The dream of building my own harp began to percolate, along with the desire to have a slightly smaller harp that was still a floor harp. Was this possible? The answer arrived this summer in the mail. It was a flyer from Musicmakers featuring the "Jolie" harp. It was such a pretty design and simple and the size and range were just right. So I bit and bought the kit. It arrived within 3 days!
|Being true to Kentucky, with a redbud branch design|
on the soundboard
|"Clamping" the soundbox with bungee cords. The magic flyer on display|
|Neck and Pillar attached|
Of course, most of the work was accomplished by the master craftspeople at Musicmakers. I am wondering how they cut out the pieces such as the neck and pillar. Screws are used to solidly bring these two together. Then we hide the evidence with little wooden plugs. The Japanese saw came in handy again to trim off the extra.
|The shoulder block and neck|
Now comes the tricky--but also artistic--part. It probably would help to be a sculptor. The two parts must fit together, but apparently not absolutely. This was a leap of faith. Fortunately, the folks at Musicmakers were happy to calm me down. My experience with making things and cutting into expensive fabrics, being willing to see and believe really helped, too. But definitely, the advice to take it one step at a time was priceless. Thank you, Musicmakers!
|Sanded down and pegged!|
This was very satisfying; to sand this down and shape the shoulder to support the neck. I even had to do a bit of ad-libbing: using leftovers from the wood plugs to cover the screws on the shoulder block.
|Finished, before stringing|
I allowed about a week for varnishing, sanding and drying. The varnish was an easy wipe-on that I was able to order from Musicmakers. I figured they would know which finish was best for a harp! Then I put the harp together. Musicmakers has a very clever design that allows the neck and pillar to be removed for shipping or refinishing. This engineering does mean that at this point, the harp is a bit wobbly. Will it come together and be solid?
|All strung and keeping Rossignol company|
Yes! It all came together and now I am tuning and tuning, bringing Redbud to a stable state so she can go out and bring comfort to my fellow Kentuckians.