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difrangia

Peg Compound / Dressing

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I have searched the forum in all ways that I can think of and I can find nothing on this subject. I know that a topic as commonly encountered as this has to have been hashed over more than a time or two.

My question is: what do the members here use to dress or condition the peg-to-pegbox-hole interference fit to get the proper grip for adjusting strings?

I have been using 'Ardley's Peg Drops' and have purchased the 'Howard Core' product but haven't recieved it yet. Do you oldtimers use a 'market obtainable' product or brew up your own 'folk medecine' for getting the right grip & slip for peg fit? Thanks in advance for any info.

Steve

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Woodland   

I've used Lava soap for sticking pegs for years. A lifetime supply will cost you $3. I use the liquid drops for slipping pegs, seems to work well enough. Sometimes I'll use a combination of the two to get a proper grip.

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Hill Peg Compound used liberally works the best for me. I have tried Pirastro Peg Dope, Lava soap, olive oil soap, plasticine, talc and beeswax, rosin and soap, Dawn detergent, chalk and mixtures of some of these. The pegdrops help if the pegs slip too much.

I would like to hear what works for others.

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disclaimer: "I've had no formal training, but this is what I do..."

hello, i'm not sure if i'm wise enough to call myself an old timer. so please disregard this post if found to be unqualified.

for 20 of the last 26 years i've been playing, i've penciled sticky/new pegs. just two or three little strokes of a 2b on contact points will do. to fix slipping pegs, i clean the peg and peg holes.

the assumed prerequisite would be that the pegs are properly fitted in the first place.

i also think different woods fit differently. i would prefer boxwood pegs 'cause i like the way they turn, but for 4 good boxwood pegs, i can buy a block of rosewood to make many pegs... i'm cheap like that.

greetings.

r

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Many years ago ( more than 40 ) I knew an old ( 80 years ) luthier that used to keep an old bow handy. For pegs that either slipped or tightened up he would clean holes and pegs, then rosin the bow, spit on his finger, wipe along the hair and transfer to the peg.... worked a treat every time !! No idea of the physics/chemistry/hygiene behind it, but as I say.. It worked !!

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rudall   

i also think different woods fit differently. i would prefer boxwood pegs 'cause i like the way they turn, but for 4 good boxwood pegs, i can buy a block of rosewood to make many pegs... i'm cheap like that.

There must be a simple answer to this, but why not buy boxwood and make your own pegs from that?

Andrew

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Hill Peg Compound used liberally works the best for me. I have tried Pirastro Peg Dope, Lava soap, olive oil soap, plasticine, talc and beeswax, rosin and soap, Dawn detergent, chalk and mixtures of some of these...I would like to hear what works for others.

I've also tried most of those that you mention, and I also seem to be back to Hill compound for now.

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Hill peg compound: applied and worked into the peg/pegbox interface followed by another application of same. I've also gotten good results with alternate dabs of Lava soap and chalk. I shy away from it as a default application for fear that the abrasive in the Lava soap might prematurely wear the peg and/or pegbox.

Barry

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lyndon   

i know what doesn't work, hill peg compound, unless your using some antique 30 yr old tube it just makes the pegs slip, which is fine in moderation if there sticking, makes me think people aren't actually using it, just reccomending it, which is not cool. basically you need some kind of soap to make the pegs turn easily, too easily and some mild abrasive to make them grip and turn slowly like chalk, pumice diatamateous earth or rouge which is the principal ingredient in a lot of peg compounds, hill compound turns more easily than soap meaning you need more abrasive to make it grip.

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propolis   

I use Hill's, and plenty of it. If anything it takes a bit of soap on top of that, just a speck, to get them turning easily the way I like. I don't go through the stuff that fast, but I think what I'm using is only a few years old. Couple of sticks in the shop, one in the den, one in the case with the kitchen-sink pockets... I know a fellow who swears by Bötel's Wirbelseife.

My totally uninformed guess is that tallow or soap and clay or other fine earth was what the 17th and 18th century players used. I would be interested to see something definite about that.

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Scott S   

Ok, I am an old timer and even older than my time. I don't claim to be an old timer repairer but I do have multiple experiences. We are talking about two very different situations here. One situation is slipping pegs caused by a lack of friction. The other situation is sticking pegs caused by too much friction. How in the world can one product add friction in one case and also reduce friction in the other case? I've only had one case of slipping pegs when I experimented with dish soap. I remedy grabby, ratchety pegs by polishing the peg shaft with Scotch-Brite and then burnishing it into its hole.

Scott

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Things I don't care for:

Abrasives, or anything containing abrasives. That would include chalk, pumice, pencil lead, and lava soap. If you need the revenue from fitting new pegs, doing bushings, or trimming protruding ends as the pegs wear farther though, maybe it's a good idea. :D

Peg drops. When I talked to the manufacturer, I was told that the product remains liquid. I wonder how far it can travel in the wood? I wonder how hard it is to glue an area which is saturated with this?

