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Peg reamers- Spiral or Straight Fluted?


NiamC
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Hi, I will be investing in a good-quality reamer. I have my eyes on one of the Herdim coated ones, but I'm not sure whether to go for a spiral model or a fluted one.

Which one do you prefer using?

I've always used spiral ones before but maybe I've been missing out all this time.

 

Thank you

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I have both, and like Martin implied, I use the spiral one for faster stock removal, and the straight fluted one for finer adjustments (as well as for burnishing, like Martin said)..  Both find use for doing bushings, and I'd suggest you get one of each. :).

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3 hours ago, NiamC said:

Hi, I will be investing in a good-quality reamer. I have my eyes on one of the Herdim coated ones, but I'm not sure whether to go for a spiral model or a fluted one.

Which one do you prefer using?

I've always used spiral ones before but maybe I've been missing out all this time.

 

Thank you

 

You will have more control, and more uses for the straight flute—if I had to choose ;)

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Spirals that twist in the same direction that they cut in are quite dangerous due to their tendency to "self tap" or screw themselves into the hole as you turn. They can literally crack the pegbox in two. Reamers that spiral left but cut to the right  will not self tap and still have much less chatter than straight cut reamers . If I only had one type however it would definitely be a straight cut as it is much easier to move or straighten a hole with those.

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22 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Spirals that twist in the same direction that they cut in are quite dangerous due to their tendency to "self tap" or screw themselves into the hole as you turn. They can literally crack the pegbox in two. Reamers that spiral left but cut to the right  will not self tap and still have much less chatter than straight cut reamers . If I only had one type however it would definitely be a straight cut as it is much easier to move or straighten a hole with those.

As to be expected Nathan nails it.

I only have straight reamers in my workshop and these need to be about 2/3 round with just about 3 blades. This gives the ultimate control and finish

I did try expensive fancy spiral ones...A reamer is meant to be a reamer...not an effing drill bit!..I took them into the yard and put a sledgehammer through them...just to stop them doing harm....had they just not been to my taste I'd have given them away.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

As to be expected Nathan nails it.

I only have straight reamers in my workshop and these need to be about 2/3 round with just about 3 blades. This gives the ultimate control and finish

I did try expensive fancy spiral ones...A reamer is meant to be a reamer...not an effing drill bit!..I took them into the yard and put a sledgehammer through them...just to stop them doing harm....had they just not been to my taste I'd have given them away.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

I did try expensive fancy spiral ones...A reamer is meant to be a reamer...not an effing drill bit!..I took them into the yard and put a sledgehammer through them...just to stop them doing harm....had they just not been to my taste I'd have given them away.

 

 

How marvelously special!   Thanks soooo much for sharing exactly how you feel. :):rolleyes::lol:

Did you bother to forge them back into something useful? :huh:

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You should have or the two, very complementary, or only the straight one. Why? Because if you need correction of the place or direction in the hole, only the straigh one do the job without take to much wood. The twisted is good if the straight one is going "in" the wood. Don't buy Chinese or titanium stuff.

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Personally I feel it's not so much to do with what tool you have as to do with the amount of practice you get with it.

I can understand that if a spiral reamer "taks alane o'itsel" on a pegbox you have just spent several days carving, then you might well want to smash it to smithereens. However, I set up large numbers of new trade violins with peg-holes pre-drilled to 4mm, and I have no difficulty in controlling the spiral reamer, or making corrections.

However, I use a 3/4 spiral and a full-size straight, maybe the 3/4 is a bit more delicate and easy to control.

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On 7/27/2017 at 6:06 AM, martin swan said:

The spiral ones are great, but very aggressive! You need to be sure not to push too hard .

I use a spiral one, then use a blunt fluted one in reverse for burnishing the holes a bit.

BTW welcome to Maestronet Niam - it was about time.

Thanks for the welcome Martin, you're right. This site is far more concentrated and interesting than Facebook.

I like using Spiral ones, I always take it easy and they're quite satisfying to use, mine dulled out eventually.

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On 7/27/2017 at 8:32 AM, Violadamore said:

I have both, and like Martin implied, I use the spiral one for faster stock removal, and the straight fluted one for finer adjustments (as well as for burnishing, like Martin said)..  Both find use for doing bushings, and I'd suggest you get one of each. :).

I have a lesser quality spiral one and have been using that only, your idea of using both though is very good and I'll probably try that on my next load of instruments. One of my spirals is getting dull, so do you suppose that'd be good for finer adjustments?

Deffo getting the fluted one though!

