Getting Personal,  My Harp Grover

At Last! Grover is FINALLY Fixed!!

My apologies for all the lack of updates to this site within the past several months. Most of the times was spent engaging in the US Politics and fixing my beloved harp Grover, who is now FINALLY FIXED!!

At long last, after months of trial and error and harboring emotional fears of wrecking the instrument beyond repair, which I’m thankful it never happened, I finally managed to get my harp cosmetic issues entirely fixed to where I will be satisfied with the results. Here’s how I did it.

I used a lot of oil-based Natural finish wood stains that came from mainly Minwax and Old Masters Natural Gel Stain and a discontinued version of Varathane Natural Gel Stain. I used various types of sandpaper, mostly the 220, 100, and 150-grit types I bought at my local hardware store to smooth the Mohawk Epoxy Putty Sticks of either Pine or Natural Maple to where it levels with the actual surface of the harp. I also discovered to my amazement that Gorilla Wood Glue works wonders in helping to camouflage all of the Epoxy Putty marble designs and the oil-based stains that are on Grover’s top column.

I found it amazing that the Gorilla Wood Glue did justice to what I applied onto the forehead to try to hide the chipped flaws that made Grover’s column appearance look really bad. With the help of the wood glue I was able to fix the column and put polyurethane on it to protect it from harm.

I wish it was the same as Grover’s soundboard. Apparently Grover’s soundboard was made of a much different wood than the pillar. Several times I put patches onto the flawed areas created by the Dusty Strings Universal tuning key, which I accidentally dropped from my hand as I was just starting to replace some old worn out strings on Grover, starting this whole freakin’ mess. But the patches along with the stains and the wood glue never blended in really well and made Grover’s soundboard look really bad. So I used a Scotch Brite scrub pad and lot of elbow grease to remove all the glue and fillers from the flaws.

At one point I arranged for another wood repair group and come pick up Grover and fix him at their workshop. But they sent him back, saying that they don’t have the heart to fix a delicate instrument like Grover which is understandable. They never handled such a wooden instrument before and they just don’t want to try lest they end up damaging him and I don’t want it to happen. So I ended up trying to finish fixing Grover myself.

I tried using certain types of paint in yellow shades to cover up the patches. But none of them has ever matched Grover’s finish and it was sticking out like a sore thumb. So I have to remove them and try something else.

I made some homemade filler by creating sawdust from a wooden plank and mixed it with wood glue. Great for covering up nail holes. Not so great for covering up the damaged flaws on Grover’s soundboard. I had to use the wet Scotch Brite scrub pad to remove the filler. When filler, the glue, and the putty patch got wet, they just simply peeled right off. I didn’t have to sand it down much at all.

Then I finally gave up on the putty and filler. They never looked well on a harp’s soundboard anyway. So what’s the use of them?

I went back to using oil-based markers to patch up Grover’s flaws whether it’s gold, bronze, or yellow type although they never match well with an actual Natural finish or the bronze/copper/gold decals on the soundboard. But I decided to go back to using them anyway. But then an idea came to my mind that I should’ve thought of before.

When I first got Grover, I bought red and blue rubber bands which helped me locate and tune all of the C and F strings without a problem. When they wore out, I ordered a set of much tougher rubber plastic online that proved to be longer lasting than the rubber bands. The red and blue colored markers both go great with Grover’s C and F strings and rings along with the natural finish on his body. This gave me an idea that finally worked to fix Grover’s issue on the soundboard.

Using a few sets of oil-based paint markers, I began drawing a heart which covered the damaged flaw on Grover’s soundboard perfectly. At first I drew it in a bronze shaded color with a yellow border around it. But then I thought, “why not make it red and blue to accompany the red and blue strings on the harp?” And that’s what I did. I took red and blue markers and begin coloring the heart red with a blue borderline. The results turned out to be far more better and pleasing than I thought. The red and blue colors both go well with Grover’s color scheme. perfectly.

And I’m like, “Why didn’t I think of this before?” Look at what I did to the flawed markings on Grover’s soundboard after I got rid of the putty and filler.

Two Hearts… living in just one mind.

I covered both the large and the small damaged flaws created by the non-rubber tuning key with 2 hearts. I tried using an old crayon to color in the flawed impression left behind after I removed the putty from the damaged spot. But it made the area looked bad. So I removed it and tried covering the mark with Natural finish stains from Minwax and Old Masters and topped it off with oil-based Minwax Satin Polyurethane in a spray can. But the impression was still there after all the staining I did. So I remedied the area by drawing more red hearts which covered the impression perfectly and finished it off with an old non-washable yellow crayola marker.

Now look at what I did. I add more hearts!

I hope you all like it. I sure do. The hearts I drew have succeeded what the putty, fillers, paint, and stain failed to do. Resolved the whole issue involving those two damaged marks created by this tuning key!

Not using that anymore

And look at all the attempts I made over the months to fix the flaws the tuning key have created by accident since August 10, 2019 long before I discovered that oil-based markers and Minwax oil-based Satin polyurethane works far more better than the putty, fillers, and the washable water-based polyurethane and Sharpie Markers have done.

None of what I did according to the photos above satisfied me as much as the oil-based markers and poly have.

Grover finally getting all fixed.

It took me a year and 3 months to figure out how to repair Grover’s cosmetic issues without wrecking him beyond repair. And let me tell you, it was all worth it. Every money spent, every ounce of emotion, determination, and creativity was all worth the trouble of fixing this special concert grand pedal harp I’m very proud to own. It was all worth it. Just ask Grover and Ernie, my Camac Mademoiselle Lever Harp on the right.

Grover and Ernie together.

Now I can play and enjoy the harp again and get on with creating more Punisher and his harp.

Owosso Harpist

Sherry Konkus lives in Owosso, MI. She is the proud owner of the Camac Athena EX Concert Grand Harp named "Grover" and Camac Mademoiselle named "Ernie." She's also the proud author of The Punisher Harp Zone. Sherry is the one who came up with the idea of portraying The Punisher from Marvel Comics as the punishing harpist who plays the harp in memory of his family who was killed by the mob years ago.

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