Pegbox wall pain


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Just wondering if anyone has some handy tips for techniques or tools for smoothing out the pegbox wall in that annoyingly inaccessible place inside next to the A string (well, D string for the viola I'm working on). It's awfully hard to see in there, and with the limited access and flamed grain, getting a smooth wall without tearout is really tough. At the moment, I'm just worrying off little bits at a time with a pointy knife.

Anyone got better ideas? Leave it rough and paint it black?

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I was trying to use my knife as a skew chisel, and it wasn't working so well. After grinding up an old chisel on the skew, that was much more controlable and worked well. No worries. I don't need to, but I might also grind up a small file for further smoothing.

Thanx, MN gang.

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I have a few skew chisels that I use on the pegbox walls. After that I finish up with popsicle sticks with sandpaper glued to them.

Despite what certain members advocate, I haven't found my use of sandpaper glued to a stick to be an acoustic detriment. :ph34r:

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Skew chisels + these homemade files made with small triangular Sandvik file plates (work great)

Janito, those files look useful. Nice to see you're using materials from my home town Sandviken! Actually i hear the factory from where I live: ) Its a pity Sandvik does not produce tools anymore.

/Lars

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Use a sharp skew shaped chisel and don't worry so much!

Files? Sandpaper? I too wouldn't worry so much.

The inside of a pegbox isn't a precision spaceship, Don. ;) Sharp chisels and a knife, combined with reasonable tool handling skills, will leave it as good as it needs to be.

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the most important thing to keep in mind is that the Scroll is built around the pegbox mortice in the classical old Cremonese.

The mortice was the first step done after the head outline was sawed out. Held in a vice and with a hammer a chisel could do this mortice in a minute or so...the next step was to form a scroll around it..

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Melvin:

I don't understand why that still isn't the most logical way to do it...

As you say, you can clamp the roughly cut out neck very securely in a bench vise and excavate the pegbox first very efficiently, almost the same as hand made mortises. All this business about drilling and excavating at the end... much more work.

E

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Just wondering if anyone has some handy tips for techniques or tools for smoothing out the pegbox wall in that annoyingly inaccessible place inside next to the A string (well, D string for the viola I'm working on). It's awfully hard to see in there, and with the limited access and flamed grain, getting a smooth wall without tearout is really tough. At the moment, I'm just worrying off little bits at a time with a pointy knife.

Anyone got better ideas? Leave it rough and paint it black?

If you want to spend a few bucks and get some very handy paper for lutier work, Stewmac sells 3m "stick it" adhesive backed paper. Its nice because it grabs, but not too much. t has grades 80 to 800 You can make sanding sticks out of anything It stick well to metal as well as wood. I'm sure t can be found elsewhere perhaps cheaper. An alternate is to go buy random orbital sand paper discs {5"} that is not the hook and loop kind but the sticky backed kind. The glue is more tacky so if you put it on say a flathead screwdriver tip either use a crappy one or be prepared to clean some goo off.

Mini rasp files work ok too, but shoud be fine toothed

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Melvin:

I don't understand why that still isn't the most logical way to do it...

As you say, you can clamp the roughly cut out neck very securely in a bench vise and excavate the pegbox first very efficiently, almost the same as hand made mortises. All this business about drilling and excavating at the end... much more work.

E

My personal view is to leave it till last. If you rough out the pegbox first, it weakens the area where the scroll meets the pegbox.

When sawing and chipping out the waste to rough out the scroll, this places considerable stress on that small area that only has the pegbox walls and the bottom holding it all together. Perhaps I was getting a little bit aggressive, but I've actually broken a scroll off once. Now I leave the excavating until last.

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My personal view is to leave it till last. If you rough out the pegbox first, it weakens the area where the scroll meets the pegbox.

When sawing and chipping out the waste to rough out the scroll, this places considerable stress on that small area that only has the pegbox walls and the bottom holding it all together.

Without really thinking too hard about it, I roughed out the scroll, then hogged out the pegbox, and now I'm finishing off the scroll. Seemed the right way to me.

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Melvin makes a good point regarding the design of the pegbox.

With a modern neck grafted onto an old scroll, the nut is much smaller than the chin, which results in curved pegbox walls.

On the originals the nut was much wider, and the pegbox walls were pretty much straight lines from the throat to the nut.

Of course some makers used short pegboxes, like Strad, where others use longer ones, like Da Salo.

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the most important thing to keep in mind is that the Scroll is built around the pegbox mortice in the classical old Cremonese.

The mortice was the first step done after the head outline was sawed out. Held in a vice and with a hammer a chisel could do this mortice in a minute or so...the next step was to form a scroll around it..

Interesting, Melvin. What leads you to this conclusion?

It strikes me as simply logical.

Excavate the peg box first so you have plenty of support and can really whack away with worrying about breaking out the pegbox walls, or messing up the beautiful scroll you just spent so much time on. The scroll is basically the last thing I do on the neck. The neck itself is rough and the heel unfinished, but everything is basically an hour away from being done when I start the actual scroll.

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If you whack your pegbox with a mallet and a chisel excessively you'll split the throat along the grain.

It's not the hare that won the race.

Well, there's WHACKING!!!!! and there's whacking. (There is also wanking. ;) )

My point was by doing it first you have less to worry about damaging and less time invested, and for me, that makes what is essentially bulk wood removal much easier and quicker.

I'm sure you could split the throat, but it's never happened to me. There is still time, though.

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There's this old joke at the Salt Lake school about giving a good whack with a hammer to the heel of the neck, if you have an issue with the person who's working on it. The scroll falls off. Regardless of whether this was ever really used at the school or not, the mothod works.

I had only one bad experience early on, but that was enough. I don't do much heavy bangin' on necks or scrolls any more.

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