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View Donna Menke's profile

Decisions need help

by Donna Menke
posted 2523 days ago


41 replies so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#1 posted 2522 days ago

so impressive – such an undertaking.
I’m sure you will get lots of suggestions from the artists on here!

What is the mood that you want to create with the colours? Subtle? Traditional? Modern?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#2 posted 2522 days ago

Hi MsDeb-
Mood??? Hmmm, never thought about that. Just aiming for as beautiful as possible. I was wondering if iridescence would look nice. Like I do my dragonfly wings. It was also recommended to fade from one color to another- so I was thinking of fading from pink through lavender, to light blue. Or- how about ranging through a rainbow of 6 colors? Or- each of the 4 strands of a different color.
Yoicks- too many possibilities.
Still looking for suggestions- until I finish the burning and have to start applying color.
Thanks, Donna

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#3 posted 2522 days ago

the light blue / lavender / translucent /iridescence idea has a really “moody” mystical feel to it.
Mystical (as I typed that I got an idea) links (for me) with the celtic design .... kinda like a cross between “out of the mist and into the land of fairies”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#4 posted 2521 days ago

Deb- I’ve received many suggestions to just leave it without color, (including hubby) so for now I’m going to do that. Later on I can always add color and/or carving and throw another layer of finish on it. Right now I just want to be able to try to play the harp and hear how it sounds. I’ll let the group know when the blog is finished and you can hear me strum my harp.

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

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12851 posts in 2587 days


#5 posted 2521 days ago

Looked at your design and yellow-golden color may be nice. Not too bright, but still organic.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#6 posted 2521 days ago

oh sure.. get me all excited and then say “going natural”... :)
Well I do hope that you will make something else and create the mystical feeling :) hahah

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#7 posted 2521 days ago

Deb- you are right about the mystical feeling. One of my samples was like that and looked very subtle and nice. I also did one in blue with gold in the voids- looked great too. See, if they all look so nice how the heck could I settle on just one design.
Dan- yellow-golden was also a consideration. I recently bought an antique gold acrylic paint that looks very nice.
Natural will be it for now- but later. . .

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#8 posted 2521 days ago

I’ll be watching!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Woodminer's profile

Woodminer

69 posts in 2541 days


#9 posted 2521 days ago

Hi Donna,

Decorations on wood is such a wild topic, and coloring them once that’s done is sure to draw an even wilder bunch of answers.

Question: is the soundboard where you’re going to put the Celtic knots? If so, what’s the wood? I read your blog and get the impression that it’s a plywood of some sort, but what is the face of it? If it’s a baltic birch type ply or a spruce faced ply, you can do lots with pyro to gain shadings. You could do a lot of masking and then do airbrushing.

One issue on most of the softer woods on the face of many musical instrument plywoods is that colors will wick very quickly. If you burn the edges of your pattern, that should essentially cauterize the ends of the cells to help prevent that wicking. If you seal the wood well before you add color, that also will help limit any wicking that wants to take place.

No matter what you choose, you’re also going to have to choose between opaque and transparents colors. I really like to see the wood so I’d choose transparent colors no matter what. And if I used pyro to do the actual shading, I’d still go with a transparent set of colors to enhance the knot. Or you could carve it and make it tactile, too. Then the end grain of the wood would be exposed and that alone would take finish differently and show up in a totally different way.

Almost anything can work. Depends a great deal on who you’re doing this for. Some folks WANT vivid, intense colorations. Kind of like bright tattoos on lily white skin. And some folks really like the decoration but want it to be subtle and not jump out. Saw an embossed ceiling texture yesterday that would be my example of that subtle idea—the light play was the only way to actually see that texture. Very subtle. Or a black outline only tattoo on black skin. A person could miss the tatt unless it was pointed out.

What do you want to accomplish with the Celtic knot anyhow? Logo? Statement?

