Day three, and I spent yesterday evening looking at Celtic knot designs for the soundboard of my hearpa (pron. “harp-ah”). I know, it’s Anglo Saxon and not Celtic, but you’d honestly be surprised at the similarities in the cultures. Also, the Trossingen Lyre (a complete lyre from the same period as the Sutton Hoo lyre, upon which I have based my design) was found to have carved art covering its entire face. And guess what? Even though it was found in Germany, the designs all remarkably resemble Celtic knot work.
I rest my case.
So last night I sketched a basic template out on a piece of butcher paper, and so I know the location of the sound holes (again, not exactly period, but I want to be sure people can hear my hearpa [ha!]) and other important things like the tailpiece connection and bridge locations. This morning I sat down and designed my own Celtic-ish dragon design:
I’m very excited about it. Plans are to carve it in. But I’m not certain of the best method for making it stand out on the finished wood. Unfortunately, Hemlock bleeds really bad. Meaning any type of stain, paint, or inking are out. I would consider wood burning, but I’m uncertain if that is a period technique, and also, it could potentially harm the wood’s inherent musical properties.
Moving on… Assembly!
Another nifty thing I learned was that both the historical lyres used brass nails to affix the soundboard to the back. Up until I read that I kept scratching my head on how to assemble it (glue, while necessary, cannot be the only method of holding it together). Now I know I can use finishing nails of some kind, which saves me (and my poor husband) from trying to pin it with wood dowels or something. Nails are much easier!