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Friday, June 29, 2012

Make a door harp

Here's a project I thought about making a long time ago and they forgot about. Last week I ran across this harp and was reminded of my door harp idea. It's a good idea to take pictures of interesting wood things you see throughout the day. They may inspire you to build something.

There are a lot of different ways to make a door harp. I kept mine simple, using only three strings. Making the box was easy. What gave me the most trouble was figuring out a way to attach the strings. I looked at a number of methods that guitars and other stringed instruments use and then browsed around the music store to see what I could come up with. Aside from being expensive, most people don't want to hunt down specialty parts for a weekend woodworking project. So I came up with a method or tightening and tuning the strings using a nut and a bolt.

If you would like to try this one out, here's a PDF template you can download and print out.



  1. Cool, thanks !
    Would you tell us your suggestion for a nice scrollsaw blade model/brand to use for a project like this ? I only find larger models, maybe because I'm looking for pinned/"T" ones.
    Thanks again

  2. Indoor door? haha

    I think the sound is slightly dampened because of the wire wrapped around itself... you can see on a guitar how it's supported by a bridge on either end, so it resonates. Maybe you can just wrap the wire around the bolt instead of around itself? Neat-looking project!!

  3. Hey Steve.

    Neat and fun project and the outcome is just fine. Alex has a great point on wrapping the strings. I would've drilled holes in the bolts at both ends of the string. I might've also drilled a small hole in the Shaker pegs for the fish line to go through. Would've made adjusting the length and tying off easier.

    Still, a great idea! Now have your son tune it to a chord!

  4. If you want louder sound, you need to change the design. Your strings are attached to the solid wood of the rim of the soundbox, with nothing touching the sound board.

    What you could do is to make a bridge that stands in the middle of the soundboard, with the hammers hitting beside it - Just like a violin bridge, that are placed in the middle of the soundbox:

    You could also try a slightly thinner sound board

  5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kelly_fuller/8637917418/in/photostream
    I built one for my grandkids last week. I followed your suggestions but went outside the "lines" a couple of times though. I turned my own striker balls, the pegs to hang the balls from, built a bridge like Magnus suggested and used tuning pegs from a Harpsichord instrument.
    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas, if I had time I'd try them all! ....I almost have as a matter of fact

  6. i want to build one for my sound waves project i was wondering if you could give me the measurenments of the planks of wood and should i double the length if im make 6 notes