Wax On, Wax Off

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Mike Lewis is a San Francisco-based harp technician and owner of HarpTech.

San Francisco-based harp technician Mike Lewis started working at a harp factory in Chicago in 1989. In 1996 he started his own business, HarpTech. Contact him with suggestions of topics you’d like to see in Tech Talk at harptech@harptech.com.

How to maintain your harp’s finish.

So you want to maintain the finish of your harp? Of course you do, it makes perfect sense that you would want to maintain the outward appearance of your instrument. Let me tell you what a finish is and what its function is.

Imagine a harpist performing under bright stage lights without makeup. While beautiful, the harpist’s face lacks definition. That is the visual function of your harp’s finish—to enhance the appearance of the harp. But the more important function of the finish, the real reason it’s there, is to protect your harp.

Say someone spills a glass of water on your harp. Without a finish, the wood of your harp would absorb the water. Or imagine some greasy-fingered kid checking out your harp. The kid’s dirt and grime would become embedded in the wood grain of your harp. The finish of your harp forms a mechanical barrier from the outside world that can harm it.

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