 

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On 7/27/2017 at 3:06 PM, nathan slobodkin said:

Spirals that twist in the same direction that they cut in are quite dangerous due to their tendency to "self tap" or screw themselves into the hole as you turn. They can literally crack the pegbox in two. Reamers that spiral left but cut to the right  will not self tap and still have much less chatter than straight cut reamers . If I only had one type however it would definitely be a straight cut as it is much easier to move or straighten a hole with those.

Yeah I get what you mean, it's so dangerous when having to change to a different taper. Thank you for your kind words and advice!

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23 hours ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

As to be expected Nathan nails it.

I only have straight reamers in my workshop and these need to be about 2/3 round with just about 3 blades. This gives the ultimate control and finish

I did try expensive fancy spiral ones...A reamer is meant to be a reamer...not an effing drill bit!..I took them into the yard and put a sledgehammer through them...just to stop them doing harm....had they just not been to my taste I'd have given them away.

 

 

Spiral, got it.

I don't think i'm in a position to be destroying any of my tools :P 

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Okay well thank you everyone for contributing to this thread. I've leant some new and interesting things.

I've placed an order for a Dictum fluted reamer and I'll be very excited to use it

 

For some reason all my individual replies to you aren't showing up...

Edited by NiamC
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Strengths and weaknesses of both, but if I had only one it would be spiral. 

Spiral reamers don't catch on the endgrain the way a straight reamer can, and tend to have less chatter. It is easier to correct straightness of a hole with a spiral reamer, but harder to expand a hole without changing the angle of the hole. It is moderately more difficult to sight spiral reamers to compare how parallel the peg holes are. They take some practice, but work best with very little pressure toward the pegbox.

Straight reamers don't cut as cleanly when you are changing the angle of a hole, but are easier to maintain the exact angle as you cut (not an issue with some practice on a spiral reamer). The straight lines of the flutes makes it easier to sight them to check them against another reamer, peg or whatever else you use. Once there is a little chatter in a hole it is a lot harder to eliminated it with a straight reamer.

I used to do large batches of peg installs in factory instruments that started with tiny pilot holes, so you had a long way to go with the reamer. In that assembly line set up I did hundreds of sets of pegs, and used both types of reamers. To streamline that process I started using a mirror to reduce the 'wasted motion' of checking the angle from the front, then the top every couple turns. If you're doing lots of pegs it is a big time saver. By my calculation it shaved 1/3 of the time of the process, and I attribute that to reducing the time spent checking your angles. A little write up on the jig is on my website. 

TimothyDasler.Com/peg-installation-mirror

 
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21 hours ago, martin swan said:

Personally I feel it's not so much to do with what tool you have as to do with the amount of practice you get with it.

I can understand that if a spiral reamer "taks alane o'itsel" on a pegbox you have just spent several days carving, then you might well want to smash it to smithereens. However, I set up large numbers of new trade violins with peg-holes pre-drilled to 4mm, and I have no difficulty in controlling the spiral reamer, or making corrections.

However, I use a 3/4 spiral and a full-size straight, maybe the 3/4 is a bit more delicate and easy to control.

Martin,

From a stand point of tool mechanics the only way a right twist /right cutting reamer can take a shaving will automatically give it that self tapping action. You can prevent the tool from jamming by reducing the inward pressure but in doing so are introducing a small inaccuracy in the fit of the reamer in the hole. Think of a well fitted peg that is not pressed all the way into the peg hole. While it is possible with skill to rough fit a hole this way it is impossible to get the same kind of perfectly round and matching tapers that are achieved with a straight fluted reamer. The left twist/right cutting reamer will still cut aggressively with out "chatter" but retains the precise conical shape to the hole.

For moving or straightening holes however the straight reamer with a non- cutting side is by far the easiest to use especially in situations where one side of the box needs the hole moved while the other needs to remain centered as is and simply enlarged.. 

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On 29/07/2017 at 10:14 PM, TimDasler said:

Strengths and weaknesses of both, but if I had only one it would be spiral. 

Spiral reamers don't catch on the endgrain the way a straight reamer can, and tend to have less chatter. It is easier to correct straightness of a hole with a spiral reamer, but harder to expand a hole without changing the angle of the hole. It is moderately more difficult to sight spiral reamers to compare how parallel the peg holes are. They take some practice, but work best with very little pressure toward the pegbox.

Straight reamers don't cut as cleanly when you are changing the angle of a hole, but are easier to maintain the exact angle as you cut (not an issue with some practice on a spiral reamer). The straight lines of the flutes makes it easier to sight them to check them against another reamer, peg or whatever else you use. Once there is a little chatter in a hole it is a lot harder to eliminated it with a straight reamer.

