“Build an ancient window harp”

pm001I had hoped to have my first project completed by this weekend. My work schedule has been pretty heavy, though, so I wasn’t able to spend much time working on this. I think that this “ancient window harp” could more correctly be called an aeolian harp (don’t worry, that link has nothing to do with desserts…) If you’re curious, it’s pretty easy to find some interesting information concerning the history of aeolian harps. For a more concise intro, I present the following: These instruments have a place in some very old literature; it’s recorded in the Bible that King David hung one of these above his bed. There was a resurgence in the popularity of these instruments in 19th century England. Hence the quote from Coleridge in my last post.

The harp is very simple, essentially a box with guitar strings strung over the top. The plans call for 1/8″ plywood for the sides, and 1-1/2″ hardwood blocks for the end. Being a miserly old man, I decided to use what I had on hand instead: 1/8″ hardboard and some MDF scraps. I did have a short piece of 1/8″ plywood, but since it’s not enough to make the whole box I’m not sure if I’ll use it. The pictures below show what I have completed so far. Which is to say, not much. I have the end blocks and the base of the box cut.

As you can see I don’t have the most tricked out shop, so in come cases there’s a little extra work for me to get some parts right. For instance one of the end blocks came out to a larger angle than the other. It was close enough that I was able to smooth it down with a plane and some sandpaper, but I spent as much time doing that as I did cutting out both blocks to begin with. Hopefully it shouldn’t take too long to get the rest of the pieces cut and glued together. After that I’ll just need to pick up some guitar strings, and small eye-bolts to use as tuning machines. Hopefully I’ll have this somewhat complete by next weekend.pm005 pm004pm003 pm002


One thought on ““Build an ancient window harp”

  1. I have injoyed reading your site info. I just wanted to let you know that it was nice seeing the info from popular mechanic. I have the book and I was getting tired of people selling it on ebay.
    this same project has been on my mind for several years. Now that I think about it I’m going to set aside father’s day for this. A got to finsh my waterfall last year, three weeks later I finished it….. You didn’t show or say how it turn out?

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