-- Dean, Missouri

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#10 posted 2519 days ago

yah… goal? mood? intention?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#11 posted 2519 days ago

Duh- I jus’ wanna make sumptin’ purdy.
Seriously, I want it to look good and make pretty sounds.
The decorations go on the soundboard, and it is 1/8” birch veneered ply, 5 ply.
Dean- I did 4 samples with transparent/translucent acrylic paints and oil pencils. They all looked good, so I decided to put off the decision on color for now and just get the harp done. I can always lightly sand the finish and add color later.
I wood burned rather firmly/dark, so it is a little tactile even without carving. I wouldn’t carve on the soundboard since it needs all the strength it can get, but later on I may carve some Celtic designs into the walnut of the frame. Again, I can just carve through the finish and then renew it with more coats of finish.
As far as the choice of Celtic designs is concerned, I have been fascinated with them for many years. I have a few designs that I carve for pendants, I teach others how to carve them and did an article for Carving Magazine on that subject- step-by-step for 5 pages. So I like the design. I’ve also designed some on my own, and enjoy the challenge of modifying Celtic knots like I did for this project. Tapering the knot along the strings and expanding it in the middle were fun to figure out.
I have been stuck fixing slight gaps in the joints at the bottom of the harp. I used my ROS instead of a belt sander- bad decision. Spent a couple of hours instead of 10 minutes. Dumb bunny.
Today I will glue in the soundboard. It is a big step- and I’m chicken, but I’ll do it anyhow.
Donna

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

View Woodminer's profile

Woodminer

69 posts in 2541 days


#12 posted 2518 days ago

Purdy is fine. 8^)

Celtic knots are indeed cool. Much can be read into them, so that’s why I asked. Nothing more. 8^)

I was also wondering based on the rest of the instrument. If you’ve got all woodtones and suddenly have a bright burst of color it might be obtrusive. Or it might be cool like seeing a bluebird or cardinal in the midst of a snowy black & white scene.

-- Dean, Missouri

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#13 posted 2518 days ago

Lordy- I hope the latter- because I just finished slathering on every color in the rainbow- and it is bright.
I ran rainbows up every strand- at different points, so that it is just a mash of color. I used oil pencils since I have a lot of control with them.
I decided that the plain burn was just too dull- and it needed a little brightening up. It is bright now- my ‘Rainbow Harp’. I’ll take some photos tomorrow after I finish the corner knots and before I glue it into the soundbox. I still need to sand more on the walnut to eliminate irritating sharp corners. I like rounded more than sharp in any case. There are still some things I’d like to make better, but time is running out, so I need to keep moving forward.
Besides, I’m sick to death of sanding on the harp and grinding on Emily- I want to start finishing.
Impatience never led to a better job though- I know that for sure.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#14 posted 2518 days ago

so you want bright, uplifting… rainbow sounds exciting!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#15 posted 2518 days ago

It looks good- very different from other harps I’ve seen. As soon as I finish the coloring I’ll post a photo and let you know.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#16 posted 2518 days ago

ah…and unique—another goal….cool

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View brunob's profile

brunob

2275 posts in 2773 days


#17 posted 2518 days ago

I’d go with Mother of Pearl and Gold. That’s the old fashioned look. But then, I’m old fashioned.

-- Bruce from Central New York...now, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#18 posted 2517 days ago

That would be lovely, but how do you paint or color with oil pencils to get ‘mother-of-pearl’?
I have gotten iridescence on my dragonflies and I was thinking about doing that on the harp, but then I decided to go with a bolder look. The Rainbow Harp is brilliantly colored, and not at all traditional, but I think I like it so far. I just trial fitted it into the soundbox, but I have to round some corners on the soundbox and sand some more before I can glue the soundboard into place.
I also applied my finish to the sample piece of oil pencils and it looks like it won’t run/bleed. I was afraid that the oil pencil would go into emulsion with the solvent based finish. I’ll decide after it dries.

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

View brunob's profile

brunob

2275 posts in 2773 days


#19 posted 2517 days ago

How about some small inlays of Mother of Pearl?

