Part 3: Finishing up

Part 1: Harvesting the Tree
Part 2: Building the Harp

The last few days of December were spent trying to get this done by New Years (I did!) I had to adjust the stringing a couple of times, but it seems pretty good for the moment. The harp has 34 strings, C2-B6, tuned to the scale of G major. OK, if you count that range you come up with 35. There is no F#2. The six lowest strings are bronze-wound steel harp-guitar strings, the rest are phospher bronze wire.
Drilling for string shoes
Drilling for string shoes
I spaced the string holes with a set of dividers and drilled them through.
Drill jig
Drill jig
This jig was cut from the shoe-bending jig to space the holes and also have them at the right angle.
upside down
upside down
This shows the indexing pin that registers the shoe mounting holes with the string hole
Installing the shoes
Installing the shoes
Just hammer them in (gently, of course)
String Shoe Detail
String Shoe Detail
At the top
At the top
The string band sways to the right (from the players perspective) to make a better string angle. Remember, this harp set up backwards.
Making the bezel prongs
Making the bezel prongs
I bent the wire in a serpentine pattern then hammered it on the polished steel to flatten and lock the shape.
The greenstone and bezel
The greenstone and bezel
This was made by bending a piece of soft brass wire, hammering it flat and soldering to the back plate. I rolled the edge of the back plate by hammering it over a wooden plug of the right shape
Bezel attached
Bezel attached
Soldering the prong wire was tricky to do. Each time you heat it up to solder a section you run the risk of losing the ones already done.
Mounting the stone
Mounting the stone
I just set the stone into the bezel and tapped the prongs over with a hardwood block (gently)
Skyler, hard at work.
Skyler, hard at work.
The "Cave"
The "Cave"
When I planed the neck to the right thickness this bark inclusion came to the surface. I dug into it with an awl to find how deep it was. It turned out to be only about 1/2".
Quartz crystals from Connemara
Quartz crystals from Connemara
We decided that rather than try and hide the cave we would mount these quartz crystals that Julia found in Connemara.
Now we have a Crystal Cave!
Now we have a Crystal Cave!
A bit of fret work...
A bit of fret work...
I cut the sound hole grills out of cherry using a jewely saw and exacto knife
Grill installed
Grill installed
Here it is glued in
Grill complete
Grill complete
Plus a bit of woodburning. This is a simplified version of the original.
Tuning pins
Tuning pins
These have a second hole drilled at the large end.
Reaming the peg holes
Reaming the peg holes
This was tricky. The small end of the reamer is bigger than the small end of the tuning pin. I didn't want the pins sticking out the far side, as they usually do, so I ground a drill to the right taper and drilled through with that before reaming.
First stringing
First stringing
It turned out that I was way to cautious with the stringing in the upper octave. The brass plated steel strings I used were way to light and had a sound somwhere between a sitar and a rubber band. I replaced them with bronze.
Coming together
Coming together
The .016 bronze strings were very brittle and would break every time I tried to tie them around the soundboard balls. Then I remembered about anealing bronze. I held the end of the string in a gas flame for a few seconds and it became very bendable and there was no breakage after that.
Getting the last ones in.
Getting the last ones in.
The harp is bigger than it looks here. It is about 43" (110 cm) tall. I am a big guy.
Soundboard view
Soundboard view
Here is a view with all four sound holes and strings
Right on!
Right on!
Here you can see how the strings are tied to the large end of the taper pins. This makes them easier for a right-handed player to reach for playing and tuning. Of course, the player can't SEE the last two octaves, but these strings aren't color coded anyway. I will color the bass strings if Julia decides that it's necessary.
The Greenstone
The Greenstone
I added a couple of escutchion pins for accents.
Pillar design
Pillar design
I keep trying for a good photo of this. You'll just have to come see the harp in person