Wooden lever harp and sunlight/heat

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    evolene_t on #223156

    Hello everyone!

    I am the proud owner of a Dusty bubinga FH26 harp, with the soundboard in maple. I’m having trouble at the moment because I don’t know where to put my harp!

    FH26 bubinga

    I know that one should keep harps away from sunlight at all cost because repeated exposure to heat on specific parts of the soundboard will make the wood swell, leading to imbalance in the whole harp.

    During summer, the sun shines in the whole room but is quite straight so I can just put the harp next to the back wall and sunlight will not reach it.
    But at the moment, with French winter advancing and the equinox nearing, the sun beams are much more slanted and reach to the whole back wall. At the moment, I’m putting the harp on the left side of the window because the sun sets early enough and doesn’t reach all the way there.

    I should add that at the moment, the sun can shine quite brightly but quite cooly, and the air is at freezing temperatures outside. It’s a true “winter sun” that doesn’t melt frost.

    Winter sun

    But it leads me to a few questions :
    – How bad is it if the sun touches the top of the pillar, but never the soundboard?
    – How useful is it if I cover the harp with an opaque velvet cover? Is it enough to protect it?
    – Does the type of wood make a difference?
    – Any other, realistic advice?

    I’m sure most people will have found themselves in the same position. I intend to keep the harp for many-a-years, to my old days if possible (I’m in my twenties so not sure how realistic this is). So I’m trying to take as much care of the harp as possible, never keeping it close to radiators and keeping the humidity stable.

    Most harp covers I see are for pedal harp and see to be meant for dust and bumps, but not for the sun. What do you advise?

    Harp cover

    Thank you all!

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by evolene_t.
    talfryn on #223169

    I have trouble adding the photo but here goes again

    talfryn on #223175

    Hello Evolène
    First of all I apologize something happened with my first response when I tried to attach a photo, so if I have made a mess on the thread sorry.
    I also keep my harps in a sunny room with windows at both ends, in France (01300) also. Though maybe not as sunny as yours. I think it depends on if the temperature of the room is increased by the sunlight, if the room acts like a “greenhouse” you need to be very careful. The general advice is “if you’re comfortable the Harp is”. As my music room has pretty equal normal room temperatures, I keep my harps protected from direct sunlight just using dust covers, old duvet/quilt covers are good for this and are very easy to adapt, just cut and sow, about an hours work. If your lucky you can also align them so that the poppers and buttons are reused to release and keep the Harp closed. I am of the opinion the covers also reduce string breakage when the harps asleep. In many years I have never found a broken string with the covers on, but it has happened several times if the Harp is left naked. So I have the habit of “dressing the harps for bed” with the dust covers.
    I have included a picture of where my harps live, although they are undressed in the photo.

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    David Kitamura on #223191

    A similar concern from the winter sun prompted me to install “light filtering” blinds for the windows in my current music room. They allow plenty of natural light in the room while keeping direct sunlight away from anything inside. I wouldn’t advise allowing a covered harp to sit in direct sun. A dark covering retains heat from the sun and is liable to overheat whatever is inside of it.

    wil-weten on #223198

    Hi Evolène, congratulations on your new harp. I am just curious: what does this harp offer you in additions to your 26 string Dusty double harp?

    As to your questions: I would never, ever want to have the sun shine on the harp. So, think of sun-blinds that still let some filtered light through.

    In addition: keep the atmospheric humidity in the harp room always between 40% and 60%. I have an air moisturizer for the dry air in winter and an air demoisturizer for the moist air in summer.

    Many happy hours with your new harp!

    Biagio on #223201

    Drapes are fine, and so would be a loose cover. But the major issue with direct sunlight in a room is not heat affecting the wood swelling or shrinking – assuming we are not talking about something like 35 C – but uneven bleaching of the wood.

    As to where to put the harp when you are not playing it – if at all possible always place a harp in a corner or at least against the wall to obviate being bumped or falling over.


    hearpe on #223211

    Beautiful harp! Good for you.

    evolene_t on #223296

    Hello all!

    Thank you for your various advice. I’ll stick with harp covers in that case, especially since it doesn’t seem to be causing problems at the moment (hardly any sunlight and the daylight is too short).

    @ Talfryn, super les harpes!

    @ Wil-Weten : this is the double-strung, I haven’t changed nor bought a new one (it’s very much a complete instrument!). I just figured that the fact that it is double-strung doesn’t add anything to my question here.

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