Friday, 2 March 2012

Today at the workshop

Not exactly an 'outdoors' post this, but I thought my blogging friends might be interested to see this rather poorly harp that I started working on today.
The soundboard of this 'Grecian' pedal harp has seen better days, and there are two reasons why. The main one being that this harp is around 180 years old, but secondly, it had been strung with modern concert harp, wires which had put far too much load on it.

Here, I have removed the 'top strips' which run down either side of the soundbox, to reveal the screws helping to hold the soundboard on. I have also cut with a hand saw down either side of the centre strip.


Actually, this old soundboard had lasted very well. With a harp of this age I was expecting to see 'tell-tale' extra screw holes from one or two previous boards. As there were none, this proves that it was the original soundboard - quite unusual. The whole body had been glued using animal glue which had broken down to a certain extent. However, this meant that I could carefully remove the old struts (shown here) from the back of the soundboard to re-use on the new one.

The screws look hand-made as they are all different sizes and the slots are not always running right down the middle!


The holes at the back of the soundbox literally let the sound out. But one side of the body had parted company with the supporting ribs. I could push a shim of metal behind them.

So the last thing I could do to it today was to glue and cramp it all back. The glue I used is extremely strong (much better than the old animal glue)

23 comments:

  1. Hi Jerry!
    You are doing a stunning work!
    Greetings from Sweden
    /Ingemar

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    1. Cheers Ingemar, long way to go with it though.

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  2. If I owned a harp and it needed some tlc, I'd bring it to you Jerry. Please keep up these 'crafty' postings, they are really fascinating.

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    1. Thanks Steve, glad you like them. Re: the owning a harp thing - there is a solution...!

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  3. I love the harp, I think that it may come somebody a really nice present. You're always a great craftman. Lovely pictures.

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  4. That's so cool. Can't wait to see it when it's all restored :)

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  5. It looks like quite a project! I hope you will eventually show us the finished result.

    Cheese making!! Is there no end to your family's talents?....I think not :-)

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  6. They certainly knew how to make long lasting stuff in the old days, would have been such a pity not to restore it. I admire your skill :-)

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  7. Bob - You could be right. I think the owner may be interested in selling it when done.

    Tammy - I'll try to put it up when finished but there's weeks of work to do to get it there. Perhaps I'll do some up-dates in the mean time.

    Jan - You are far too kind, actually the cheese thing is pretty recent. My wife had been wanting to give it a go for a while, so I gave her a cheese making kit at Christmas. It was a good move on my part as all I have to do is sit back and eat the results which are extremely delicious!

    Jane - Thanks, it's certainly a privilege to work on and get playable again.

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  8. I can't imagine knowing where you begin with a project like this... Liked you post on moths, I have one on my blog somewhere that is quite unusual,
    also wanted to reply to your question about the Carolina Wren.. I am amazed at the loud singing coming from such a tiny bird, thanks for stopping by. BJ

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    1. Thanks Barbra Joan and for getting back about 'your' Wren.

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  9. Love all of these pictures...I would love to see this finished...looks like quite a challenge!! It's going to be beautiful when finished.

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    1. Hilda, I'm looking forward to seeing it finished too!

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  10. Very good shots Jerry....the first one is really nice, i like the compositions.

    Have a nice day.

    greetings from Holland, Joop

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    1. Glad you like the pictures Joop. It wasn't that difficult because the workshop seems to be very photogenic - just point and shoot and it turns out fine!

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  11. You have a wonderful talent.. and a drop of beer is always welcome.

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  12. Replies
    1. Yes, you're right there Karen. It was made by Sebastian Erard (1752 1831) who designed the first modern pedal harp. It's remarkable that there are quite a lot of his harps still around. He's probably even more famous for his work on pianos - quite a chap!

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  13. That poor harp, looks likes it need some serious help to start singing again. Thanks for posting this, it was very interesting to see the guts.

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    1. Thanks. It's coming along well and will be MUCH better when done!

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  14. work in progress ..very interesting to see jerry ...looks beautiful

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