Building the Lever Harp

Rick Kemper, Sligo Harps

These links will take you to chapters which outline, in detail, the tools and techniques I use to build harps from the design stage through levering. 


I have tried to create the kind of resource wish I had when I started to build harps, with an emphasis on the applied aspects of harp building.   Over the next year, I will be completing additional chapters which deal with the theoretical aspects of the craft. 


All together the first 12 chapters of the guide top 100 pages with more than 70 drawings and 50 photographs.  With this material, and a set of plans, the rank beginner will be able to select a design and build nice sounding harp.  Intermediate builders will find the jigs and techniques to start building more complex round or stave back harps.   


Cover, Intro and Acknowledgements

1.    What to Expect - The Basic Building Process, Time and Costs

2.    Creating, Buying, Borrowing or Stealing a Design

3. Making the Sound Box Shell

          -Square Back

-Stave Back

-Round Back

4. Finishing Out the Shell

5. Plain and Fancy Soundboards

6. Fabricating and Attaching String Ribs

7. Gluing on the Soundboard/Batten Inlay Edge

8. Fabricating the Neck and Pillar  

          -Wood Selection                  -Sawing out the Parts, Smoothing Curves<

-Drilling the Neck               -Attaching the Knee Block<

-Reinforcing the Neck

9. Fitting the Major Parts Together

          -Doweled Neck and Pillar Joint                   -Splined Neck and Pillar Joint

          -fitting the Neck/Sound box               -Bolting the Pillar

          -Drilling the String Holes

10. Sanding, Scraping and Finishing

11. Mounting the Hardware and Stringing

12. Mounting Truitt Levers

12a. Mounting Camac Levers


          -Reference Points, critical dimensions, fudging

-Things Ma should have told me about epoxy

-Setting up a vacuum press

-Building a foam mold for round back shells

-Sourcing Wood for Sound Boards

-Adhesives for Harp Building


This guide does not include string bands or plans.  I sell plans for some of my designs, and you can also purchase plans from outfits like MusicMakersCambria or Stoney End.



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