Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How to Make a Lyre Harp

Making a lyre harp requires some craftsmanship and a significant commitment to planning and organizing the structure of the harp. For the most part, you can use any structure you like, but the most common lyre harps consist of a triangle-shaped brace attached to a wooden base that supports the instrument. This activity should not be completed by a complete novice woodworker and if you have any doubts about your abilities, ask for help from someone more experienced in making instruments.

Step 1 Lay out two spruce blocks that are approximately 15 inches in length. Using a chisel, carefully carve the sides of one of the blocks until you have a structure that is dome-shaped so that one side is completely curved and the other is flat. This will be your side brace.

Step 2 Draw a curved shape on the other piece of spruce. The degree of the curve will affect the pitches, so try and create a subtle curve that dips down about 1 -inch at the lowest point of the curve. This will be your top brace.

Step 3 Drill 15 holes with a 1/16-inch drill, spaced equally apart into the side of top brace. The holes should be approximately 1 -inch from the bottom of the brace to prevent the holes from breaking. Then, on the bottom of the brace, drill another 15 holes in the middle of the brace to intersect with the holes drilled in the side.

Step 4 Drill 15 additional 1/16-inch holes in the flat side of the side brace. Space them evenly and drill straight through the middle of the brace.

Step 5 Create a wood block approximately 5 inches wide on all sides and 2 inches tall. This will be your wooden stand.

Step 6 Sand the two braces and the wooden stand using a medium grit sandpaper to remove any splinters. Then, use a fine grit sandpaper to polish the wood.

Step 7 Attach the side brace to the top brace so that it forms a triangle shape. Use wood glue to secure both parts. Once the wood glue has dried, hammer two small nails spaced 1 inch apart into the head of the top brace to secure the instrument with the side brace.

Step 8 Turn the instrument over and attach the wooden base to the instrument with three nails spaced in a triangle formation to prevent slipping.

Step 9 Apply a wood finish to both braces and let the instrument dry overnight.

Step 10 Thread fishing line through the center of the outermost hole on the side brace of the instrument. Tie the string off at the bottom of the instrument to prevent it from coming loose. Thread the top of the string through the bottom hole in the top brace. Wrap the thread around the bottom of the top brace and through the hole on the other side. Thread it through the parallel hole in the brace and tie off the string. Continue to do this for all the remaining strings.