Monday, May 5, 2008

'Tis done!

Finally, my harp is complete! I have built it, sanded it, finished it, strung it, tuned it, and now played it. I couldn't be happier.

I have two pictures for you readers of me playing my harp. This took place at the Evening of the Arts, where I played for the crowds of people who entered and exited. I was the first and last project most people saw that night. I received a huge amount of compliments and kudos from people, which made me ecstatic.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The First Day of Finishing

Today, I applied the first coat of finish to my harp. I used a spongy applicator and a lot of patience. My dad was there to point out places I missed and to help hold up the harp so I can coat the entire thing. It was really fun, actually, and I spent about an hour working on it. I am suppose to do this every day until it is done.

Here is a picture for you all to enjoy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Home Stretch

With over 148 hours on my Senior Project, I am proud to say that I am done with my sanding and now ready to apply the finish. After I set up a rig in the computer room, I will apply the Musicmakers semi-gloss varnish thinly and carefully, doing my best to prevent any dust from collecting into the layers. If dust gets into the varnish, then there will be specks on my beautiful wood! I didn't spend over a hundred hours of my life preparing for something then letting it become ruined due to dust. I will be patient, careful, and considerate with this. I can do this!

Now that I see there are people reading this, I encourage you all to post your comments. I love reading them!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So Far

I'm proud to say that I've sanded even more and am nearing the end of the sanding process. I need to now switch up to a 320 grit paper, sand it all again, and then do an interesting process. My mentor suggested that I should coat a small cotton piece of fabric with a very small amount of water, barely damp. I should then gently rub it across the surface of the wood and let it sit for a bit. I then should sand off the slightly risen grain. That will help my varnish go on much smoother. I'm pretty excited. I can see the end in sight!

Or, at least the end of the harp's construction. After it is built, fully assembled and everything, I have to sew myself a case for it. That means I have to learn how to sew, and I have no idea how to do that. This will be a fun experience.

And for the few that read this, here's a picture of the harp so far.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Huge Load of Nothing Special

With the soundbox, harmonic curve and neck, and the feet all ready to sand, I went out to buy myself two new types of sand paper: 150 and 180-bit grit. These will be used one at a time over the entire piece of wood before I move onto the next kind. I will know when to move to a higher value when I see small marks caused by the sand paper to form on the wood.

For the last month and a half, I have been sanding and sanding the harp. I have completed two walnut feet (which were a bit of a pain, due to all of the curves), the body (which was pretty strait foreword), and the combined harmonic curve (a super pain, because of a lot of curves and cuts) and the pillar (very easy). I started on the feet with 150-grit to remove any marks already in the wood due to the cut from the original block. After I started to make my own marks, I used the 180 to buff out those marks and smooth even more. Finally, I used a 220 to make it the smoothest it has ever been. I repeated those steps with all three wood groups.

My hands hurt, and at times I felt like I breathed in more dust than air, but it is worth it. The harps feels so much better now.

Total time? Over a dozen hours of sanding off and on.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Journal Binge - Recent, too! A bit of a jump, but still. Update!

November 16, 2007 (8:33 AM – 5:34 PM, 9 1/60 hours today, 95 29/60 hours total)

Today I job shadowed the Dusty Strings Factory. I left the house and arrived early in somewhat formal but still practical clothing. I was asked to bring in my incomplete harp for some professional help, which I did. Before this, I installed all the trim strips, no matter how many times I had to tear them off and re-apply them. Naturally, the back left trim strip spilled out a lot of glue (which didn’t actually seem to stick to the strip), so I was hoping to see how well I could take care of it. I arrived, was introduced to the Production Manager, who brought me around to different people.

The first person I met told me about planing wood, bringing trim strips to a flush, and how to use a planer effectively. He also showed me how the Dusty Strings harps are brought to a flush edge all around, even with the multitude of protruding strips. The next man showed me how to apply extra glue effectively to a trim strip, and then how to assemble the neck and Harmonic Curve. Amazingly, I did assemble them.

The third person who helped me showed me how the Ravenna line was made. It was amazingly simple – I think that Dusty Strings should make a kit out of it. The fourth person who helped me actually showed me how the sharpening levers were installed. With a few more pointers, I went down to start the sanding on my harp under the eye of yet another helpful employee. He showed me how to fill in holes with filler, how to sand things to a flush, and generically helped me get my harp to its near finished state.

All in all, this long day was immensely wonderful and very full. I loved it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Journal Entries!

Sunday September 30, 2007 (8:04 – 10:07 AM, 2 1/20 hours, 35 13/15 hours total)

Today, I worked on trimming the soundboard and gluing it on. After hard work, a nasty head cold that dulled my mind, and a lot of frustration, I glued the trimmed soundboard to the soundbox. When I next work on the project, I will power brad the soundboard into place for extra security.

Friday October 12, 2007 (1:36 – 5:47 PM, 4 11/60 hours, 40 1/20 hours total)

Today I visited Dusty Strings again. I talked to Eileen, who was again immensely helpful. Now that I am building a harp, I marvel at their expert craftsmanship. They are simply amazing – I hope I can create such beautiful structures. I signed up for the Harp Symposium, which will take place on November 2 – 4, which means that I will miss Friday’s school. It is a worthy cause, though. I simply can not wait.

I volunteered to be a “Harp Vallet”, which is more lovingly called a “Harp Monkey”. They cut the $200 fee in half if I come early and carry harps up and down the stairs. I can not wait to do it, and to keep my skills in check, I rented a harp from Dusty Strings. A 32-string harp, which was the closest to the 33-string harp I am building (it is just missing the highest string). A link to it can be seen here: .

Week of October 12 – 19, 2007 (1 1/3 hours, 41 23/60 hours total)

I have practiced religiously on the rented harp. It is such a beautiful sound; I almost melted when I heard it. I can not wait to be a better harpist/harper so that I can make the sound truly worthy of the instrument.