It was just a few Saturdays ago when I was putting up some new 5th octave strings on my harp Grover when I accidentally dropped my tuning key onto the left part of the soundboard and caused two unpleasant nicks to form and started the whole unpleasant 3-week long mess. And the culprit behind this mess is none other than this tuning key, the Dusty Strings Universal Tuning Key which I used many times before the unfortunate accident occurred
I got highly upset when it happened; this is a 4 year old harp I own. He never had any boo boos on him before and this is the first time he has ever face this! I have been taking great care of him the best I could ever since he arrived at my place 3 years ago. And now I had to deal with some unpleasant, unsightly boo boos that gave Grover and me a really bad experience that lasted for 3 miserable weeks. And here’s how I dealt with it.
With hardly any harp technician who’s an expert in handling Camac harps around where I live, I had to make do with what I have and what I can do to fix him. I tried getting in contact with a few harp technicians, but they said there was nothing they could do about Grover’s predicament because none of them are experts in harp finishes. So I attempted to fix Grover myself without making matters worse for both me and Grover. I can tell you one thing. It wasn’t easy. It was upsetting and highly emotional for me and Grover. At times, I even cried, fearing that I will ruin Grover forever. I love that instrument so much!! I don’t want anything bad and worse to happen to him and all my future harps I plan to own when I can afford to do so!
First, I tried covering the boo boos with bling stickers.
But I was told through social media that it was a bad idea for me to do that due to concerns about appraisal and sound quality being affected by the stickers and advised me to remove them. I did, but as I was removing just one of the stickers from the soundboard, I inadvertently peeled off a piece of lacquer finish that was on the harp when he was being assembled in the Camac harp factory in 2015 in France.
Assuming that it was sticker residue of some sort, I tried using various kinds of soft cloths and pads to scrub it off. But it didn’t work. The mark was indeed what’s left of the lacquer after I unintentionally peeled it off. And it proved to be very unsightly for me to look at even when I placed a wood putty onto the large and small boo boos to cover it up.
So I tried using special wax made for musical instruments and clear gloss from Minwax to cover up the blemish. But none of them have ever worked. The blemish was still there. And the gloss refuses to stick and had the tendency to peel itself off no matter how many coats of gloss I put on Grover’s left soundboard. So I spent all of last Saturday removing all the gloss and wax from the soundboard without wrecking every part of it. The next day, I finally managed to find the reasonable solution to take care of Grover’s “boo boos.” A little while back I covered up the big boo boo by placing a humongous wood putty onto it. Even decorated it so it won’t look bad.
But the gloss was peeling and the areas surrounding the putty dot was cover with glossy residue and faint scratches from my first attempt to remove the boo boo from Grover’s soundboard. So I had to use Goo Gone, fingernails, soft cloths, blunt knives and spoon handle, a plastic store card, and finally Purell hand sanitizer to remove all that gloss and wax from the harp. It removed all the Sharpie marker ink from the dot as you can see here.
There were still residue left over from all my efforts to clean up Grover’s soundboard without fouling up the soundboard that made Grover still look really bad. Painting the dot again with a different bronze color was one way to conceal the flaw, but then I had an idea.
Taking some sharpie and permanent paint markers and black ink, I began to draw a flower and a small insect onto the boo boos to match the color and floral scheme onto the soundboard’s paint decor. It’s not perfect duplicate but close enough!
To match the floral and the insect design, I turned to the right side of the soundboard and drew another flower and insect which looks very different than the first pair.
The results were magnificent! I love the way things are working out at last.
I admit what I did is many times better and wholly satisfying than try putting wax or gloss onto the soundboard to conceal the boo boos. As you can see in Grover’s updated photo below the results are far more better and highly satisfying than all the other options I took to fix the accidental problem on Grover’s soundboard. The boo boos are busted, the Dusty Strings universal tuning key responsible for the accident ended up getting sold on eBay to avoid a repeat of what happened weeks ago and Grover is all better now and ready to be played again…. I hope.