CHICAGO

- World-renowned harp builder Lyon & Healy, established 1864,
avoided layoffs for its 135 employees during the recession by exporting to Asia, reports the Chicago Tribune. The musical instrument company now seeks two 
woodworkers. One position is listed as Furniture Touch Up at CareerBuilder.com. The Furniture Finisher position requires at least three years experience. The other position is a Mechanical Assembler with at least 1 year experience.

Lyon & Healy, which began in business by making pianos, moved into harp manufacture in 1889. Its five-story 64,000 square foot plant in Chicago is packed with carefully selected wood, including mahogany and Sitka spruce, which are hand carved and polished for up to 560 hours, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Lyon & Healy says the quality of each delivery of wood is scientifically tested to ensure that only the highest grade wood goes into the harp.The sorting process of the woods begins in the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Midwest where suppliers select mature-growth of Sitka Spruce and Hard Maple for use in the soundboard and overall structure of the harps.

Sitka Spruce is used for the frame of the body and the soundboard of the harp. Sitka Spruce not only has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any wood but also is responsive to the most subtle vibrations of sound. 

Lyon & Healy says it uses Hard Maple in the column, neck and body of its harps because of its "structural vitality," since the strings pull with up to 2,000 pounds of pressure. The dimensional grains of Birdseye Maple and Curly Maple complement the lines, curves and individuality of the harps.

As the woods arrive at Lyon & Healy, they are sorted, matched and archived according to color, density and shade so an exact resource is available as each harp is being made. The wood then goes through several drying stages in climate-controlled rooms to eliminate moisture that affects sound and causes warping. The entire drying process can take from six months to a year.


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