Saturday, December 22, 2012

Another Good Year

Time is just flying by! It’s hard to believe that it has been over three months since my last blog. And here I thought I’d be updating this thing every two or three weeks. Well, one reason for my blog tardiness is that I’ve been very busy, and I’ve made more sales. This is good!

First:  I’m almost done with the major restoration of the 1885 Müller's Auto-Harp Erato. (I wrote about this instrument in my last blog, so you can see photos there.)The last item to work on, a decal to put on the key cover to replace another person’s botched job, has taken a lot longer than anticipated. The new decal is drying (sprayed with a clear finish), and should be ready to put on in a day or two.

Memling-tung oilSecond: Since my last blog I received a commission to build a custom “Memling” hog-nose psaltery, and I’ve been cranking on this trying to get it done by the end of the year. It’s close. Today I put on the third of 5 coats of tung oil varnish, with the last planned to go on Christmas Eve. Then after Christmas, I’ll polish it, string it up and send it to its owner. I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. The rosettes resemble the tracery of stained glass windows.

Carving NotersThird: My Etsy shop ( has been doing quite well. The noters are very popular, and back in November I carved more to replenish the depleted inventory. By December 15th, I had finished eight new ones and added them to my store.

Fourth: Another job I’m hoping to complete by the end of the year,  is one I introduced in my last blog, the Dulcimer Chord-Zither. To recap, the design is based on a Dulcimer chord-zitherconcert harp zither that was made in Mittenwalde, Germany, in the late 1800s. My dulcimer chord zither is a Mountain dulcimer but with 6 sets of chord strings. The top and back are bookmatched black walnut, and I tiled the sides in black walnut, maple, and ebony (all salvaged).

I’m currently stringing up the chords. As I do this, I will also lay out and drill the nut for guide pins, and notch the tail block so the strings are properly grouped.

3-legged chair-dry fitAnd finally, my crowded workbench just got more crowded. My second medieval three-legged chair is coming along nicely. I finished turning the rungs a few weeks ago, and just last week drilled the legs to fit the rungs. The photo shows the main parts put together in a “dry” fitting, which means I put it together without glue to make sure everything goes together the way it should.

It did!

Next is to measure and turn the back pieces and the arm rests. That’s 11 more turnings! That will take another month or so.

And on another note:

I did take some time off in November and took a trip to Sacramento to visit an old friend. After a couple of day there, he and I drove off to Yosemite for three days of hiking, catching up on old times, and enjoying the spectacular scenery.

Ron at Charlies with dulcimer3-with closeupWhile in Sacramento, I was reintroduced to one of my earliest carved dulcimers, one I made around 1976 and gave to my friend. It’s a traditional 3-string hourglass dulcimer I called “The Mountain Man.” It’s made of beautiful, nicely figured Brazilian rosewood. As most people know, Brazilian rosewood today is scarce and illegal to import into the U.S. But back in the early 1970s, it was readily available at every hardwood lumber dealer. At that time I purchased enough for three or four dulcimers, which I made from 1975 to 1978. The Mountain Man was the second I made of rosewood, and, I think it was the fourth dulcimer of my luthier beginnings.

At Yosemite, I like to stay at the old Victorian hotel down at the south end of the park, close to the Ron on top porch at WawonaMariposa Big Trees area. The Wawona is a beautiful structure that makes you sometimes feel like you are living in the horse-and-buggy days. The rooms are small, and the bath is down the hall (actually, outside and down the hall), but it’s comfortable and charming. The dining room is old fashioned. and the food is good, abundant, and filling.

Ron in Mariposa Big Trees-YosemiteThe first picture is me waving from the balcony in front of my room. The next picture is me thinking about wood. (What could I do with all that lovely Sequoia redwood?)

Well, onward. Time to finish up a couple of projects, then it will be time to write a few resolutions and goals for 2013.


To everyone, have a wonderful Holiday Season and a great 2013!

Friday, September 14, 2012

End of Summer—and more arts & crafts to see

Summer’s winding down. Here in Santa Cruz, the month of September, after Labor Day, and when the tourists leave, is the clearest and warmest month of the year. Today, it was very sunny and in the 80s, up until almost 7pm. Actually, all Summer wasn’t bad. Mornings were foggy, like usual, but it always seemed to burn off in the afternoon, leaving  each day pretty pleasant. Our tomatoes are actually ripening very well this year.

