The Blessley Instruments Harp Building Process

"Get more clamps!"

[Home | Models | Cases | Recordings | Harp Care | Celtic Muse | Dr. Blessley]

Every harp starts as a huge plank, roughly 2 inches by 12 inches by 12 feet. In this view, you can see the sound box and pedestal emerging. No clamps yet, but soon, very soon...

Whoa! Look at all those clamps! The big plank is taking shape into this sound box. Or is the harp emerging? They say Michelangelo carved stone to find out who or what was inside. Do certain trees contain harps?

Many hours and myriad steps later... the final sections of the sound board are under the pressure of some five foot long clamps. This is the product of yet another board... sitka spruce. Can you count the clamps? 1, 2, 3...

Gluing the neck pieces together requires many, many clamps. How many? "All of them." Seriously, the norm is about 45 clamps. "Can it walk?" "No, but it sure can stand up!"

It takes some fancy clamping to get the pressure just right on some of the joints. We use a bird-mouth joint at the neck and pedestal for good looks and extra strength. "Gee, these clamps look different -- wooden clamps?"

To join the completed neck and pedestal to the sound box, check the angles. Recheck the angles. "Measure twice and cut once." is Dr. Mark's motto to make sure the joints fit perfectly. "Hey, where are the clamps?"

These clamps look a little bit like curlers... a new "do " for the harp? Not nearly as nasty as a permanent wave. No bad chemical odors.

Meanwhile, back at the "Harp Ranch," Val's been busily carving, working her little fingers to a nub. These custom carvings are a trademark, each one is unique for the harp and its person. Who owns whom?

The clamps are long gone, and another harp gets a happy player.

If you've really enjoyed our little tour through harp building land, please hold your applause. Simply send clamps to Blessley Instruments, 10013 NE Hazel Dell Avenue, #430, Vancouver, WA, 98685, USA.

[Home | Models | Cases | Recordings | Harp Care | Celtic Muse | Dr. Blessley]