We had a trip of a few days up to Inverness to visit family and friends. The weather was mostly dreich but we enjoyed the trip. Continue reading
The Moraharpa build is well underway but I was reminded of another instrument I had come across by accident, and realised that I had enough wood left to make one. It’s also very simple, so has been bashed together very quickly. The photo shows the completed instrument; it’s known as a Jouhikko in Finnish, or a Tagelharpa in Swedish. My version has three strings, made from twisted horsehair. Continue reading
I used a jig saw to cut the thinner part of the body sides, and then after cutting a pilot slot, used a rip saw to take the wider section off the neck. Continue reading
Three layers of the wood I had available is enough for the body thickness. It’s a strange shaped instrument, so there’s a lot of shaping to be done after the glueing. Continue reading
The next step in construction of the Moraharpa body – gluing the first two slices together. I found out the threaded studs I had used for the kontrabas, and made up more clamps of the right size for the Moraharpa. The old glue I bought for the kontra (Titebond hide glue) is still OK, even though it’s a couple of years past its expiry date. One more layer to add, then I can start shaping the body.
The second slice is cut out, and I removed the veneer easily with a hot air gun; there were two layers on each side. The remaining (animal) glue was sponged off with hand hot water; here are the two slices drying. The surfaces have a very fine scoring to take the veneer glue; I will sand most of this off before joining the slices.
Well OK, it looks a bit like a tennis racket (raquet!) but I think this is the best way I can get the body built quickly. I don’t have anything suitable to make a body with bent sides (like a violin, and like the original Moraharpa), and I also don’t have enough wood thick enouth for the depth of the instrument. I think laminating slices together will work well – this is some sort of veneered hardwood; the veneer will have to come off. Hopefully heat will get it off easily.
OK, here’s the rule. The Moraharpa must be made entirely from leftovers I have from the dismantled piano used to make the kontrabasharpa. I think I have enough, but it will require a bit of ingenuity.
When I built the kontrabasharpa I kept enough wood back to build a Moraharpa – just in case. Having just returned from Halsway I am full of new tunes and lots of inspiration – including returning to this topic! So here’s the start – the first drawings.
It’s clear, now that I have started the drawings, that this is a bit of a strange instrument! I think it will be a lot of fun …