Booth Shot-ACCSF 12-betterIt was a busy Summer, and it’s still busy. In July, we decided to completely re-do and reconfigure my show booth for the San Francisco American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason (August 3-5). Stella repainted (sponge painted) all the panels and pedestals in greys instead of our outdated faded greens. Also, to set off the pedestal table and chess set in a pseudo-medieval setting, Stella made a blood-red velvet drapery to hang behind it. The whole effect was awesome.

The San Francisco American Craft Council Show was great. We had a wonderful time, made good sales, and I had some fantastic help all weekend with my good friend (for the last 48 years) Charlie.

Coming Up

Open Studios Art Tour 2012Of course, the big news is the upcoming Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour. I've been accepted for my 12th year in this exciting presentation of Santa Cruz talent. Look for me at location 206 on the calendar map. Remember that purchasing a calendar and getting out to the studios of the more remote artists is often one of the most rewarding Fall experiences you can have in Santa Cruz. Calendars can be purchased at many locations throughout Santa Cruz and neighboring counties and online through the new Open Studios Art Tour website . This year there is an app that may be purchased for smart phone and iPad users. I've already downloaded it - the app looks great and is easy to use. Oh, and by the way, my studio will be open from 11-5, October 13-14 (North County Weekend) and 20-21 (Encore Weekend).

New Works

Dulcimer-cane2-72Remember in my last blog entry that second dulcimer cane I was working on? It’s done! And, somehow I was able to make the fife in C, so it can be played along with the dulcimer (also tuned in C). My dulcimer canes have a short 24 inch string length and a sweet sound similar to a small epinette des Vosges.

At the American Craft Show in San Francisco last month, my first dulcimer cane got a lot of interest, and sold. You can see the new one during Open Studios.

On my workbench is another "original" instrument: a dulcimer chord zither. The design is based on a concert harp zither that was made in Mittenwalde, Germany, in the late 1800s. At that time Mittenwalde was in the forefront of stringed instrument building, especially zithers, and thousands were made

Dulcimer Chord Zither

by a number of craftsmen. Many still exist in museums and collections.

My dulcimer chord zither is a Mountain dulcimer and will have 6 sets of chord strings. The top and back are bookmatched black walnut, and I tiled the sides in black walnut, maple, and ebony (all salvaged).  It's a big project and won't be quite done for Open Studios, but you will be able to see it in process.

3-legged chair 2

Also on the workbench - actually on the lathe - are wood turnings for a second medieval three-legged chair. I'm making this one from salvaged black walnut, more of that wood I acquired from a barn in Hollister last year. Again, this chair is based on one in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. (That’s a picture of it in my hand in the photo.)

I’ll have several turnings done, so you’ll be able to see this on display during Open Studios as a work in process.

Restorations and Repairs

Kouf ZitherThis has been a good year for me for instrument restoration and conservation. I've just finished restoring a Leonhard Zapf concert zither that was made around 1920 after World War I in Bayreuth. Bayreuth is in the middle of Germany, between Berlin and Munich, and close to the Czech Republic border. The zither strings I ordered from Germany came this week so I was able to complete the restoration. I'm now working on the repair log. (For major repairs, I always photograph the daily progress and provide a complimentary repair log.)

Nearing completion is a very interesting German-made autoharp from around 1885, Müller's Auto-Harp Erato. (Erato is the muse of lyric poetry.)

Muller AutoharpWhen it came to me it was dirty, the metal parts rusty, and the case was coming apart. I now have it together again, cleaned and polished, all metal parts shining, and ready to string up. I still have some work to do on the key cover, but it should be done right after Open Studios.

An interesting note about Müller Auto-Harps that I've come across in my research is that these were the first autoharps that were patented. Around 1880, Müller got a British patent for his instrument design. Around this same time, Zimmermann, a German immigrant living in Philadelphia, got a U.S. patent for the same design but didn't go into production until 1885. Some historians agree that Zimmermann copied Müller's design. Müller's company didn't last, but the Zimmermann autoharps became hugely popular in America. The same design is still produced today by the Oscar Schmidt Company, which acquired the Zimmermann patents in the 1920s.

