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Recommendations for peg shavers


Bman92
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I recently bought a cheap peg shaver for full size violin from eBay, it was brass with two different size holes. I could barely get it to work, it seemed like it was too small and ended up chewing up/splitting a peg. I tried adjusting the screws but it still seemed too small. Can someone recommend a decent tool that I can buy? I am considering a Juzek adjustable peg tool, however I am wondering if a simple tool would be better and leave less room for user error.

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The best shavers I’ve used have been the Alberti shavers. They’re not cheap, but they work unbelievably well. 
 

I have Herdim shavers that work pretty well. It does require some fiddling with the set screws to get everything working well, but they do a decent job. I keep the Juzek shaver around for fitting pegs to holes that are in between sizes on the Herdim. The Juzek isn’t as smooth, but I got it to work well enough after resharpening the blade and adjusting the position.

You can make a simple one that can work fairly well by reaming a hole into a wood block, making an opening at the top of the hole, and clamping a plane blade over the opening in the right spot. I have an assortment of blocks like this for making peg and endpin hole bushings. 

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4 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

The best shavers I’ve used have been the Alberti shavers. They’re not cheap, but they work unbelievably well. 

Absolutely... I wouldn't use anything else for a standard taper... though I expect those who don't use shavers frequently will be scared off by the prices. 

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6 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

The best shavers I’ve used have been the Alberti shavers. They’re not cheap, but they work unbelievably well. 
 

I have Herdim shavers that work pretty well. It does require some fiddling with the set screws to get everything working well, but they do a decent job. I keep the Juzek shaver around for fitting pegs to holes that are in between sizes on the Herdim. The Juzek isn’t as smooth, but I got it to work well enough after resharpening the blade and adjusting the position.

You can make a simple one that can work fairly well by reaming a hole into a wood block, making an opening at the top of the hole, and clamping a plane blade over the opening in the right spot. I have an assortment of blocks like this for making peg and endpin hole bushings. 

Thanks for the info, I’m looking at the herdim with the four holes, are the different holes for different violin sizes, or are they all for full size and you use the different holes to gradually work the peg down to desired size ? 
https://www.metmusic.com/tools/peg-shavers/vps287-herdim-standard-violin-peg-shaver

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5 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

I use the two Herdim 4-holers; one is for full-size violins and violas, and one is for small violins.  The different hole sizes in the shavers are to shave pegs to fit different sizes of holes in peg boxes, but they can also be used to gradually work a peg down.

I think I am going to order the herdim 4 hole full size standard shaper, it seems like this will be adequate for the the occasional use I’ll be needing it for

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1 hour ago, Bman92 said:

I think I am going to order the herdim 4 hole full size standard shaper, it seems like this will be adequate for the the occasional use I’ll be needing it for

You can get these to work very well by shimming the blades up with paper and adjusting the taper with the blade holding screws. if you get the blades sharp enough and the adjustments correct you should get one continuous shaving which will hold together until you touch it. The only drawback is if you are doing repairs you may find you need pegs which are in between sizes and must be finished with a file. Difficult and time consuming to do nicely. The Alberti "skiver" will finish the over size area of the peg quite nicely in very little time. As mentioned you can always make a shaver for a needed size if needed. By the way this subject was covered extensively in a previous MN thread if you look it up.

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1 hour ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

You can make a simple one that can work fairly well by reaming a hole into a wood block, making an opening at the top of the hole, and clamping a plane blade over the opening in the right spot. I have an assortment of blocks like this for making peg and endpin hole bushings. 

I made one out of soft pine thinking it wouldn't work well and ended up doing 14/15 violins worth of pegs.  It's pretty much wore out now so I'll make another.

Can a homemade endpin making block work to make endpins?

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1 hour ago, uncle duke said:

I made one out of soft pine thinking it wouldn't work well and ended up doing 14/15 violins worth of pegs.  It's pretty much wore out now so I'll make another.

Can a homemade endpin making block work to make endpins?

I don’t see why not, I may do just that with some pine or harder wood and a blade from the cheap shaper I bought that’s too small for pegs

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1 hour ago, uncle duke said:

I made one out of soft pine thinking it wouldn't work well and ended up doing 14/15 violins worth of pegs.  It's pretty much wore out now so I'll make another.

Can a homemade endpin making block work to make endpins?

Yes, but it won't necessarily make the endpin plug concentric to the actual endpin, nor at the same angle.

I sometimes deliberately cut an offset in violin endbuttons, to that rotation of the endbutton will alter the afterlength. This doesn't work so well with cellos, because players don't tend to be highly tolerant of tightening screws which come in from all angles.

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3 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

The best shavers I’ve used have been the Alberti shavers. They’re not cheap, but they work unbelievably well. 
 

Yup. Yes, they're pricey, but if I added up all the time I invested in getting cheaper peg shaver to work well, I'm quite certain that the Alberti shavers would have had a lower overall cost.

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4 hours ago, Bman92 said:

I recently bought a cheap peg shaver for full size violin from eBay, it was brass with two different size holes. I could barely get it to work, it seemed like it was too small and ended up chewing up/splitting a peg. I tried adjusting the screws but it still seemed too small. Can someone recommend a decent tool that I can buy? I am considering a Juzek adjustable peg tool, however I am wondering if a simple tool would be better and leave less room for user error.

There will always be superior tools. And not suggesting that you should not buy better tools. But there are other factors to consider. When I first started working in a shop, the work was purely on ( really ) crappy instruments for rental. The shop was so cheap that the owner had this teenage kid buy his own tools, which I did. I do not question your skillset, but my experience was that I probably worked on a hundred rentals before having fit a hundred pegs.

