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Fitting new pegs
I need an idiots guide to fitting new pegs
Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 (7 votes) 
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Chinafiddler
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October 2, 2014 - 11:55 pm
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Hi all,

Last year one of my pegs split and since then I have been using a set of antique rosewood pegs taken from my old fiddle (broken) that I played when I was young.

This fiddle was made in Bavaria in 1889 and hence the taper is different to that of modern violins (found this out here).

The reason I haven't had it fixed by a professional is because in my small city there are none that I would trust with my expensive violin.

The nearest professionals are in Guangzhou or Hong Kong which is some +500 kms away.

I have decided to try and tackle this job myself with the help of this forum.

Buying pegs is no problem and I have in fact already seen a few nice sets online.

Could somebody tell me if these pegs will fit when they arrive, as I have no idea?

Also what tools will I need to do this job successfully?

Also I prefer to use rosewood as it seems that this type of wood is less susceptible to  humidity.

I don't want to use ebony as my tailpiece is boxwood, hence brown in color.

Now I have seen jujube wood and snake wood pegs but I don't really know anything about this kind of timber.

Advice please!

 

Regardsblink

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 3, 2014 - 12:25 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

I recommend that you keep the tailpiece and the pegs the same material for appearance sake. The pegs will most likely not match your holes and you'll need to get a hold of a peg shaver, hopefully with the same ratio as you presently have with your peg holes. You'll want to shave a bit at a time and test until you are almost at the right size then use the shaver but turning counter clockwise to compact the wood as much as possible. Also, to avoid shaving too much. Remember that you can always take more off but never put any back. Since it's your first time you may want to order two sets. If you choose to go with Boxwood to match your tailpiece you'll want to seal the pegs when you are done shaving them. It's not a bad idea to use a peg compound/dope or peg drops where the pegs meet the holes for a smoother action.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Chinafiddler
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October 3, 2014 - 1:48 am
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Hi FM,

Actually I was considering changing everything to rosewood .

I agree that fitting rosewood pegs with a boxwood tailpiece wouldn't look good .

Thanks for the helpful advice .

I'll let you know how I get on .

Pierre (hope you don't mind me calling you by your name) could you attach a photo of a typical peg shaver because I have no idea what one looks like,..thanks.

 

Regards

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Barry
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October 3, 2014 - 5:51 am
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CF,

If you have no experience in doing this job, Id rather let a small town shop that has experience do it over someone with zero experience. Please dont think Im being rude,just curious , how does one with as many years in violin not know what a peg shaver and reemer are ? Ive only been at this fiddle stuff 6 years and have already shaved and fitted pegs, made soundposts,etc.

If you decide to do it yourself, you may want to buy a cheap set and work them first to get a feel for it. Rosewood shaves different then Boxwood does,as does Ebony due to diferences in hardness.

lots of stuff on the web to read to educate yourself. Good luck

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Chinafiddler
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October 3, 2014 - 7:35 am
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Hi Barry,

 

Let me put it this way, 'you don't need to be a mechanic to drive a car!'

Many people never learn anything about what goes on under the hood of their car, but this doesn't stop them from being a great and safe driver, yes or no?

My interest has always been in playing the violin the very best I can, and fortunately I have always been able to employ professional to carry out routine maintenance on my fiddles.

Hope this answer your question.

Now to allowing a little local workshop to do the job!

Well you obviously know very little about provincial China.

First let me add that I have the greatest respect for the many very gifted violin makers in China, but these people are located in the big cities, Beijing, Guanhgzhou, Nanjing, etc, and they take great care with anything they do because they know that their reputation relies upon doing a good job.

A reputaion is hard to gain, but easy to lose literally over night.

If I were to put this very expensive fiddle in the hands of a local person it would almost certainly get damaged, and I am not prepared to take that risk. 

Local people are not so bothered about repeat business and their craftsmanship leaves a lot to be desired.

I even worry about inviting tradespeople into my home to do work as in the past they have fixed one thing and damaged something else.

So as a rule I now watch their every move to ensure they do what I want, and not what they want to do.

Now maybe you understand my predicament Barry.

On the plus side I do come from an engineering background and generally I am very good at fixing things, electrical, electronic, or wooden!

 

Regards

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Barry
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October 3, 2014 - 8:18 am
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I understand if you dont trust them. Like I said, get an extra set of the same material and practice. Not hard to split a peg or take a chunk out if not careful.

No doubt you can do it, just take your time.

As for the mechanic/driver comparison.. even someone who dosent work on cars knows what a jack,lug wrench and other common tools are

wink

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Tucson1
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October 3, 2014 - 12:02 pm
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Hey CF ,

Here's a pic .   this type of peg shaver is adj .but comes set at 1:30 ...watch some vids ?...browes the threads here ?violin-1267IMG_2428.JPGImage Enlarger

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coolpinkone
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October 3, 2014 - 12:31 pm
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Cool tools Tucs.  I knew you'd be posting some photos!   ;)

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coolpinkone
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October 3, 2014 - 12:35 pm
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I have a question... Do the pegs come with the holes for the string already drilled?  I am sorry if this was answered already.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
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October 3, 2014 - 1:33 pm
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Pegs do not come with pre-drilled holes cpo. The reason is that you will be setting them to your own instrument first. Some people sink the pegs a lot while others let them stick out a lot.

Chinafiddler, I had never seen a peg shaver either before I got into this business. I believe that most professional violinists working in our orchestra had not seen the tools either. I'll post a picture, though Tucson1 already has, since mine looks a bit different. I bet you can get them cheap in China. Just hope the tools are good.