-- Bruce from Central New York...now, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#20 posted 2517 days ago

Someone has suggested that any decoration on the soundboard is contra-indicated and would be detrimental to the quality of the sound. I went ahead and burned and colored anyhow.
Now there would not be a problem inlaying into the body of the soundbox. Then again, I don’t have any MOP on my stock.
I am thinking down the road of relief carving some Celtic designs on the pillar and the sides of the soundbox. But right now I want to get it done, assembled, strung, and playing some nice sounds. I cannot play the harp- yet- but even strumming it should be nice. We’ll see.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#21 posted 2517 days ago

it would be interesting to have one with and one without the controversial additions – to see how it changes the sound.

I hope that when you play it you can post a audio clip.. oh wait—VIDEO clip :) so we can watch and listen :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#22 posted 2517 days ago

Deb- considering the time it has taken me to get this far on this one- I wouldn’t hold my breath until I make another one. Then again, I do have the cherry soundboard already, and the plans, and some cherry wood, so I would just need the hardware pack to make another harp.
I’ll wait to see how this one sounds first. I’ve seen some really pretty harps with staved backs. That would be more challenging- and attractive. I’d kinda like to design one myself- hah! talk about jumping the gun. I should probably wait until I made 5 harps before designing one. I’m finishing up the coarse sanding today, and gluing in the soundboard- a big step- making the interior less accessible. Wish me luck!

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#23 posted 2517 days ago

gee, that was pretty easy to change your mind from “don’t hold your breath” to “well, since I have the wood already…” :)

why wait?? LumberJocks seem to jump right into the hot water and go for the gusto :)

LUCK LUCK LUCK :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#24 posted 2517 days ago

Luck just ran out. Guess I needed more.
I had everything set to glue in the soundboard- BIG hairy job. Put the glue in 3 sides,and then redid glue so there would be plenty. Put the board in place and tried to set it all the way in to the groove in the top piece- wouldn’t go- pushed harder- still wouldn’t go- decided there was a problem with the groove in the top piece so decided to abort the mission, remove the board, clean off the glue, and then start over later.
Board would not come out. Had used Titebond 3 so thought the extended open time would help. Didn’t. Hollered to 200 pound muscle man hubby to help pull it out. Couldn’t budge it. Hardly any place to grab it to pull it out. Gave up. It was not going to move. Period.
Oh misery.
Went ahead and nailed the soundboard to the soundbox, then fit the small filler piece, glued and nailed it in place. Then glued the trim piece over it all.
Not the look I wanted, but I will soldier on. the corner Celtic knots are partly covered by the trim piece, but there was no way to avoid that now.
My concern now is that the lack of a secure bedding on the top part of the soundboard will lead to the board popping out under the pressure of the strings. Guess I’ll have to deal that if it happens.
Darn.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#25 posted 2516 days ago

I’m struggling to find the silver lining….. I guess we will just have to wait to see how it plays out. Perhaps this is the “push” that gets you to make a second one… that probably doesn’t make you feel better :(

I know the feeling of this happening when making a plain ol’ box (Sorry Don…)... but for an instrument/? Oh the pain!! the pain!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#26 posted 2516 days ago

I may have ‘fixed’ it. I added strips of walnut to the outside and inside of the top of the soundboard- effectively connecting it to the sides and top of the soundbox. It wasn’t easy to cut the pieces to the right shape, and gluing to the inside top of a soundbox was quite a trick, but it just may workk.
The only thing that bothers me a lot now is that the bottom trim touches the Celtic knots in the corners. I’ll just have to learn to live with that. I could/should have trimmed the trim strip where the designs are, but it is too late now.
I’m pooped. That was rough going. Somehow hard work doesn’t seem that onerous when you are succeeding.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#27 posted 2516 days ago

you just needed that little break, before, coming to the LJ to vent :)

glad you got it all figured out!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#28 posted 2515 days ago

Yo Ms Debbie- I’ve just finished updating the Harp Blog: http://harpmaking.blogspot.com/
Please take a look and tell me what you think.
Today I’ve been carving away excess wood on the new reinforcing piece, and sanding and filling and sanding, etc.
Emily needs sanding too- I’m sure getting tired of sanding so much. Looking forward to applying finish.
BTW- I covered the color with a coat of the finish I’ll be using so that the color doesn’t run/bleed on to the white wood. Got some messiness, but it sands off OK. Tired.

