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Door Harp
This project appeared in our January 17th, 2003 Newsletter.

I've always wanted to make a door harp but just have never gotten around to it. I thought this would be a simple one weekend project but it's turned into much more.

Door Harp

Here's what you'll need:

  • Full 3/4" Alder or Poplar 3" X 14".
  • 1" Maple, 3" X 5"
  • 1/8" veneer plywood, 8" X 8".
  • Necktie Pegs
  • Embossed molding
  • Door Harp kit from Meisel or other woodworkers supply store.
  • Glue

Well start with the most difficult part, the neck. Plane your 1" maple piece down to 7/8" thick.
Draw the pattern for the top onto the wood and cut out with a band saw.


Draw the pattern for the side onto the neck and cut it out with a band saw.
Dado or route an 1/8" notch at the 7/8" end of the neck using the pattern.
Mark and drill four 1/4" holes for the artificial tuning pegs.
We put a crown shape on top of our neck using a drum sanding bit on our drill press.
Shape Neck

Cut the Necktie Pegs as shown.

We glued the Necktie Pegs and some embossed molding on for decoration.
Trace and cut the body parts onto the 3/4" Alder or Poplar.
Body Frame

Glue and clamp the neck and body parts together. I didn't have a big enough clamp so I used my table saw feather clamps and they worked just fine.
Clamp Frame

Next we want to cut the hole in the front cover for the body. Using the template dh-pattern1.gif, mark the hole location and cut it out with a scroll saw.
Front Cover

Rough cut out the cover about 1/2" bigger than the pattern.
Glue and clamp the cover onto the body.
Clamp Cover

Using a flush cut router bit trim the front cover flush to the body. Put a flat piece of wood under the body to hold it up off the table. This is because the neck is higher than the body and would make it cut crooked.
Trim Cover
Repeat this process for the bottom cover.
Cut the bridge for the balls to hang from. It should be 3/4" X 3/4" X 4". I made mine out of Walnut.
If you like you can add a little detail for character. I dadoed a 1/8" edge as you can see in the picture.

Glue the bridge on with the corners flush to the top of the body.
Sand everything and add your finish. We used a satin varnish, sanding in between coats.

Cut the string for the balls longer that needed to go from the bridge to the strings. I used heavy nylon fishing line but I now wish I had used a more flexible thread like upholstery thread.
Put some glue into the holes of the balls and then add some glue to the end of the string. Poke the string deep into the ball.

Using the pattern, drill 8 3/16" holes. Use a good bit and drill the holes straight. Clean the bit between holes so the varnish does not build up on the bit and make the hole bigger.
Cut 4 Necktie Pegs down to about 1/2" long.

Using a vice, hold the pegs and cut a notch for the string.
Slot Pegs

Now the fun part. Install the tuning pegs by tapping them lightly and then screwing them in using a tuning peg wrench or a small crescent wrench.
Turn them down until there is about 1/8" of the fine threads showing.
Put a piece of piano or guitar wire through one of the peg holes and wrap it around the peg about three times, counter clockwise. Do the same thing on the opposite peg wrapping it about three times and then sticking the wire through the hole.
Tighten them up until the string is taught. Do not over tighten. You will need to keep tightening the string as time goes by because they will stretch. Cut the loose ends close to the peg.
Once all four strings are on it's time to mount the balls.
I think there are better ways to do this but here's what I did. Put the string through the slot in the Necktie Peg and start it into one of the holes in the bridge. Get the ball centered about 1/8" to 3/16" below the middle of the string. When you push the peg in the ball will raise up a little. This may take a little fiddling around.
Press the pegs in all the way but don't glue them. You may want to change the height a little later.
That's pretty much it. Just tune the strings so you get a harmonious sound when all the balls are hitting the strings.
You can drill a small hole in the back for hanging or use a really good double back tape to mount it to your door.

We hope you've enjoyed this project. We always like to see pictures of what you've created so send us a digital photo of your masterpiece.

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