Help — My Harp Just Exploded!

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    Carolyn DUrso

    From the adjacent room I heard the sound of wood splitting.

    Racing over to my harp I discovered that the soundboard on my 13-year-old L&S 85P had ripped away from the sound-box all along one side, tearing the soundboard in a couple of places.

    I’m devastated!

    What happened? Why?

    What do I do now?


    I am really sorry to hear that – I can only imagine how awful it must feel.


    Carolyn- If the soundboard ripped open where it meets the edge of the body and not near the center where the strings come out of the board, then it sounds like somebody in the factory forgot to put screws every 1.5 inches or so. Thats the only way that could rip open. There are supposed to be screws all along each side of the soundboard where it meets the body. The screw heads are then covered by the edge strips at the edge of the soundboard.

    My guess is that you will have to get a new soundboard. I don’t know of any way to re-glue the existing board into place.


    Carolyn, how horrible. That is really grim—and bizarre, as well. 13 year old harps shouldn’t spontaneously split apart!
    Sounds like L&H owes you a new board. Please let us know how they respond!


    Remember that harps are warranted for only five years. Wood can have hidden flaws that weaken over time. Not trying to be a wet blanket, just considering all aspects.


    Can you fit your hand into the gap where the body separated from the board? Do you see/feel screws in there?


    Are you talking about the sounding board or the veneer? There is a difference. The sounding board is what you see through the back of the harp. If it is intact, then replacing the veneer only is not so traumatic, though still a fairly major repair. Perhaps you could post a photo of the damage. Was your house extremely dry, perchance? The glue could have failed, no?

    Carolyn DUrso

    It’s definitely the soundboard — I can fit my fingers through from the back. The screws are still attached to the soundbox (every two inches), but the soundboard and 1/2″ wide strip are ripped away from the screws all the way down the side.

    I’ve been corresponding with Lyon & Healy (sending photos, etc.) and they say that they’ll glue the two 2″ tears in the soundboard and repair/replace the the strip, rescrewing it all again — for $2200 (not including shipping to and from Chicago)!

    I checked, and my harp is 10 years old (not 13), and was purchased directly from L & H.

    Does my homeowner’s insurance cover any of this, do you think?

    Amber M

    I wouldnt think homeowner’s insurance would cover it, but any valuable item insurance you have on the harp specifically should.

    Carolyn DUrso

    That was a dumb question I posed regarding homeowners insurance — I guess I’m still over-emoting about my harp.


    I’d be upset, too!


    Carolyn- That’s really bizarre that the board ripped up even with the screws that reinforce the glue joint. I’ve never heard of that. I have heard of this happening in cases where the screws were left out. My only explanation is that maybe the screws are too short. They should be 5/8″ to 3/4″ long.

    Re-reading your post, there is another possible explanation, and that is that perhaps the screws were countersunk too deeply so that in fact they were not able to hold the soundboard in place.


    Did they give you any idea as to why it happened? My harp is about the same age as yours.


    I recall a similar problem being mentioned in Pratt’s Affairs of the Harp.

    Jessica A

    For that amount of

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