DOORBELL HARP (Feb, 1957)

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DOORBELL HARP

By R. J. DE CRISTOFORO

THIS doorway harp will produce a merry melody at the front entrance to your home every time someone enters or leaves. One friend remarked that it should serve as an excellent deterrent to salesmen, since its sounds would distract them long enough for you to shut the door!- Be that as it may, the harp never fails to prompt a “Who’s playing the guitar?” from visitors, and is a good ice-breaker when welcoming guests.

Before beginning construction of the harp, make a full-size pattern by enlarging the squares (Fig. 2), and use the pattern to obtain the outline of the body and to locate the various parts during assembly. To cut out the front and back pieces (parts A and B, Fig. 2), first, tape the blanks together, then cut both at the same time on the jigsaw or bandsaw or by hand with a coping saw. Cut out part C, then make the inside cuts on parts B and C by taping them together and cutting at the same time, or by making the cut-out first in part B (Fig. 3) and using as a template to transfer the outline to part C. Sand the inside and outside edges of part C carefully, then glue it in place on part B and clamp.

To get the outlines for the dividers (parts D, E and F, Fig. 2), set them in position on the back piece of the harp and trace the curved outline with a pencil. Cut slightly outside the line and attach to the back (part A) with small nails and glue (Fig. 4).

Make upper and lower bridge (parts H and J, Fig. 2) and attach to front piece (part B). If perforated hardboard was used for part B, insert the screws through convenient holes. Otherwise, drill and countersink for them.

Apply plenty of glue to mating surfaces of front and back assemblies, and clamp until dry. To obtain a smooth contour, use a drum sander on the inside curves and a disc sander on the outside curves.

To make edging (part G), cut a piece of pine 2 in. wide, then resaw to get a piece as close to in- thick as possible. Sand this carefully, then apply a full coat of contact cement to one side. Coat the perimeter of the harp with contact cement also. Allow cement to set for about 20 minutes to a half hour (check with instructions on label of can), then place parts in position carefully and press them together (Fig. 5). Trim off excess and sand smooth. Part G can be made in two pieces if you prefer, butt-join ted at the bottom of the harp, or a suitable veneer can be substituted for the pine.

Finish the harp according to the material used and the effect desired. Colorful flat enamels are good for a gay Pennsylvania Dutch appearance, while stain and varnish are required if you’ve used a fancy veneer and hardwood plywood for the top.

Insert the music strings through the #40 holes drilled for them in parts H and J, pull as tight as possible, then thread through holes drilled with a #50 drill in the #5x-5/8-in. rh screws (Fig. 2 detail and Fig. 6). Turn each screw as much as necessary to keep the wire taut. Make the cover for the string screws (part K) from two pieces, nailed and glued together, or cut it from solid stock. Screw and glue to parts C and H (Fig. 2).

The wooden balls can be turned on the lathe, but 1-in. dia. wooden beads are easily available in a toy store. However, most of these have holes drilled through them which will have to be filled with dowel. Drill #40 holes in beads or dowel filler for the string, then attach the strings to part K with escutcheon pins, spaced 1 in. apart. Space horizontal centerlines of balls about 1-1/2 in. apart.

Finally, attach two small picture frame hangers on the back of the harp and suspend from two upholstery tacks on the back of the door, where it is all set to play a welcoming tune.—End

5 comments
  1. DrewE says: November 11, 20119:01 am

    Whether it produces a “happy discord” or not, I don’t think I’d ever want to hang a device on my door that reminds me of a toilet seat!

  2. fluffy says: November 11, 20119:20 am

    There is (or at least was) a guitar shop in Albuquerque where they did something similar – they had an old beaten-up guitar suspended over the door and a pick on the door itself, so that whenever the door opened or closed it would make a chord strum. It was a pretty clever way of adding that last little “we are a guitar store” touch.

  3. Rick Auricchio says: November 11, 20119:49 am

    One of my computer clients has a smaller version of this on his door. I forget who…

  4. Hirudinea says: November 11, 20113:54 pm

    I’ve seen this in dollar stores so I guess somebody likes them.

  5. Richard says: November 11, 20115:21 pm

    I’ve got one of these on my front door. My wife picked it up at a garage sale for nearly nothing. Mine is a trapezoidal shape, with horizontal strings. It’s kind of pleasant, though if it disappeared, I don’t think I’d go to the trouble of making another.

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