I can hardly wait to try this. Another key point that came to mind is how simply reversible this modification is. If for some reason an unsteady hand gobbed the lacquer on top of the reed… it can simply be cleaned off. Unlike read shaping and embossing there seems to be a zero chance of actually botching the job.
This non-burnish method is especially nice because it appears to work equally well without regard to the reed plate metal, be it: hard brass, soft brass, stainless steel…
Nice job on the video too with good details and visual aid... The black lacquer shows up well on camera but I think I’ll order gold and silver.
I have to admit if this works as well as expected I will be slightly disappointed. I have spent some time developing my shaping and burnishing skills. Those skills are likely to fade away like my proficiency with a slide rule :\
Agreed, it is "burnishing" just like rolling an edge on a cabinet scraper.
Very clever solution! I'd thought about that issue too, but my solutions were at the point of manufacture and not particularly cost effective... either tooling the reed plate to have ridges or making an indentation for the bass of the reed to sit in to get the reed a smidge lower (that might help with alignment too, but would require another whole machining process for each hole.)
After watching this video, I immediately went to the drug store and bought 3 Nail Art Pens. I had no doubt that they would work, but I did try it on a harp right away.
Works perfectly. I have been using nail polish for quite a while to seal the leaks at the base of the reeds but it is difficult to apply exactly the right amount with the brush. This makes that process so much easier. This is a no-brainer.
I will not abandon my entire methodology in favor of doing things the way Brendan has demonstrated in his video, but this is a valuable arrow to have in your quiver.
Tom, The most common nail colors are a form of lacquer. It dries fast and hard. It bonds well to "clean" metal surfaces. I have used lacquers on many indoor and outdoor projects. It should last for decades on a reed plate including common cleaning, even with alcohol.
I keep a selection of nail colors in my shop for touch up. The little bottles and brush are very handy. I've never used the detail pens however.
Some nail colors are "water based" others cure using a "UV" light. I would steer clear of these.
Arrived home from the drugstore today with one of these pens and got to work. The liquid was perhaps a little less viscous that what I see in your video but it seems to work! I checked the gaps against a light and indeed, it looks much more airtight. I've been working on getting a hole 4 overblow on a G harp and I'm sure this will help. Thanks Brendan! You are such an inspiration!
Thanks for the positive comments y'all. Good to hear it's working for you Tom H - looking forward to hear reports of how it works for others. It can be a bit tricky to keep the pen steady on the side of the reed, but if you end up depositing some solution on the reed surface it will scrape off instantly without leaving a residue.
As dchurch says, the nail lacquer stays put where it's meant to be. But it's easy enough to remove and reapply if you decide you want to.
It's so light I wouldn't imagine it will help for reversible pitch lowering Tom, you'd have to use an awful lot! Blu Tack is better for that I think.
Thanks Brendan definitely going to give this a try. The shin tool you have is something I had trouble finding so I ordered a fine tip x-acto knife with hopes it will work. I think cutting would create a cleaner more durable cut then plinking.
Hi, first up I am new to the forum so thanks for havin me. Thanks to Brendan for the brilliant demonstration. Does anyone know where I can get one of those pens in Australia as I am having terrible trouble the only one I’ve seen was on amazon with a two month wait on delivery Cheers Brencoz
Same problem here in NZ.Guess what, i just tried it with a lipstick(not mine) it works! Won't last as long as the nail polish but it was an interesting experiment to prove the concept . Mind boggles a bit though at the thought of hairy assed Harp players opening their Gig case at a blues Jam(can i borrow your lipstick Joe type of scenario.) Brendan is a wizard.
Last Edited by indigo on Feb 10, 2019 9:24 PM
FYI-. next time you're at the dentist, ask if you can have a "matrix band". It's a very thin flexible piece of metal that works well sliding down the Reed to break it from the nail polish. ---------- Bluesharp- If you don't blow you suck...