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4 String Dulcimer Build #5: Friction Tuning Pegs

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 11-15-2016 09:17 PM 2203 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Fingerboard Part 5 of 4 String Dulcimer Build series Part 6: Frettin' over the finger board »

The last time I made a dulcimer I tried to buy guitar tuning machines to put on it to tune the strings with. I was thwarted in this because the music shops, at least the brick and mortar ones near me, IE LOCAL BUSINESSES don’t sell the to ordinary folks off the street. They will happily bring your instrument in and install them and charge you for that, but they won’t just exchange money for a tuning machine. So I had to buy them off of eBay and install them on my custom made musical instrument.

This is why from now on I’m making my own tuners for any stringed musical instrument I make. Here’s how I made the ones for the 4-string dulcimer.

[Above] After watching a video on how to do this with minimal equipment, I created the basic shape for the peg on a piece of wood. I made the paddle end a triangle because it’s easier than trying to maintain a circle, plus it looks more unique. I cut it out and straightened things up with a rasp. Now I have a pattern to use till the end of time.

[Above] Using my pattern, I traced out a bunch onto a piece of maple that I had and cut them out on the band saw.

[Above] I’m looking for a 1/4 in diameter for these and they are starting out square and about 5/16” x 3/8”. First I sand off some on either side to make the stem pretty much square. I also sanded the corners to try and begin the rounding process.

[Above] I tried several ways to taper the stems, but it always came down to crafting each one on the belt sander. It’s time consuming and involves lots of test fitting. I think I got a system down now though. After the taper is good, I sanded the paddle end, rounding it over a bit. They still look rustic, but that’s not always a bad thing.

[Above] I needed 4 of these. I have a bunch more traced out that I should probably cut into blanks and store for next time. I may trim a wee bit off the ends, but maybe not. All they really need a little sanding of the paddle and an oil finish. I’ve thought of trying to ebonize them with tea and vinegar/iron stain, but I think they’ll look okay against the mahogany finger board.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!



5 comments so far

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3692 posts in 2451 days


#1 posted 11-16-2016 12:14 AM

The tuning pegs look fine to me. I like the triangular peg heads.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1736 posts in 2388 days


#2 posted 11-16-2016 03:03 AM



The tuning pegs look fine to me. I like the triangular peg heads.

- Don Broussard

After I put BLO on them they darkened up a bit, but they look really good. Looks like I might finish this with time to make a case for it.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1287 posts in 1873 days


#3 posted 11-16-2016 08:52 AM

Homemade pegs have great charm. Making the taper is a fast accurate job if you invest in a violin peg reamer. Use it to ream the holes and to make a matching taper jig.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt75XRPvimU

Buy a stick of peg paste to keep the pegs from slipping or worse becoming seized up with humidity change.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2736 posts in 2390 days


#4 posted 11-16-2016 12:55 PM

Nice work. The handcrafted aspect of these adds charm.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1736 posts in 2388 days


#5 posted 11-16-2016 01:10 PM



Homemade pegs have great charm. Making the taper is a fast accurate job if you invest in a violin peg reamer. Use it to ream the holes and to make a matching taper jig.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt75XRPvimU

Buy a stick of peg paste to keep the pegs from slipping or worse becoming seized up with humidity change.

- Texcaster

I have to try that. I love the simplicity of it.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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