Putting A Dome On Peg Ends


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I'm currently very happy with my peg fitting tools and my peg fitting. I really don't have a set process to shape peg ends at this time, have been using different methods. I would like to find an easy, power tool, shaping method to put a dome shape on my peg ends. What is a good way to get a symetrical, matching dome for all four pegs? A machined look is best for the quality of violins that I work on.

Scott

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I'm currently very happy with my peg fitting tools and my peg fitting. I really don't have a set process to shape peg ends at this time, have been using different methods. I would like to find an easy, power tool, shaping method to put a dome shape on my peg ends. What is a good way to get a symetrical, matching dome for all four pegs? A machined look is best for the quality of violins that I work on.

Scott

I would take a hardwood dowel, slightly larger than the end diameter of the peg and then insert this dowel carefully in the chuck of a small lathe, or drill press making sure it is centered in the chuck. Then I would carefully dish the exposed end of the dowel and then glue in some 220 to 400 grit sandpaper.When the abrasive is glued tightly,turn your machine on and hold the peg end against the dished rod end. This rod could also be machined out of soft aluminum rod but the procedure would be the same. Hope this helps!

Fred

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I'm currently very happy with my peg fitting tools and my peg fitting. I really don't have a set process to shape peg ends at this time, have been using different methods. I would like to find an easy, power tool, shaping method to put a dome shape on my peg ends. What is a good way to get a symetrical, matching dome for all four pegs? A machined look is best for the quality of violins that I work on.

Scott

Hi Scott,

I really think it can be done just as quickly by hand. My first teacher back in Michigan who had a lot of toolmaking and patternmaking experience from GM made a jig for his drillpress chuck to hold the peg head and a part of the shaft to center it and when in rotation he could work on the peg end with files or various grit abrasives until he got them just the way he wanted.

At Weisshaars, David Burgess was just using different grades of sandpaper on top of his bench pad. You hold the peg vertically and move it back and forth in straight lines for example: 0° - 180°, 90° - 270°, 45° - 225° and 135° - 315°. The softer the pad or backing underneath the sandpaper the rounder the tip would be. He probably still does it this way.

Towards the end, dampen the tip with some saliva (or water) and polish it against the bench work pad. Some 'nose oil' on it and you're done. This is really fast and looks very good.

I do kind of a circular motion with the peg shaft and the same abrasive support as described above. The more I incline the peg from the vertical the rounder it gets and with a little practice they are accurate enough to look like they were done with some machine work.

Both of the last two methods give you the possibility of checking the peg frequently in the peghole, without a lot of muss and fuss, to see if you have shortened it enough. Machine methods are usually more tedious and if you go too far you can't use the peg but you can always save it for another violin.

A third method I have used is a false pegbox with different size conical holes on a piece of maple or similar that is long enough to clamp into a vise so my hands are free. The peg is slipped into a hole where it sticks out enough on the other side to rotate it with one hand and file or sand it with the other. I then polish as above.

Bruce

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NewNewbie,

You ain't no newbie no more with 2,179 posts! You should change your name to LinkMan! :lol:

Give David Burgess a moment and he'll come up with a way to do it on a Sawzall!

Thanks for the links.

Bruce

P.S. I prefer the manual methods as they are quiet, fast and cheap.

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I have to agree with Bruce, shaping the ends by hand can be just as quick, and lets you check things easily. I have shaped literally thousands of peg ends by hand. After sawing the excess length off, I use a file to quickly dome the end, then move onto various grits of sandpaper to finish it off. Put the sandpaper on a soft pad to help get a nice domed end, I use a piece of old carpet. An easy way to polish the end is with an old piece of micromesh.

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I have to agree with Bruce, shaping the ends by hand can be just as quick, and lets you check things easily.

Yes, I will vote "by hand" also.

I put a slight bevel on the end of the shaft after sawing, with a 1 X 30 belt sander, then I put a piece of sandpaper in my palm, and sand the end in a small circle, until it is perfectly domed. (Which happens almost immediately)

Then I twist the end straight into a piece of #0000 steel wool, which puts a smooth satin finish on the end - on particular cases, where "good enough" isn't good enough, I might buff the dome with a leather or cloth wheel and tripoli - which gives a really glassy finish.

It only taked a few minutes for each peg. I have used a small file instead of the belt sander - same result.

The place where it is easy to "mess up" if you are not cateful, is sawing the shaft, where chipping the last bit out can occure. It looks pretty tacky, so, either turn the peg over and countersaw the last bit or use almost no pressure at the end of the cut.

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The old 'KISS' treatment works best.

I use a sandpaper wrapped around the inside of a #5 - 1 1/2' wide gouge.

Start with #80 and progress to 400 W/D or finer .

Finish by rubbing peg on my padded workbench, then on my forehead, and Voila!

Quick, easy, and perfect every time.

(Don't need none of them fancy machines !) :angry:

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I simply place sand paper on the inside curve of a gouge and rotate the peg as I slide it back and forth. Be careful you don't slip past the end of the gouge and cut yourself. I may go through several grades of sandpaper before I get the finish reasonably smooth. A fine polishing with some kind of oil or buffing agent of our choice will finish it off nicely.

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I have seen a concave cutter chucked in a dedicated setup right by the disc/belt sander. It put a quick little chamfer on rental pegs, but nicer ones got domed and polished by hand in that shop.

I cut them slightly long, say 1/32", and then lose my pencil line four times with the disc sander, leaving a shallow pyramid, more or less. The angle doesn't let splinters happen. Soften the ridges and knock off the high spots with a file, then swirl the end around on a series of foam-core manicure pads to get rid of the file marks. 12000 grit puts on a nice shine, and it's all done in a jiffy, consistent shallow domes with crisp edges.