CoxuleleOnce I get the zither and autoharp out of the way, I’ll start on a unique “Cocolele”, a ukulele made out of cocoanut shells by Anthony Cox, sometime in the 1930s. Quite a few were made and occasionally show up on auction web sites. This one has a few bad cracks in the top, but should be fairly easy to repair, once I pop the top off. The shells are fine.

And Finally…

After too many years with the same shades of green, we decided it was time to update our show booth with new colors and background to help show off my medieval furniture and instruments. Having a corner booth in the front half of the exhibit hall at the San Francisco American Craft Council Show last month made our mind up for us, and it turned out great. It was, to me, the best looking booth I've ever had. Many thanks to my wife for volunteering to paint all the panels and pedestals. (I've never liked to paint.) And, again, big thanks to my old friend Charlie, for helping me in San Francisco.

Painting PanelsACC-SF 2012 Booth

So, until next time, onward…

Oh, and don’t forget to get your Open Studios Calendar/Artist Guide and stop by my studio in October.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The New & The Old

The official start of Summer is only a few days away. Tourists are already arriving to our shores, and the warm weather will be here off and on for the next three months. Santa Cruz weather, like San Francisco’s, is ruled by the ocean. Fog comes in, not “on little cat feet”, but with the wings of seagulls and pelicans. Our shores are exciting to walk along, with whales, porpoise, otters, and, of course, the sea birds, as well as the ocean and shoreline: unpredictable and ever changing.

New Work

Luttrell Harp Remake1-72Last week I completed a new harp. This one is a smaller, 22 string, clarsach, which is an Irish-style, wire-strung harp. With wire strings, the tone is very bright and rings out when played. The body is coopered, similar to how wine barrels are made, and made out of maple with black walnut trim. The top, arm, and post are maple. On the post I carved a full-length figure of a woman, and where the post and arm connect I carved a horse head. I call this harp “Legends”. This relates to the Irish legends of the Banshee (the woman who came for the dying), and the Pooka (the horse or colt that may be regarded as being either menacing or beneficent depending the area of the legend).


During the last three months I’ve been very busy conserving a Yugoslavian harp-like concert Finished 1-portrait-72zither, which I finally finished around June 1st. I’ve never come across any of this shape and complexity before. There is no label or maker’s mark, no stamped or penciled serial numbers or any markings of any kind. In its case there’s a name and town ink-stamped in it: Julius Pettersch, Musiklehrer, Fehértemplom. Musiklehrer is German for music teacher or music master. Fehértemplom was founded in 1717 when it was part of the Habsburg monarchy. For the next 250 years it was ruled by the Ottoman a short while, then it was part of the Hungarian Empire, Austria-Hungary, then Yugoslavia, and now Serbia. The town is close to the Romanian border. The area has a large mix of languages. It’s primarily German, followed by Serbian, Romanian, and Hungarian. (Geography lesson for today!)

This concert zither was actually a conservation project, since it’s going to be on exhibit in a music museum in Southern California. This was one of the most difficult repair logs I’ve encountered so far.

There are three types of work I do on antique stringed instruments: restoration, repair, and conservation. A restored instrument is one “repaired” with all authentic woods and parts that are identical or similar to the original. It can be tuned up and played. A repaired instrument is one that non-traditional woods or parts are used to make it look like the original and to make it playable. Often, on very old instruments, the woods or parts are no longer available, so you have to Cover shot 1-72make do with newer woods or parts. A conserved instrument cannot be played. It is “repaired” to look presentable for exhibition.

A restoration project that came my way in April was another Kumalae Ukulele, this one from around 1920-25. Like many from this era, glue joints were failing, top and sides had cracks, and the body was slightly warped, due to loose interior bracing. I removed the top, which made it easier to repair all the bracing and cracks. I finished it last week, and it turned out quite nice. Like other old ukuleles with very thin woods, this one sounded wonderful.

On the Workbench

Dulcimer cane 2In my last blog entry I showed my new dulcimer-cane. Well, I have another in the works. This time it’s walnut and maple with a soundboard of salvaged first-growth Douglas fir. What will make this one different from my first one is the removable fife section below the dulcimer part, which is more in tune (no pun intended) to the 19th century French original.

New carving toolI got a new tool. Last week I spent three days at the annual AAW (American Association of Woodturners) Symposium. I attended several panel discussions and classes, viewed nearly a thousand hand-turned and hand-carved wood art pieces, and wandered the vendor show floor. It was in this last area I found an attachment for one of my Foredom handpieces that will allow me to do larger power-carved artworks. It’s also very good for hollowing out some instruments and spoons.

