Egan Lever Harp Restoration
Recently I had the opportunity to work on this beautiful Egan Lever harp. The customer brought the harp to me hoping to have it restrung and restored to a playable condition. However after inspecting the instrument in person, it was clear to me that the harp would need major restorations (including a new neck) to get it playing again. The customer didn't want to have new parts made and wanted to keep the harp completely original, therefore we decided on some light restoration work to preserve the instrument.
The first step was to carefully disassemble the harp, remove the tuning pins and bridge pins. The original levers were missing from the harp, which meant one less thing to clean! Before starting the cleaning I needed to re-glue a section of the chub back on to the neck. The brass bridge pins were also cleaned up, I decided not to completely re-polish them as they would stand out too much. The tuning pins were also de-rusted and lightly cleaned.
With the messy part done, it was now time to put the harp back together. First in were the bridge pins; it was easier to fit these with the harp in two pieces. The next step was to put the two main parts, the neck/pillar section and soundbox back together. There's just one bolt at the bottom of the pillar holding the two sections together; the strings do most of the work of keeping the harp in one piece! Although the harp will not be playable it still needs a set of strings to make it a harp, so the final stage of the restoration was to fit the tuning pins and strings. I put just enough tension on the strings so that they pull straight, but they don't actually sound a note.
Although I normally like to restore harps so that they are playable it was still a pleasure to work on such a stunning instrument. The photos really don't capture the beauty of the gold details but the soundboard decorations were magnificent.
Thanks for reading my first blog post, let me know in the comments what you think and feel free to ask any questions. If you have any suggestions for future blog posts I'd love to hear them too!