The kind guys ( there were also not so kind guys ) at the shop showed me that every tool needed to be prepped, and with even some of the cheapest tools, if you think over it's design, that it might accomplish the job. To do the job reasonbly well, in a short amount of time, some tools are better than othrers. As for some cheap tools, notice the quality of materials. Most cast aluminum stuff is not that great, but can be worked. Recently I saw some finger planes for cheap that the forms were ok, though the blades needed to be upgraded. I will definitely buy that set.

Finally getting to a point. You have not described the pegs, but it makes a difference as to what material you are working with. There are some wonderfully inexpensive fittings from South Asia and Far East Asia ( and I think some of the expensive Euro fittings are born in Asia ) but examine the material. The wood cuts differently as you rotate the material into, hopefully, a sharp blade. I have worked on some inexpensive "Boxwood" pegs that are really bad.  

I have a set of Herdim and they are great. SO many choices. Honestly, not all the blades are sharp on each size, so have had to rotate them from time to time. The next time I bulk sharpen stuff, all the blades will get pulled off and sharpened. Guys with technique can shape pegs on a BBQ spit, but will have to agree that Alberti stuff is amazing. Having used and experienced them in quite a few shops, my opinion is that surface treatment ( Alberti's attention to details ) makes a significant difference. Between that, and the nominal taper, it feels amazing. 

Watching some experts fit pegs, their knowledge and experience and application of, is amazing. For frequently used pegs they might be finished a particular way, depending on the instrument. Pegs are a detail. At schools where the fine tuners get overworked, it helps to leave the work rougher. as the pegs do seem to stay in place longer.  

 

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I did have a set of the said peg shapers, from a shop that closed but barely used them. The blades were amazing. The cello sets ( + fractional ) alone was a trade for a pretty nice bow. For the type of instruments that I worked on and the constant adjustments, the Herdims made more sense. And as they sit in the bottom of a tools bag, taking the Albertis on the road did not make any sense.  

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So.................. off topic slightly.  

Here are measurements for a block of wood to make a homemade shaper.

5 1/2" L x 2" W x 1 3/8" H

1.  Lay flat, from the right side measure left 1 3/8".

2.  Measure up from the bottom 1 ".

3.  Drill a hole all the way through to the backside starting where you use 1 and 2 to make a starting point. 

4.  After drilled hole is big enough to start a 130 reamer carefully ream through to other side, I think, this may be able to wait for a bit.  At the least start some of it.

5.  Make the bed for the 2" #4  or #5 plane iron to lie flat on.  From the left side to where the hole is make that side 1 5/32" high and the backside of the block 1 1/8" high.  These two last measurements here may be 1/64" off - be careful.  

6.  Blade bed must be flat, no bumps, which is why I used pine - less work scraping. 

7.  From above the hole cut down to expose the area where you can see the reamer.  So I guess ream the proper size hole before cutting down to expose just half the circumference of the hole. 

8.  So..........got interrupted again.  ask question, if needed.  later.   

Note - you will need a known good peg to help with when to stop making the hole bigger.

Other things - I am going to assume only amatuer makers will try this way so some other things I thought of are when you do finally align the blade with the known good peg don't turn it counterclockwise - it will cut thus messing up the good peg.  Something else is to lightly score your unturned peg right up next to the collar.  That will let you know when to stop.  I noticed I added a 1 mm chamfer to the entrance of the hole - that enbles me to see where to stop turning up along the collar.

Do have a real sharp plane blade and sort of perfectly square with itself.  I just clamp the blade down on top but you can add a piece of wood between blade and clamp for better holding power.  You could align the blade with the reamer but a good peg will work.

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The Herdim 4 hole peg shaper comes with non-resharpenable blades as standard.  They sell resharpenable blades separately.  I gave up using mine and made a set from scrap wood  and the 2" iron from an old wooden plane set close to 3 oclock so it works with a scraping action. They are quick to make and work perfectly, but you do have to take care setting up........and I don't have to make a living doing this. The great thing about using a plane iron is that it is easier to sharpen than the tiddly little blades.

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I've seen that said before, but I have to wonder what the heck a non-resharpenable blade is?

Right I always wondered that also . For my herdim I sharpened the blade to an angle somewhat steeper than the one they provided, because I felt they kind of had a tendency to dig and catch , now they work almost as a scraper and produce downy shavings vs a chip , the angle wasn’t raised much , just a bit .
 

As for the Alberti , we never really “own”  good tools , more like a guardian for future generations , like as not their value will increase over the years , or at least depreciate at a rate that if resold it will be a modest loss , a cheap rental as it were . 

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4 hours ago, Bman92 said:

So as far as adjusting the taper goes, would you recommend setting the blade at an angle rather than square ?

If needed. The paper shims under the blade adjust the thickness of the cut . You want the absolute minimum cut which makes a real shaving as opposed to powder. The shaving will be so thin it crumbles if touched. The taper of the peg has to be perfectly matched to the hole made by your reamer or the tiniest amount sharper so the thicker end pushes a tiny bit harder on the hole than the thin end. The holes on the blade are a bit over sized and allow a small amount of adjustment relative to the center line of the hole which adjusts the taper.

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2 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

…I have to wonder what the heck a non-resharpenable blade is?

Possibly it is made of case-hardened mild steel, so if you try to sharpen it you hone through the outer hardness and into the soft steel underneath.  Despite supposedly being non-resharpenable, I think they are very precisely ground, so they work very well in the Herdim shavers while they are sharp.

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The replaceable Herdim blades are induction hardened. The hard part is very shallow, maybe only 1mm or so. You can re-hone them with a diamond stone, and lapping film, but progress is slow compared to other steels.

Since the blades are double sided, you can shape a lot of pegs before you really need to replace that blade. I bet I’m into the thousands now.

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