As Arrived-72I got another restoration project this week. A circa 1900 German-made autoharp. This device has 12 sliding chord bars that allow 36 different chords to be played. It’s in pretty bad shape and will be another extensive project, but I’m sure it will look like new when I’m done. More on that later.

Lastly, be sure to check you my Etsy store! Here’s the link:

Until next time, and as the Summer fog drifts around our home, onward…

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Musician’s Walking Stick

The last two weeks have been interesting, and it’s kept me busy. I haven’t been this inspired for quite a while.

Two weeks ago, I came across, quite by accident, an auction house web site listing a 19th century French walking stick and musical instrument combination. The following is the auctioneer’s description:

French duclimer cane1This highly important and versatile French cane combines a four-stringed dulcimer and a flute in its handsomely crafted form. Probably hailing from the region of Méricourt in eastern France, this walking stick allows beautiful music to be played by separating the dulcimer from the bottom of the stick, which is French duclimer cane2actually a flute. Beautifully crafted and in flawless condition, this cane is an exceptional example of rare musical canes. This instrument was almost certainly used by students who traveled from tavern to tavern singing or reciting poetry. This cane also comes with a tool for tightening the strings. Circa 1880. 35" length.

The price? Would you believe $24,500!

Ok. The problem with the above description is 1) This is not a dulcimer. It has chromatic fret spacing, not diatonic, which means it might be set up as a tenor guitar; and 2) That’s not a flute. It is a recorder, missing its fipple. The auction web site has a magnifying function that displays a close-up window that shows the parts in fine detail, and the finger hole layout suggests a recorder. Also, there’s no embouchure to make it a flute.

They’re probably right about Mirecourt being the place of origin, since that has been the main French luthery center since the 1600s. Many of the best French violins, guitars, and epinettes des Vosges (Mirecourt is in the Vosges valley) came from this area.

The idea that this instrument was used by students traveling from tavern to tavern is strictly conjecture (i.e., spindoctoring to make it sound romantic).


Anyway, I saw these pictures and thought, “wow, I can make a similar one as a real dulcimer!” And I started on it right away.

Musician walking stick1Twelve days later, here it is! The main “stick” is maple. I turned both ends on the lathe then carved the body, neck, and handle by hand. The fingerboard and bindings are black walnut, and the bridge and nut are ebony, as are the embellishments at both ends. I added a brass cane tip Musician walking stick1 detail_edited-1and collar to finish it off. It has a short 18” scale, and the sound is as sweet as a small epinette des Vosges. It’s sturdy, functional, and fun! I’ll price this a little lower than the French one. Say $1200.

I’m already making plans for the next one, which I’ll probably make an attempt to add the “flute” to the base. Stay tuned.

On another note, I started restoring another 1920-1925 Kumalae Ukulele today. I successfully removed the top by using a little steam to soften the old hide glue. There’s a few cracks I have to fix on the top and sides, then I can put it all back together.You can see the first one I restored on the Repair Logs page on my web site at

Until next time, once again, onward through the fog. (Yes, the fog returned this week after our previous week of very warm, Spring weather.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Quarter Way Through the Year Already

Seems like only yesterday we were celebrating Christmas, and here it is April already. Outside the roses are getting ready to bloom, trees have mostly blossomed and some are showing fruit, and grasses and wildflowers are making me sneeze. Inside, I finished restoring an antique dulcimer, started restoring a very unique concert zither (circa 1930s), and I’m getting ready to restore another 1920-1925 Kumalai Ukulele.

PA German Scheitholt-combinedAs for my own work, I finished another Pennsylvania German “Scheitholt”. This is the second one I made from the plans I drew up when I restored the original 1850-1865 instrument. (See the repair log on my web site at Click on “Pennsylvania German Scheitholt” to view the PDF file.)

The first one I made was all black walnut. This one is made of poplar, like the original. The double heads depict “Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender”, who are the subjects of an old Scottish folk song. (Child ballad #73.)

I’m still working on the medieval 3-legged chair, and carving away on a new harp. These two projects are very time consuming and it seems like I’ve been working on them forever. Well, at least since before last Christmas.