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

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2566 days


#29 posted 2515 days ago

I’ve been watching this for a week waiting to see how it turned out. It looks real nice. Good job.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#30 posted 2515 days ago

the colouring is gorgeous. Definitely puts a whole new feel to it (rather than just leaving it natural).

re: sanding… ((thinking of a silver lining…)).. exercise? meditation? ( wax on; wax off)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#31 posted 2515 days ago

Oh yeah- one of my favorite movies- that is good advice, Deb. I put on some good music and kinda forget everything except getting every #$%^& scratch out of the wood before going on to the next grit. It is finite- it will be done when it is done- than goodness for that.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#32 posted 2515 days ago

hahaha lol … yes the $%#$*% really fits with the meditative process!!! lol

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View mski's profile

mski

412 posts in 2584 days


#33 posted 2513 days ago

I vote for a golden – yellow as Dan sugested, (light golden yellow).
But WOW WEE that is a piece of work, can’t believe the creator needs help with color.
Awesome job Donna!!
Mark

-- MARK IN BOB, So. CAL

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#34 posted 2513 days ago

Thanks Mark- take a look at it now and you will see the colors I used. I couldn’t make up my mind about which one to use- so I solved the problem by using all the colors. Still sanding- to 320 grit now- and then the finish goes on. Can beautiful music be far behind?

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

View mski's profile

mski

412 posts in 2584 days


#35 posted 2513 days ago

You are definatly an ARTIST! Sanding sanding sanding one of the most tedious jobs BUT the most rewarding if you keep sanding sanding sanding!!!!
If you think it is done sand some more (without removing color, in between finish coats)
and more
and more
and more
I hate it BUT when it’s all over , AHHHHHHH, reward
Hope it sounds as great as it looks.
Maybe after you are done a MP3 or something so we can hear.
PS go to 600 grit

Again great Job!!
Mark

-- MARK IN BOB, So. CAL

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#36 posted 2513 days ago

Mark-
If I were finishing with oil and wax I would go to 600, but I’m using a building surface finish and they say that 180 is enough for that. I disagree and will go to 320 with this project- even if it is a waste of time. My philosophy: if enough is enough then more must be even better. LOL
Just starting the 320 today- life intervened again yesterday. How come the world doesn’t understand that this harp project is the most important thing right now. . . darn world.

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

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2765 days


#37 posted 2512 days ago

maybe when you start playing the harp you will have more power with the big guy up there :D

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#38 posted 2512 days ago

Did the sanding and the first coat of finish. It is gorgeous. The clear finish really sets off the figure in the walnut. And the color didn’t run- at all. Pre-sealing it worked like a charm. I’m a happy camper.
Last night I dreamed about playing the first string on the harp- so it is going to happen soon.
I’m not sure how many coats of finish I’m going to apply. My usual is two coats with no sanding, then smoothing out with a scrubby and a final coat. I may then rub that out and apply some wax. I’d like to use the Beal’s Buffing System like I do on all my small things, but this is too big for that.

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

View mski's profile

mski

412 posts in 2584 days


#39 posted 2512 days ago

Hi Donna,
I go to 600, in between coats of poly or varnish and it comes out like plate glass. steel wool or scotch brite works too. Danish oil I do the same, never tried oil and wax. This is on small projects , the router cabinet I am building now I just 220 it between coats of poly.
Mark

-- MARK IN BOB, So. CAL

View Russel's profile

Russel

2199 posts in 2543 days


#40 posted 2512 days ago

Wow, what a story. I wish I had the ambition to take on something like a harp. The music program I was in had a choir of harps and the sound was truly awesome. I stopped over to you blog and the pictures add even more to the story. An amazing project … very impressive.

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

568 posts in 2870 days


#41 posted 2512 days ago

Russel,
I’ve long wanted to make an instrument, and I like harp music, so it was a good project for me.
I think that once you make a few successful projects it becomes easier to get the gumption to try more. That is one of the reasons I’m such a strong promoter of band saw boxes; they are so easy and they can be done quickly. Once you get a couple of them under your belt you can go on to more complex projects.

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

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