Fiber-optic technicians snap off the extra, and use a figure-eight motion to polish the ends, but that seems like too fancy of a technique, too much thinking.

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(Don't need none of them fancy machines !) :angry:

True. Don't need 'em... but then, there's WANT :) .

I use an intermediate approach: a fixture to hold the peg for mounting on my jeweler's lathe, allowing easier hand-filing and sanding. The very final fine sanding and polishing is done off the lathe, as there is usually a funny spot right at the centerline, where there's no relative motion when spinning.

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"....... The very final fine sanding and polishing is done off the lathe, as there is usually a funny spot right at the centerline, where there's no relative motion when spinning."

So 'Simple' method wins again!

Heh Heh :lol:

Oh, I forgot to mention that "off the lathe" meant I transferred it to a custom-designed 5-axis CNC "funny spot polisher". :P

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I more or less do what others have mentioned. I use a razor saw to cut the pegs slightly longer than the finished length; the razor saw makes a clean cut right to the end without splintering.

I then hold the peg between the thumb, index and second fingers similar to gripping a pencil and rotate the peg in a circular motion by rotating the whole hand about the wrist; It's all in the wrist motion. I reposition the peg once or twice so I'm holding it in a different position within my hand to eliminate any uneven spots due to the non linear movement of the hand.

When this is done, I finish up using the same technique on a piece of 320 grit sandpaper on 1/4 inch foam backing. Our local Home Depot sells this sandpaper, and it's ideal for this purpose.

This whole process takes perhaps a minute or so for each peg, so I can't justify trying to find a machine method to do the job.

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one minor tip: when sanding ebony and many tropical hardwoods, inhaling the dust is a really bad idea. Wet sanding works great to control airborn toxic particles, but you don't want to swell the peg once you've got it fitting nicely so I use a little alcohol for the lubricant and that seems to work well.

Doug

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I agree that wearing a dust mask is key if you're doing any kind of shaving or sanding of any wood. I don't even limit it to tropical hardwoods. There's nothing worse that nose irritation from wood dust.

As far as doming out the ends of pegs, I dislike the look of heavily domed pegs, and I usual determine the look based on the workmanship. I've never had to go so far as cutting away a bevel. Usually palming varying grits of sandpaper works well... twist the peg in the middle of your palm. Then I move to finer and finer grits and then hand rub to a shine. Sometimes I like to use fine steel wool to get a circular/radial sheen from the center of the peg shaft, like an LP, when looking at the end of the peg.

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NewNewbie,

You ain't no newbie no more with 2,179 posts! You should change your name to LinkMan! :lol:

Give David Burgess a moment and he'll come up with a way to do it on a Sawzall!

Thanks for the links.

Bruce

P.S. I prefer the manual methods as they are quiet, fast and cheap.

Don't quote me, but I think David Burgess would probably use his angle grinder for peg rounding.

Just sayin........

Frederick

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one minor tip: when sanding ebony and many tropical hardwoods, inhaling the dust is a really bad idea. Wet sanding works great to control airborn toxic particles, but you don't want to swell the peg once you've got it fitting nicely so I use a little alcohol for the lubricant and that seems to work well.

Doug

That's why I see little green dwarfs when finishing a fingerboard!!

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For Violin, after cutting to length, I put a slight bevel all the way around with my Alberti hand-sanding wheel leaving roughly a 2 mm area dead center still flat (could use a hand file here). Switch to the inside of a gouge of the appropriate radius holding a piece of 120 or so paper to the inside. I twist 1/4 turn as I sand until the 2mm flat area is blended in to a nice curve. Then switch to 320 paper or so a do once more. I get the final polish on the flat side of a 6" leather wheel mounted to another hand grinder and coated with buffing compound. The finish is mirror like and the entire process takes about one minute per peg. I use the same process for cello but adjust the radius of the gouge and leave a 3mm flat spot in the center. I actually dull down the mirror finish with some 000 steel wool.

JB

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...

The place where it is easy to "mess up" if you are not cateful, is sawing the shaft, where chipping the last bit out can occure. It looks pretty tacky, so, either turn the peg over and countersaw the last bit or use almost no pressure at the end of the cut.

I found that holding the shaft of peg in the chuck of a battery powered hand drill, which itself is clamped in a vice, and have it turn at low speed allows me a very clean and accurate cut with a tiny (Exacto?) saw. I then use the gouge and sandpaper method followed by a buffing wheel.

FWIW,

Tim

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Interesting post. I use the old sandpaper and gouge method as well, followed by fine steel wool and oil. I do though like the idea of some kind of mechanical way to do the job. If anyone else has other ideas, I will be watching this post.

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I cut my pegs using a simple jig shaped like a long but straight pegbox with many different size tapered holes drilled. With new pegs I've marked both the spot for the string hole and the location of the cut with a sharp scratch awl. I find the tapered hole in my jig which exposes both the string hole (between the "walls" and the length hole (outside the wall). I drill the string hole being careful not to force it through at the end. I cut the length by turning the peg with my left hand while sawing with a zona saw in my right hand. The turning peg saws a ring around the peg and it finishes at the middle of the peg so there is never any break-off. Again a very simple and efficient method.

When doing an entire set, after fitting and marking I remove each peg a make a small hole on the underside of the thumbscrew - 1 hole for E, 2 holds for A, 3 holes for D and no holes for G. Then I remove the entire set and proceed to drill and cut each peg. I then do the rounding proceedure on each peg. Then I refer to the markings and replace the pegs.

The I.D. markings aren't exactly necessary most of the time because of the different lengths of the pegs but it leaves a small, unnoticeable trace on the pegs which might make for some fun conversation down the road such as, "I wonder what these are for? Some sort of secret tuning method perhaps? Maybe a secret society message which will lead to treasure!"

JB

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