Last week I finally got my new work, nearly all I made last year, professionally photographed. My photographer here in Santa Cruz is Paul Schraub, who has snapped great pictures of my work for the last 12-13 years. I’ve known Paul a lot longer, because he photographed the band I was in back in 1980 BGH (Before Grey Hair). But that’s another story. Anyway, here are some of my new photos by Paul:

Autoharp-JH Large-blogAutoharp-Model 1-blog

              Experimental Autoharp (circa 1929)                   Autoharp: Model 1

Autoharp-Model 2 3-4-blogAutoharp-Model 2 3-4-detail-blog

                           Autoharp: Model 2 3/4                     Autoharp: Model 2 3/4 (detail)

Medieval Trestle Stool2-blogRush Seat Stool 1-blog

                       Medieval Trestle Stool #2                  Medieval Rush Seat Stool #1

Rush Seat Stool 2-blogDulcimer-Molly Malone-combined

             Medieval Rush Seat Stool #2                             Dulcimer: Molly Malone

Last but not least, I set up a shop on Etsy back in January that’s been relatively successful. I’ve sold a few items, including a dulcimer, and there’s been a lot of interest in several more pieces. Take a look at

I’ll be updating my regular web site soon to include all my new work, new photos, and descriptions. Stay tuned!

Until then, Onward…

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And the Rains Came… finally!

This has been a very dry Winter for us around the Monterey Bay and most of California. It’s hard to complain about the sunny, warm weather we’ve had the last couple of months, but with only one small rain-fed reservoir supplying water to 80,000+ people, a couple of years of drought can put a crimp on water use. Thank goodness a week of very wet weather has started.

One thing about nice weather is I can do more work. Not only is my workshop/studio cozy, but any gluing, varnishing, or painting I do, dries quickly. Wet, cold weather slows down the process. (Also, I’m reluctant to head out to my studio when it’s pouring outside.)

So… I’ve been working a lot on my newest medieval furniture project, the Three-legged Chair. This is made from beautiful American sycamore that I got for free. There are over 20 turned 3-legged Chair in process-72pieces that make up this chair, and I completed half of them before I realized I didn’t have enough to finish it. I was able to laminate long narrow scraps to turn four of the smaller back turnings, but I needed larger full pieces for the four long pieces that make up the arm rests.

I looked all over to find 30” to 36” 2” x 2” pieces of American sycamore. I called local hardwood lumber yards. No one had any. (A couple of them didn’t even know what sycamore was!) I finally checked the San Francisco Bay Area, from San Jose up to San Francisco and Oakland. One lumber dealer said they had some, so I drove over to Santa Clara to pick it up. However, when I got there, all they had were planks of European sycamore, which is nothing like American. Wasted trip.

Sycamore-purchased-72Next was to check the internet. Some dealers in the Midwest and East had smaller sycamore turning blocks for bowls and pens, but nothing big enough for me. Just by luck, the second time I “Googled” American Sycamore, a hardwood dealer with an online store showed up that listed just what I needed. A little pricey, but, hey… after getting all the rest for free, I’m still doing ok on costs.

A week after ordering it, it arrived. It’s a full 2” x 2” and 30” long. Three of the pieces are perfect. One has a little checking at one end, but that will be cut off anyway. One of the perfect pieces also has some very lovely spalting. This should look great after I turn it. I now have it prepped and ready to turn.

Drilling jig for circular items-72You might have noticed on the chair that the back pieces are pointing up at an angle. My calculations showed that where the back slats met the top cross member, the angle was around 55 degrees. I drilled the back post by hand, but to drill the cross member, which is much smaller in diameter, I created a padded and adjustable “saddle” jig that I could clamp to my drill press table. Once clamped, I can set the drill press table to the proper angle and drill the top piece at the places where the slats will fit in.

New Lathe chuck1-72Now, that I drilled the holes, I tried to fit the six angled slats in place. Ugh! Too long. I needed to re-chuck the slats in the lathe and re-turn them 1/2” shorter on each end. Unfortunately, I had no way of chucking the narrow dowel-like ends of the slats. To my rescue came a new tool (for me), a dowel collet-chuck system. This allows you to turn items from 3/16” to 3/4” in diameter. This tool is used mostly by pen turners or for working on dowels. My slats fit right in and I was able to correct the lengths.

