Re: Water Problems

Hello harp players,

On 3/21/94 at 14:44:37 -0500 (EST) Peter McGuire said in part
"The comb is made of wood, and when I use the harp for any extended period of
time the moisture from my mouth causes the teeth of the comb to expand. They
expand a few millimeters beyond the cover plates, interfering with my lips
something terrible."

Well, it's been a long time since I've really played a marine band long 
enough for this to be a problem but I do remember sanding down the comb on 
a couple of harps long ago.  Other folks have suggested this already but I 
wanted to make this's the edges of the wood sticking out that 
are ripping up your lips.  So instead of sanding the expanded wood down 
flat to the harp, just sand the exposed edges of the wood, to round off the 
sharp edges.  This should reduce the damage to your lips and still preserve 
the integrity of the seal between holes when the harp is dry.

This solution is an imperfect one as any sanding you do to the comb will 
remove the coating, thus allowing the wood to absorb water even faster than 
before.  You might want to take the harp apart (after sanding the edges 
round) and use something like gun-stock oil to recoat the wood.  after each 
coating of the oil use a steel wool pad (or kitchen scrubber like Scotch
-brite or something) to smooth out the coating and give it a finish that 
dosen't feel sticky but that your lips can slide over easily (sort of a 
satin finish).  I would say try two or three coats of the oil, steel 
wooling CAREFULLY after each coat (the wood comb IS fragile and can easily 
be broken) to provide a good seal against moisture.

Of course now I play Golden Melodies so I don't have this problem...

Good Luck.

Bill Long --> StarGazer

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