How to Build a Harp


When I first decided to build my own harp, I found it really useful to read blogs and pages by other people who had done it. With this in mind, I've compiled information about the way I build harps so that you can learn something from my method, then use your own set of tools and skills to create a harp for yourself.

First, let's start with a supply list. Here are the things I use:
  • Circular saw, with a regular blade and also a plywood blade
  • Bandsaw, must be able to have 4 inches of cutting blade exposed, with assorted blades
  • Coping Saw
  • Electric hand drill
  • Drill Press
  • A good set of drill bits in a range of sizes, from 1/16 inch to 1/2 inch.
  • Hardware kit for the 29 string studio harp from Musicmakers (
  • 60 minute epoxy, as strong as you can find
  • Carving tools (optional)
  • A Dremel or other rotary tool with various sanding attachments
  • Sandpaper in various grits, most importantly 60, 150, and 220 (if you want a really fine finish, get some 600 and 1500 too)
  • Electric sander (optional)
  • One piece of 1/8 inch thick aircraft birch for the soundboard, 29"x 29" which you can order from Musicmakers here
  • One piece of thin plywood, about 1/8 inch thick but 3/16" is okay too, at least 29" x 12", for the box back
  • Six boards for the sides of the box and the pillar, I like the craft boards from Lowes, four inches wide, four feet long, and 1/2 inch thick
  • A sheet of furniture-quality, 1 inch plywood for the arch and pillar piece, 4 ft by 4 ft
  • One corner brace with small wood screws, about one inch from the corner to each end
  • One pint of wood stain, your choice of color
  • One fresh pint of polyurethane
  • Soft, lint-free rags
  • Paint thinner
  • Paint brushes, a few detail brushes for the soundboard art, plus a nice 1 inch brush for putting on coats of polyurethane
  • Stirring sticks
  • Plastic gloves

And here are links to all the posts on my blog that describe the harp-making process:

A Harp is Born

Harp Template

Rough Cuts

Arch and Pillar

Kathy's Harp

Putting it All Together

The Soundbox


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