Contemporary Crafts Market

Once again, the Baulines Craft Guild, of which I’m a Master Member, had a chance to display our Roy Helms Show-72works at the Contemporary Crafts Market, at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason, San Francisco this last weekend. Our area at this show has been generously donated by the head of Contemporary Crafts Market, Roy Helms, for many years. (Thank you Roy!)

I exhibited three pieces this year: the Medieval-style Rush Seat Stool, the Dolgeville Autoharp Model 1, and my Medieval-character Chess Set. This photo shows one end of the Baulines exhibit.

The next photos, close-ups of my chess set at the Contemporary Crafts Market show, were taken by my old friend, Charlie, who’s an avid and excellent photographer. These photos really show the detail in my carvings.

 miscellaneous 043miscellaneous 044

Charlie and I have known each other since 1964. He was the first guy I met when I started junior college in Hollister, California, and we chummed around for the next 15 years or so. We recently reconnected after going our separate ways nearly 30 years ago, and it almost felt like old times again. This photo was taken by my wife (with his camera) in the parking lot at Fort Mason.

Dynamic Duo at Roy Helms-72

That’s it for this post. The wind is blowing, the rain is falling (finally), and I have the heater on in my studio. Time to make some more sawdust.

Onward through the fog!

Friday, January 6, 2012

“Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”

Remember that song? It was written by Sandy Denny (Strawbs, Fairport Convention) and made popular by Judy Collins in 1968. Well, to answer that “timely” question, time is just zipping by. My last post was two months ago, and the previous one was two months before that. Seems like only yesterday.

Biltmore-frontOne reason for the recent delay in blog updates is, of course, the Holidays. Friends visited during Thanksgiving week, and then my wife and I traveled to Phoenix for Christmas. We stayed at the magnificent Arizona Biltmore, built in the 1920s and designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The hotel design was definitely influenced by Wright (whose winter home, Taliesin West, was not too far away). The weather was cool, but clear and pleasant.

I spent one day climbing Piestewa Peak (formerly Squaw Peak), and it was grueling. It took me Ron at top of Squaw Peakseveral hours to reach the top, a 1200 foot climb on one of the roughest, rockiest trails I’ve ever been on. It was worth it. The view that day was spectacular! (See photo.) I also visited the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) again. Once more I spent nearly seven hours there studying the types and evolution of instruments from around the world. To me, it’s easily one of the best Museums around the country.

We also spent a great evening at the Desert Botanical Garden, which was having “Los Noches de Las Luminarias”, a beautiful Southwest-style Christmas season event. The entire facility and trails were lined with luminarias, which got prettier as the sun set. We walked the many trails, enjoying the desert environment, and had dinner in the events center.

New Work

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I was working hard in my studio to complete a couple more pieces before the end of the year. Also, I’m finishing up a presentation I’ll give to the Diablo Woodworkers January 11th.

Rush Seat Stool 2-b-72As you’ve seen in previous blogs, I’m working more and more on medieval-style furnishings. My newest piece is another hand-turned, hand-carved, rush seat stool. On my first rush seat stool I used fiber rush, a paper product. On my newest, I used the real thing: natural cat tail rush. Like most of my medieval-style furniture, this is white oak.

Over the last two years, I’ve made several autoharps based on the 1885-1890 originals by the Zimmermann Company in Dolgeville, New York. Around the middle of 2011, I did some patent searches on the internet for zithers, stringed instruments, and autoharps. One patent I found from around 1928 was for an autoharp of a very different design, round and long, and for standing up to play using a strap, like a guitar strap. I was intrigued and decided to make it. Here' it is: RH Large Autoharp1-72

The patent was given to J. H. Large, and so far, only one has turned up, and it was probably a prototype. It seems to have never gone into production. Oscar Schmidt came out with a similar autoharp in the 1960s called the Guitaro. The made hundreds, some electrified, for only a few years, and they keep popping up on eBay at pretty high prices.

During the 1920s, ukuleles were very popular, and Koa was the wood of choice. I still had some Koa left over from our trip to the big island of Hawaii 17 or 18 years ago, and used it for this autoharp. The binding, bridges, and keys are maple. It has 20 strings, and an unusual set of 9 key bars set up with two major, two minor, and five major sevenths. It has a very nice, full, resonate tone.

That’s it for now. I’m still working on another harp, and finally started on a medieval three-legged chair that’s been in the planning stages for over a year.