@ Barry, believe it or not, I only knew two violinists who ever worked on instruments in all the years I played professionally and in all the different orchestras. That is not to say that there were not more, just that I didn't know of anyone else. Lot's of professional classical violinists are not that handy either. LOL, They leave it to the luthiers. I was so fortunate that my orchestra even paid for all repairs and strings for the longest time. The orchestra would even pay a big part of my mortgage on a fine instrument if I had made the investment. All professional orchestras are different and this would not be the case here in the US.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Fiddlerman
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October 3, 2014 - 1:38 pm
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Herdim-German-Peg-Shaver.jpgImage Enlarger

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Barry
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October 3, 2014 - 3:40 pm
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I guess maybe thats the difference between fiddlers and violinists. Fiddlers tend to be hands on tradesmen... so I guess we just naturally want to play with tools...LOL

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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RosinedUp
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October 3, 2014 - 4:01 pm
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Somebody who approaches a specialized problem with intelligence, care, time, and patience can very often outdo a pro, who may easily lack at least one of those.  And that's not just in luthierie.

One member reports that he is unable to find a single luthier he can trust in his city of over 5 million.  The city is not in China, but the conditions are similar.

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Barry
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October 3, 2014 - 6:32 pm
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RosinedUp said
Somebody who approaches a specialized problem with intelligence, care, time, and patience can very often outdo a pro, who may easily lack at least one of those.  And that's not just in luthierie.

One member reports that he is unable to find a single luthier he can trust in his city of over 5 million.  The city is not in China, but the conditions are similar.

I think maybe a lot of that is because of how attached we become to our instruments, wouldnt you agree rosinedup ? My viola isnt an expensive instrument, but its mine and I care for it deeply as its a part of me. So I can understand where chinafiddler comes from if he has no faith in those folks.

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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RosinedUp
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October 3, 2014 - 7:00 pm
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Yes, you care about it more because it's yours.  If you care, and you do the work yourself, you're going to know what was done to it.  Someone else is more likely to cut corners.  So if a little learning is required, or some tools are needed, it's often worth it to do it yourself.  And you can look at it as part of playing (or driving or whatever), in a way. But it does take time and attention.  That's the way it is with me, anyway.

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cdennyb
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October 3, 2014 - 10:18 pm
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It must just be me... But...

 if I owned a violin of that apparent age, and of that apparent value, I certainly wouldn't think I, (an untrained Luthier or even Luthier's helper), would be able to do better my first or second try at ANY kind of repair than a local artisan that might actually know what they are doing as opposed to myself (if I didn't have any experience doing that sort of thing). In fact I am totally surprised you hadn't had the need in the past 30 years to have an instrument worked on! I certainly would've found an acceptable repair source by this time in my playing career.

Now, to qualify myself... in case you think I don't have a clue.

I have been studying under an accomplished local Luthier of over 30 years experience for the past 2-3 years. He "lets" me make bridges, restring instruments, cut pegs, scrap fingerboards to level and recut the scoop, and I change tailpieces and re-hair bows as well. but...

He draws the line at me taking a violin apart and says in about 5 years I will have the necessary mind set to go it my own way.) and I assume the skills to know how much and what not to do in the process...and what to look for and how to deal with the many tell-tale signs of what's the cause and not just what's wrong in order to fix it properly.) True, peg reamers are pretty much "child's play" compared to crack repair but the same principles apply.

If the instrument is not really worth all that much to me and isn't really all that old or valuable, then I'd just cut the peg holes with a modern day taper and cut some new pegs and fit them all and be done with it.

Making it sound like the instrument is far too valuable to let just anyone work on it and then turn around and say, "I don't have a clue what I'm doing but it can't be that hard... I'll just buy some tools and cut my own." (or something along those thoughts...) isn't logical or proper in the eyes of the Luthier world.

It must just be me... But...

I'd start planning a "road trip" and pack a lunch for an overnight stay at the nearest qualified Luthier's shop. Fixing that cracked peg by replacing it with a new one of your choice would be about an hour job... easily done if given a little advanced notice that you were coming.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Ferret
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October 4, 2014 - 6:11 am
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@cdennyb 

No, it's not just you mate.

I was thinking something similar but you have said it better than I could :)

If you want to try it yourself CF I reckon that it would be a good idea to find a <$40 VSO and practice on it first.

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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Fiddlerman
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October 4, 2014 - 9:33 am
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We're all different :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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October 4, 2014 - 2:47 pm
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At Pierre...so what kind of drill do you use to drill holes in pegs.  Also could you take the pegs from the violin already and put the holes in the same place as they were on the old pegs?

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Tucson1
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October 5, 2014 - 5:32 am
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Toni ,

Love that yer interested ...good for you ...even for those folks who will never work on an instrument there is interest just the same ...

Here is a page from Michael Atria's Violin Repair Guide ...a handy book I recommend to all interested folks ...cost about twelve bucks and yer not obligated to work on yer fiddle just because ya have the book ...

Y'all are correct ..there is a learning curve as one might expect ...such as fitting new pegs to 14 mm....i recommend setting at 16 mm initialy and working them in a bit more as they tend to settle in when tension is on the strings ...you'll see what i mean the first set you fit ...

If yer fiddle is of value and uses a taper other than 1:30 i recommend staying with original taper as there may be some devalue in changing ...depends

As for straight vs spiral reamer , yer not likely to need to sharpen a reamer unless yer a builder / repair person and spiral does not chatter like a straight reamer can ...again , if you have used both you'll see / feel the difference right away ...just sayin'

Then again ..yer fiddle ...yer tools ...do what ya do folks ...it's all good ...violin-1267IMG_2627.JPGImage Enlarger

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