Employ woodworking and musical skills to build custom harps.
What does a Harp Maker do?
A Harp Maker is a skilled Woodworker who has studied the design and mechanics of harps well enough to craft one out of raw materials. It’s not just a matter of knowing how to make the harp look good, but of knowing how to make it sound great by controlling many factors, including materials, design details, and craftsmanship.
Harp design has never been standardized, so each Harp Maker is free to create or modify the design of their instrument. Building a harp involves specialized tools and intricate, slow work. Modern Harp Makers use oscilloscopes and other high-tech equipment to map how the sounds move through the harp, and to test the impact of tiny variations. With their great attention to detail, many believe that each harp they make is better than the one before it.
As a Harp Maker, you can choose whether to build harps that are relatively plain but sound great, or ones that look great – with inlay and intricate decorative carvings – but have relatively mediocre sound, or something in between.
For each harp, you select the wood and roughly shape it to the dimensions you want. You cut the smaller parts and assemble the base, side rails, and braces. Then you begin final shaping and finishing.
In addition to building new harps, you’ll likely repair old ones with problems such as a broken neck and ornamental damage from being transported. Because harps use very thick strings stretched at very high tensions, they simply don’t last as long as guitars or violins. As a result, you can probably keep busy just changing soundboards and repairing other problems that inevitably afflict harps.