The pegs

To turn the pegs to a proper diameter you need a well adjusted peg shaper. I recommend the four hole shaper by Herdim. See the Tools section for more information.

Shaper setup
  1. Make sure the shaper blades are very sharp {if sharpening, make sure the blades are resharpenable, HSS, not just surface hardened} and also that they project over the holes by 0.25 to 0.75 mm. They should also project over the fron side of the mouth opening by approximately 0.5 to 1 mm. This will allow for a close shave with no tearing.
  2. Also, you need to make sure that the shaper blades are set to an angle that is perfectly in line with the holes the reamer does. For this, lightly insert the reamer with the round smooth part up and try to set up the blade in the shaper so that it both protrudes minimally, and is in line with the reamer.
  3. You need to test the alignment on some scrap wood. Drill the 6 mm hole, preferably in maple, drive the reamer through it and shape a piece of hard wood, preferably ebony to match it. Put the shaped peg in the hole, turn quickly, pull out to see whether there is contact along the whole length. If there is, you have your reamer and shaper matched.

Shaping the pegs
  1. Using a knife, make an incision around the circumference of the peg, right next to the collar. See the red line in Fig. 1.
  2. Insert the peg blank into the first hole where the shaper bites and start turning slowly.
  3. Proceed to the smallest hole (8 mm width at the top here), again turning slowly and watching for any tear out, until you get to the collar. If for some reason the turning is not as smooth as you would wish, use a bit of dry soap for lubrication.
  4. Repeat with the other pegs.

Reaming the pegbox holes
  1. Insert the reamer into the smallest hole of the shaper and make a mark using a permanent marker about 1 cm in on the reamer. The initial reaming will be done up to this mark.
  2. Insert the reamer in the first hole. See Fig. 2 for the order in which the pegs are positioned in the pegbox. Start turning the reamer while maintaining perfect vertical and horizontal alignment. When you have reached the previously made mark on the reamer, stop.
  3. Insert one of the pegs, turn a few times. At this point the distance from the pegbox wall to the collar should be about 15 mm. Remove the peg to see whether the pegbox walls have left the shiny rings on the peg meaning there is a full contact with the holes.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the holes.
  5. Again, insert the pegs in their respective holes turning each quickly a few rounds. Then take look at each of them to see whether they are in perfect contact with both pegbox walls. A perfect contact is necessary for the pegs to be able to securely hold the pull of the string.
  6. If all is fine, continue carefully reaming each hole so that the inserted pegs` heads are just a little bit over 10 mm from the pegbox walls.
  7. Turn again each of the pegs a couple of times to drive them home. This will be their final position.

Finishing the pegs
  1. Using your scribe, make a mark about 4 mm in from the inner pegbox wall at the side of the peg's head. Repeat with the remaining pegs. Make sure the marks are well centered.
  2. At each mark, drill a 1,5 mm hole for the G, D, A strings and 1 mm hole for the E string.
  3. Using your small round (needle) file, with a few strokes, create an in-set bevel at each of the openings. See the red elipse around the hole in Fig. 1.
  4. Now you need to trim the pegs to their correct lengths, almost flush with the pegbox walls. Take a scribe, put it on the peg shaft, right next to the pegbox wall on the side where the peg needs trimming. Turn the peg a few times, making a mark on it. Repeat with the other three.
  5. Cut the pegs to their new lengths. To smooth out the ends and create the bevel, put a sheet to fine (600 grit) abrasive paper on your workbench and start making (drawing) circles from small to wide (a kind of a spiral) until you end up with a regular bevel. Finish in the same way on a yet finer paper (1200 grit). Burnish on a piece of linen (your pants).

Installing the endpin

To shape the endpin, the general rules described in the peg section apply.
  1. Assuming your equipment is set up properly, take the endpin blank and shape it in the largest hole available, which will produce an even shave.
  2. Ream the end pin hole again with regard to maintaining horizontal and vertical alignment. Check the diameter constantly reinserting the endpin.
  3. When the endpin is about 1 mm from being fully inserted stop. Put a bit of dry soap on it and carefully try to insert it fully. The endpin must sit in its position securely yet must be easy to remove so avoid using excessive force to drive it in. If necessary, ream the hole A LITTLE and try again.

Category: Setup
Comment by
2014-12-08 01:39:14
The Alberti peg shapers are also very good.