Things I've had the best success with:

Rosin combined with Ivory soap. It takes some experience to get the proportions right with the rosin and soap, and also the quantity. When everything is right, it will feel like there is a highly viscous interface between the peg and the hole, which is probably in fact what you have. No sticking. No slipping. It even does a pretty good job on poorly fitting pegs.

Bötel's Wirbelseife. Danged good overall. This can get slick if too much is applied. I can't say with certainty that it contains no abrasives.

I like to go way beyond "not sticking" and "not slipping". They should be smooth as a baby's bottom, and work like buttah. :D

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MikeC   

how do you combine rosin with ivory soap? Do you crush a piece of rosin into a powder? do you have melt the soap somehow?

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how do you combine rosin with ivory soap? Do you crush a piece of rosin into a powder? do you have melt the soap somehow?

I apply them separately. Some soap, then some rosin powder. Spin it a bit to mix, allow it to cool (it generates heat), and see how things are working.

How is it that the rosin - if it is mixed with the soap as a powder - is not an abrasive?

Andrew

If rosin was an abrasive, wouldn't you see huge wear in the bowing area of the string? Better yet, try to use it to alter the surface finish of metal (one way I've used to attempt to evaluate the abrasive content of peg compounds).

No, the major string wear tends to be where the string hits the fingerboard. Always. Except in a few cases where abnormal body chemistry does bizarre things.

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Scott S   

Google Pagliaro Peg Drop Patent, the ingredients are isopropyl alcohol, tincture of green soap(?), glycerin and violin rosin. Sorry, not familiar with posting links, maybe someone else can?

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TQuinn   

I don’t have any direct experience with peg compounds, but I have been formulating products with similar materials for a long time. Like another poster, I assume peg compound is used either to lubricate sticking pegs, or tighten (gum) slipping pegs, but disagree to some extent in that I can see where any given compound could either be a lubricant or gum depending on the peg fit. What I cannot imagine is any one compound that works for all peg fits. I’d lobby for a series of compounds with a predictable and repeatable set of properties to span the spectrum from high lubricity to high gumminess.

One way to do this would be to have a relatively lubricious base of fatty acid, glycerin, soap, grease, etc. and add increasing amounts of a filler like clay or calcium carbonate to make it less lubricious. From what I’ve seen this is what most commercial peg compounds are based on. Obviously this works just fine or they wouldn’t have been sold for so long, but some in this thread don’t like the idea of using an abrasive.

Some people have suggested using rosin to make the base more gummy, but I can see a few problems with this. First, the rosin is going to be soluble in the base and if initially mixed in as a powder, it will eventually dissolve and disperse throughout and as it does so, the properties of the compound will change over time. Second, rosin is very susceptible to oxidation and this will further cause the properties to change with time. Accordion reeds are sealed in place with accordion wax, a blend of wax and rosin, and the problem has always been that after a few years, the accordion wax has become so brittle, due to the rosin oxidizing, the reeds fall off and need to be reset with fresh accordion wax.

My suggestion would be to simply use different hydrocarbon waxes and wax blends to make a series of compounds without filler, rosin, or other resins. There are plenty of waxes that can make very high friction films or very slippery films and everything in between. They are inert, last forever, and harmless to wood. Their lubricity could be measured and then sold in different colors to identify their relative coefficients of friction.

Think “ski wax”.

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...disagree to some extent in that I can see where any given compound could either be a lubricant or gum depending on the peg fit.

Look into the "slip-stick" action of a rosined bow, and get back to us.

One way to do this would be to have a relatively lubricious base of fatty acid, glycerin, soap, grease, etc. and add increasing amounts of a filler like clay or calcium carbonate to make it less lubricious. From what I’ve seen this is what most commercial peg compounds are based on. Obviously this works just fine or they wouldn’t have been sold for so long, but some in this thread don’t like the idea of using an abrasive.

Are you familiar with "extrude honing"?

Why have gas guzzlers been sold for so long? Sure, they work just fine, if one takes a 10% view.

Some people have suggested using rosin to make the base more gummy..

My suggestion would be to simply use different hydrocarbon waxes and wax blends to make a series of compounds without filler, rosin, or other resins. There are plenty of waxes that can make very high friction films or very slippery films and everything in between. They are inert, last forever, and harmless to wood. Their lubricity could be measured and then sold in different colors to identify their relative coefficients of friction.

That's not nearly the same thing. Rosin is a fascinating temperature-dependent adhesive. Put your waxes on bow hair, and see if they can do something similar.

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Scott S   

No, this is a patent, Google Peg Drops-Patent 4682527

At second glance, this is the same patent holder and may be the same product as Ardsley Peg Drops.

Scott

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