Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Progress in Design

Worked most of the afternoon on the harp mock-up in builder's insulation foam board. We have a lot of this material left over from when we built the house over 25 years ago. It is 1" thick so it will work out well. I have made projects with and without mock-ups and those with the model always work out better. I even made one of this house before building it!
Here the plans have been transferred to the board and I've discovered that some of the stresses on the pillar are at too much of an angle if I angle it to the outside of the soundbox- so I'll have to go back to the original Limerick plans with the pillar ending inside the box.
You can see in this photo that there was a lot of fiddling with the curve of the pillar before I feel that I got the best design.
Before quitting for the day I cut out two of each of the main parts and glued the matching pillar and neck pieces together. Tomorrow I should be able to figure out how to make the interfaces. Working with this foam is a lot easier than working with hard wood. Mistakes are easily corrected now- so that maybe later I can do it right in cherry.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planning, planning, planning

Hi, I'm Donna Menke and I enjoy making things out of wood. You can see more of my projects and links to other blogs on my web site:

I have some nice cherry wood on hand- so I'm going to make another harp similar to the last one, but with a few variations. Stocks above, and view of grain below.

This is the harp I made from plans from MusicMakers back in 2007, out of walnut boards.
Here is the rough stock being analyzed for the best sections to use.

Cutting the big woods into littler woods makes them easier to handle.
Sometimes it seems like the planning can take longer than the creation, but it is a necessary phase in any project. For this project I wanted to use the plans for the MusicMakers Limerick harp, as I did last time I made a harp- but with some differences.

If you look at the side view you will see a faint pencil line on the base. This was the original design that would open up the legs and reduce the weight. Then I got to thinking that I really want more weight in the base- for stability. the decision is up in the air at this point.
Why am I designing my own harp? I wanted the soundbox smaller,
and I wanted it to be self-supporting and as tall as the Heartland DreamWeaver harp that I have and like. I took aspects of lots of different harps and put them all together and this is what I came up with. I also wanted a harp that could be easily transported- like the lap harps, but also be able to stand alone like the floor harps, but even more, to not need to lean it against my shoulder to play it.
I may be trying to do the impossible- but I have hopes that it will work.
Here I'm checking out possible layouts for the neck and pillar plans. These are not the final plans, but I can get an idea if I will have enough wood for the project.
These are the boards that will be used for the sides.
This is the sort of damage to look out for. The obvious nick at the end is one, but the shallow splitting of the wood further up is even more dangerous. I will run the wood through the planer to see if I can get below these 'shakes'. Right now the thickness is 1 7/8" and it should be 1 3/4".