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DragonFly Harp

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Blog series by Donna Menke updated 09-09-2011 08:50 PM 15 parts 35159 reads 108 comments total

Part 1: Planning, planning, planning

12-29-2010 09:44 PM by Donna Menke | 5 comments »

Hi, I’m Donna Menke and I enjoy making things out of wood. You can see more of my projects and links to other woodworking and carving blogs on my web site: www.woodworks-by-donna.comI have some nice cherry wood on hand- so I’m going to make another harp similar to the last one, but with a few variations. Stocks above, and view of grain below.This is the harp I made from plans from MusicMakers back in 2007, out of walnut boards. http://harpmaking.blogspot.com/Here is the rough stoc...

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Part 2: Progress in Design

12-30-2010 05:27 AM by Donna Menke | 2 comments »

12-29-2010Worked most of the afternoon on the harp mock-up in builder’s insulation foam board. We have a lot of this material left over from when we built the house over 25 years ago. It is 1” thick so it will work out well. I have made projects with and without mock-ups and those with the model always work out better. I even made one of this house before building it!Here the plans have been transferred to the board and I’ve discovered that some of the stresses on the pillar...

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Part 3: Making the Pink Harp

01-04-2011 06:31 PM by Donna Menke | 3 comments »

Started the new year off right with many hours in the shop working on the harp project. I’ll try to keep track of my hours- a good guess would be about 10 hours to date.I don’t kid myself that working with this foam is anything like working with wood, but I need to get a prototype before I can even think about making working drawings.I spent a lot of time trying to get my styrofoam pieces to stay in the right plane before I got the brain storm to make some supportive blocks at the...

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Part 4: 1/4/2011 Completed Model

01-04-2011 07:05 PM by Donna Menke | 14 comments »

Here is a good example of just how difficult joinery is with foam. Lots of slop and instant gratification- not at all like wood. Wonder if one can play a foam harp- nah.The foam model has been assembled for the first time- with toothpicks, tape, and chewing gum (just kidding about the gum). I tried to glue some parts with Titebond, but it never dried and didn’t stick well. I’ve decided to return to the original plan to end the bottom of the pillar outside of the sound box. Hope it...

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Part 5: Stand Mods- 1/6/2011

01-07-2011 03:35 AM by Donna Menke | 4 comments »

After getting some great helpful feedback from members of my Virtual Harp Circle (Yahoo! group) friends I decided that the harp needed to be shorter and angled more towards the player. That would make the strings more vertical and the player would not have to lift the arms as high to play. Here on the workbench I’ve propped up the front of the harp to simulate that change.Then you see the result in place. I decided against removing too much of the legs of the stand. Not much difference,...

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Part 6: 1/12/2011

01-12-2011 09:24 PM by Donna Menke | 10 comments »

Doesn’t seem like 6 days have passed, but the calendar does not lie. I have a lot to catch up with.First order of the day was to edge join the pieces I would need to have wider- like for parts of the stand legs and the base of the harp.These Bessey clamps are the best.Then I needed to cut the angled sides. This was the most dreaded job, and the first rip (with the grain) on the table saw (my second least-favorite power tool). Took most of a morning to assemble the tool and then to figur...

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Part 7: 1/20/2011 S-L-O-W Going

01-20-2011 11:36 PM by Donna Menke | 11 comments »

Days and days of mostly just staring at the dumb thing wondering why- oh why- things did not meet the way they should. Take a little off here- then a little off there- shoot!- think I took some off the wrong side. This was not the way to go.My micro-plane was going to be my salvation, but it may have created more problems than it fixed.Talk about creative clamping! Trying to get all the angles right and everything where it is supposed to be so that the screws in the base will end up in the ri...

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Part 8: 1/25/2011 Sound Box Completed

01-25-2011 10:59 PM by Donna Menke | 3 comments »

Isn’t it strange how sometimes you can work and work and have nothing to show for it. Fortunately there are other times when a lot happens in a short period of time.One of the tricky parts of this design is the pillar ending outside of the soundbox. For this to work the grain of the wood had to run front to back. However, construction for the Limerick says that it is important to have the direction running side to side. My solution is a laminate of wood added on the interior- going side...

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Part 9: 2/12/2011 Harp and Stand Roughed Out

02-19-2011 09:54 PM by Donna Menke | 12 comments »

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”...

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Part 10: Continuing Saga

03-27-2011 10:51 PM by Donna Menke | 5 comments »

Time flies when you are having fun. I thought I’d have the harp almost done by now- but life interfered and not much progress has been made. The new garden fencing is done, and the new pergola too, so now I can get back to harp making.Here are some progress photos taken on and off over the past month:I cut some plugs from the cherry and used them to fill the messy holes in the top of the harp. I thought that round, filled, holes would look better than the grooves, but the tear out from ...

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Part 11: Almost Finished!

05-12-2011 08:05 PM by Donna Menke | 7 comments »

Lots of vegetable gardening done in the past couple of months, and it could not wait, so the harp building project had to wait a while. Finally last week I got back into it after 6 weeks of seldom working on it. Now it is almost done- but let me go back to where I left off in March.I had these beautiful abalone mother-of-pearl wings provided to me by a fine Lumberjock. She also did a great blog about how to do inlays, and that was very helpful to me. I didn’t follow instructions exactly...

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Part 12: 5-11-2011 to 6-11-2011 Disaster!

06-18-2011 05:58 PM by Donna Menke | 8 comments »

6-18-2011The harp broke as the strings were tightened- way back to a month ago. I was devastated, since I had little time to fix it (and everything else I had to do) in time for the show, carving and box-making seminars in June. I will show you here what I did to finish the harp for the first time and discovering the BIG PROBLEM.With the next blog installment, I’ll go into what I did to fix the BIG PROBLEM.The figure on the soundboard is very erratic- looks like a mistake though I actua...

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Part 13: 6-19-2011 Finally Really Finished

06-19-2011 05:29 PM by Donna Menke | 6 comments »

Fixing the popped soundboard was not too difficult, though it did take some time. I knew instantly how to fix it so that the problem would never reoccur. I needed a block to connect the soundboard firmly and immovably to the sturdy base. I sure wish I’d though about this from the start of the project.I cut the trapezoidal block to shape matching the harp’s angles on the table saw and then cut it to length and removed a piece to go around the bottom of the string band.It also neede...

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Part 14: Ebony Plugs

07-04-2011 06:02 PM by Donna Menke | 3 comments »

Here is the front of the harp with the ebony plugs in place. Looks a lot better now.

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Part 15: Music!

09-09-2011 08:50 PM by Donna Menke | 15 comments »

OK- I have given up the plan to get a good professional-looking video and I’m going to just put up something that shows how the new harp plays. We have had unbelievable problems with our computer programs and I cannot get anything to work as it has for the past 4 years. So her is an un-edited Greensleeves played on the 26 string harp I designed and just finished building. the sound is not as good as with the video camera since it was taken with just a 5MB still camera in video mode. htt...

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