hand drill to drill through the top of the stand into the base of the harp. This is for the brass pins to be able to hold everything in alignment. I got everything crooked, but managed to straighten them out enough and yet not poke through the sides of the wood. It is nothing short of a miracle. I shudda made a jig for the drilling. Live and learn.

This is the roughly completed harp and stand in cherry. The stand tusk tenon pins are in basswood here, but they will be cherry for the finished project.

Lest you think that the harp is nearing completion, here is a close-up of the harp base- not very refined yet. Edges need a lot of shaping- not sure what I’m going to do yet.


Here up at the top the reinforcement will need a lot of carving to get to the shape I have in mind. Good- I like the carving parts of this job.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve spent 41 hours on the stand. Added to the 86 harp time that makes 127 hours on the project so far.
Keep in mind that this is a prototype- no plans to work from, so everything is experimental and takes more time- and I’m slow.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!" www.woodworks-by-donna.com



12 comments so far

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3735 posts in 2485 days


#1 posted 02-19-2011 11:35 PM

Looks great! Very ambitious undertaking!
I have, back in my dusty archives, a set of plans for a full-size harp. It’s really the only woodworking plans I’ve ever bought. It requires the purchase of several “Fender” guitar tuning heads. When I bought the plans back in the 80’s, there was no way really to find used Fender parts, but now they are quite common on eBay, seems like everyone wants to upgrade their tuning heads. But… the cheapest price I could find for a set of strings was like, $800!! Yikes, I’d figured on using either piano, guitar or cello strings. But, it clearly stated in the plans that there were no legitimate substitutions, and went into a dizzying explanation of music audionics. Anyway, Donna, I’m betting you have a better source for strings and hardware! did you use Sitka Spruce for your soundboard? Keep us posted on your progress!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

576 posts in 3017 days


#2 posted 02-20-2011 03:11 AM

Hi Poopiekat- sounds like the harp plans are for the South American version of harp- they use guitar tuning screws instead of traditional harp tuning pins. Also, in their design the strings come out the middle of the neck instead of on one side. That is a better design for strength. There is also usually a turned pillar on those harps.
I have gotten my supplies from Musikits.com. They are very helpful and reliable.
My soundboard is 6-ply, 1/8” aircraft plywood. Finnish birch- made in Finland no less. Very excellent quality and good resonance. Practically unbreakable, very stable, and quite resonant. Solid wood boards have all sorts of built-in problems that don’t exist for the plywood.
I will keep you all posted- though the whole past week was spent debarking (5) 12’ mountain cedar posts for the new pergola, and we’ve finished placing (4) 9’ telephone sections to outline the expanded garden plot to 60’ x 60’- and now we need to get planting soon. So, harp making may have to take a back seat for a while. I still hope to have it done by the end of March- but that may be wishful thinking.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!" www.woodworks-by-donna.com

View Bearpie's profile

Bearpie

2592 posts in 1769 days


#3 posted 02-20-2011 03:55 AM

Looks like a time consuming job and so far looks like you are more than capable of completing it so I’ll say good luck and I will be watching for the completed project!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View BarbS's profile

BarbS

2434 posts in 2836 days


#4 posted 02-20-2011 04:21 AM

That’s coming together beautifully, Donna. I admire your spunk! and I was startled to read it is the prototype. What wood will you use for the real thing? Your cherry version may serve as a second harp!

-- http://barbsid.blogspot.com/

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

576 posts in 3017 days


#5 posted 02-20-2011 04:35 AM

Prototype – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A prototype is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.
What I mean is that it is a new design- no plans exist except as I make them. This is the real harp- and it may never be duplicated! It has been a difficult process, but now I’m into the ‘artsie’ carving parts and I like that.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!" www.woodworks-by-donna.com

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2758 posts in 2463 days


#6 posted 02-20-2011 06:10 AM

Donna,

It’s looks like you’re making good progress! Keep it up. The end of March sounds really ambitious, but you’ve come a long way in not much time so you’ll probably conquer it!

You’re blessed to be able to think about planting. We’re expecting up to 15 inches of snow tomorrow!

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

708 posts in 1631 days


#7 posted 02-20-2011 08:04 AM

Donna,
This is coming along nicely! Very ‘sexy’ sitting on top of that stand like that…;-) Very nice lines. Nothing wrong with a prototype. I’d make one out of pine all the way, then the good stuff, especially cherry…it don’t grow on trees ya know!

$800 for harp strings? Try violin strings, $80 for 4 for the good ones. There’s more than 10 strings on a harp and you don’t change them every few months.

Can you explain the ebony dowel? Does the frame just sit statically on that pivot point – held in place by the tension of the strings?

Impressive work.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

576 posts in 3017 days


#8 posted 02-20-2011 03:13 PM

Thanks to everyone for the fine comments and encouragement. I need it sometimes.
Autumn- wait until I get the mother of pearl wings on the neck- then it will be sexy indeed- thanks to you.
Ron- the ebony dowel will function as you said as a fulcrum which will allow the neck to pivot as the strings are tightened, and the strings are what holds it all together. I may secure the dowel to the body with a small dowel in small holes just to keep it from sliding side to side. I’m kinda intimidated by the thought of doing this drilling job, but it would be better to do it now than to wait and wish I’d done it as the strings tightened.
L/W- high seventies here daytimes and lows mid sixties overnight- hubby and I are hoping for bad weather before we kill ourselves with outside work. In April I will be preparing for carving classes I’ll be giving so I could still work on finish if the rest were done. Have to be careful not to be too ambitious in planting the garden- ‘someone’ after all will have to weed it.
Carving on the ‘knuckle’ on the neck today- still haven’t decided how I’ll do it- so I’m just winging it.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!" www.woodworks-by-donna.com

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

708 posts in 1631 days


#9 posted 02-21-2011 04:52 AM

If there was a way to add a 1/4” lip at the center of the ebony dowel you could mate it to the neck and the upright. It would keep it from sliding off – no dowel hole necessary then. Each piece looks thick enough to allow for the mating groove. Or perhaps a center groove in the ebony itself with centered mating lips on the neck and upright?

And yet another version could have a center groove on all three pieces to be mated by a wood ‘ring’ that fit around the ebony dowel and mated to both edges?

If you turned the ebony, it would be easy to allow for the lip then.

Maybe the next version?

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

576 posts in 3017 days


#10 posted 02-21-2011 05:06 AM

What good ideas you have, Ron. I never thought of that. They would pivot then but not slide. As you said- maybe next time. Thanks for the suggestions.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!" www.woodworks-by-donna.com

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2758 posts in 2463 days


#11 posted 02-21-2011 05:42 AM

Donna,

If you have another piece of ebony you could re-do your dowel with Ron’s idea or . . . what about adding a slightly larger ball or disc at either end of the dowel? You could carve a fabulous design in each end then, too. It would change the look of your design but would serve the same purpose. (Just some thoughts we had in reading over the comments)

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View ~Julie~'s profile

~Julie~

578 posts in 1785 days


#12 posted 02-22-2011 05:37 PM

Great work, Donna, and interesting to see how a harp goes together.

-- ~Julie~ followyourheartwoodworking.blogspot.ca

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