sponge in harp???

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #160975

    I was talking to another harpist today, and she mentioned something about putting a sponge in her harp. I have to say, I was a bit surprised when she said this and she looked at me with an equally surprised look and said “Don’t you?” Quite frankly, I have never heard of this. I have both a pedal and a lever harp. Two questions: 1) What would be the purpose of putting a wet sponge in a valuable harp? 2) Should I be doing this?

    Any thoughts, comments, suggestions would be much appreciated!


    barbara-low on #160976

    1) it is thought to raise the humidity to acceptable levels
    2) don’t do this, because it doesn’t work

    If the humidity in the room is not high enough, then use a humidifier for the room. You can damage the wood in your harp by putting a wet/damp sponge in the body.

    Get a hygrometer at Radio Shack and use a humidifier that doesn’t put out steam. Keep the humidity between 40%-60%; at the extremes 30%-70%.

    unknown-user on #160977

    I was told by a piano tuner to put a bowl of water in the bottom of my piano (an upright) to stop the strings going out of tune too quickly.

    Cheryl Z. on #160978

    Hi Molly,

    Melody’s Traditional Music & Harp Shoppe sells what is called a humitron.

    bernhard-schmidt on #160979

    If one can calculate how much water

    Liam M on #160980

    I always

    unknown-user on #160981

    I stuck a mop in my harp.

    Chris Asmann on #160982

    I’m glad that seems to work well for Liam, but it’s really not a good idea. A sponge inside the harp (or any humidifier) will increase the humidity on the inside, where the wood is unfinished and able to absorb more moisture.

    This causes the interior of the body to swell slightly and could distort the shell or hasten the demise of glue joints on the body. Also, if you’re relying on the sponge and not using a room humidifier, the room will be drier than normal which will exacerbate the problem.

    The reason those little humidifiers work well for guitars is that guitars spend most of their time inside a case, where the humidity will stabilize around the entire instrument. For obvious reasons it doesn’t apply to a harp.

    While laminate wood products are less affected by changes in humidity, they are still wood, and will still react (slowly and less dramtically) to changes in humidity with changes in dimension.

    If you’ve just spent thousands of dollars on a fine wood instrument, why take chances? Plunk down the extra $50 for a decent humidifier. I have a Hunter model 34355 with a permanent aluminum wick (lasts about 2 years with hard water) and it maintains 45% humidity in a room that’s 18×24 with 12′ ceiling. It has a built-in humidistat, so it turns on and off at levels I can set.

    You’ll probably find that stable 40% humidity is pleasant for people too :-)


    Liam M on #160983

    Actually Chris, I finished my harp on the inside as well as the outside. I don’t wax it inside, but it has the same danish oil finish that I applied to the outside. The harps are also covered or cased, (leather and/or canvas), when not in use. My hygrometer indicates an equal humidity inside and out. The sponge case would work as well just inside the case, I travel with the harp constantly and a room humidifier is not practical.

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