Celtic Harp Finishing


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Construction Sides Back Soundboard Pillar & Arm Assembly Stringing


A variety of possibilities offered themselves as to how the harp would be finished. There is no advice really in the plans about finishing.
   This harp was made from maple, with a maple back and spruce sound-board. I decided to leave the back and front natural, but stained the maple body which was very pale.


   Before finishing, I decided to paint a celtic pattern on the sound board. This I did with water based acryllics, having traced the design onto the wood first.



The next step, not especially photogenic, was repeated finishing and sanding with progressively finer paper, until the desired finish was built up.

I used Tru-oil wiping varnish, which is light and hard, and relatively easy to apply.


   The second harp was made from walnut, much darker than the maple instrument, so I decided to leave the natural wood colour. This made finishing simpler as well.

It was sanded progressively with finer and finer paper, from 80 grit, right up to 1500 grit. A long and time-consuming task.


   I chose to protect the wood with a with a shellac based finish. I used Mylands Sanding Sealer, which can be applied in a day. After 4 coats, the result was very pleasing. A harp is not an instrument likely to be handled heavily, so I thought this finish sufficient, and it has given the walnut a soft warm natural lustre.