I used to do large batches of peg installs in factory instruments that started with tiny pilot holes, so you had a long way to go with the reamer. In that assembly line set up I did hundreds of sets of pegs, and used both types of reamers. To streamline that process I started using a mirror to reduce the 'wasted motion' of checking the angle from the front, then the top every couple turns. If you're doing lots of pegs it is a big time saver. By my calculation it shaved 1/3 of the time of the process, and I attribute that to reducing the time spent checking your angles. A little write up on the jig is on my website. 

TimothyDasler.Com/peg-installation-mirror

 

Thanks for the confirmation - it is a little difficult being told that the technique I find very efficient and satisfactory won't work!

I suppose, like you, I have found the spiral reamer most useful when setting up new instruments from scratch - not "walking on eggshells one violin every 2 months" new, but trade instruments where the exposure isn't quite so severe. So I have had a lot of practice and I find the spiral reamer to be excellent. It's just to do with how much time you have to get used to the tool.

When i was working as a cabinet-maker, a good friend urged me for around 3 years to start using Japanese saws. I just couldn't get the hang of them, and kept telling him that push saws were more efficient and easier to control. Gradually I started using Japanese saws for minor tasks where they excelled (ripping in hardwoods for instance), and before I knew it I was using them for everything. Now I wonder at how I could have been so adamant.

A tool is a tool - what makes it efficient is how well one learns to use it. That is a matter of time and opportunity for practice. Any tool which is capable of serious cutting has to be handled with care and respect.

Having said that, for the vast majority of modification jobs on antique violins I would use a straight cutter ...

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2 hours ago, martin swan said:

Thanks for the confirmation - it is a little difficult being told that the technique I find very efficient and satisfactory won't work!

I suppose, like you, I have found the spiral reamer most useful when setting up new instruments from scratch - not "walking on eggshells one violin every 2 months" new, but trade instruments where the exposure isn't quite so severe. So I have had a lot of practice and I find the spiral reamer to be excellent. It's just to do with how much time you have to get used to the tool.

When i was working as a cabinet-maker, a good friend urged me for around 3 years to start using Japanese saws. I just couldn't get the hang of them, and kept telling him that push saws were more efficient and easier to control. Gradually I started using Japanese saws for minor tasks where they excelled (ripping in hardwoods for instance), and before I knew it I was using them for everything. Now I wonder at how I could have been so adamant.

A tool is a tool - what makes it efficient is how well one learns to use it. That is a matter of time and opportunity for practice. Any tool which is capable of serious cutting has to be handled with care and respect.

Having said that, for the vast majority of modification jobs on antique violins I would use a straight cutter ...

 

14 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Martin,

From a stand point of tool mechanics the only way a right twist /right cutting reamer can take a shaving will automatically give it that self tapping action. You can prevent the tool from jamming by reducing the inward pressure but in doing so are introducing a small inaccuracy in the fit of the reamer in the hole. Think of a well fitted peg that is not pressed all the way into the peg hole. While it is possible with skill to rough fit a hole this way it is impossible to get the same kind of perfectly round and matching tapers that are achieved with a straight fluted reamer. The left twist/right cutting reamer will still cut aggressively with out "chatter" but retains the precise conical shape to the hole.

For moving or straightening holes however the straight reamer with a non- cutting side is by far the easiest to use especially in situations where one side of the box needs the hole moved while the other needs to remain centered as is and simply enlarged.. 

I think you're both making good points about where each reamer is best suited. I suppose the reason that I haven't experienced the inaccuracy of fit that Nathan describes is that I back ream the last couple mm or so. If I'm just doing a tiny bit of clean up on a hole I would use the straight reamer. I still like having one of each around.

If you're used to pressing towards the pegbox as you do with a straight reamer, then I could see how you could run in to trouble with it expanding a hole more quickly than you'd like. I like that you don't have to put any inward pressure on the spiral reamer, and if anything I give it a little pull outward if it feels like it's getting tight. Definitely a little different technique between the two reamers.

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On 7/29/2017 at 4:04 PM, NiamC said:

One of my spirals is getting dull, so do you suppose that'd be good for finer adjustments?

No, dull on a cutter like that means trouble due to uneven cutting, tearing, &etc.  Resharpening special cutters made to cut a particular shape to a tolerance usually requires engineering a jig and the judicious use of fused ruby stones and/or diamond laps.  Having done tool-room work, I'd classify sharpening reamers as an advanced subject.

3 hours ago, NiamC said:

I'm still not too sure what y'all mean about "chatter"

 

"Chatter" is cyclically uneven cutting, in this case due to misalignment.  The term comes from machine-shop jargon, inspired by the sound a chattering tool makes while rotating at speed, or against a rotating workpiece. :)

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