Jigs & Tools for Pegheds Installation

I am a big fan of Pegheds geared peg tuners. http://www.pegheds.com/.  If you aren’t familiar with these tuners, they look like a classic ebony friction peg but they are actually made of aluminum and have 4:1 planetary gearing inside. They are lightweight and reliable and my customers love them. They are available for a variety of instruments from ukuleles to guitars to cellos. The installation of these tuners is fairly simple but fiddly and time consuming. Basically you ream a tapered hole and screw the peg in. The pegs are threaded so that the pull of the string draws them more tightly into the hole.

We use Pegheds on all of our ukes so I install a lot of pegs. The two challenges I face when installing the them are keeping the peg perpendicular to the headstock and reaming to a proper and consistent depth. Even with a pilot hole to follow, it is difficult to ream the hole at exactly 90 degrees to the headstock. Since the button ends of the pegs stand proud of the headstock and in rows, and errant pegs sticks out like a drunken soldier.

The depth of the tapered hole determines how much of the peg will extend from the face of the headstock.   If one hole goes a little deeper than you intended, all the holes have to be reamed to match. There is no backing up and if you go too far, the neck is ruined.  To speed up the process and gain consistency in the installation I have developed a jig and a couple of tools.

The jig is a fairly simple device designed to hold the peg head solidly and perpendicular to the reamer. It is made from a board of appropriate size with ½” holes drilled through to allow the passage of the tip of the reamer. The surface that will contact the face of the peg head is covered with leather to protect the finish. A couple of small dowel pegs are provided to help position the peg head on the jig and a cam clamp locks it in place. A second larger board is attached under the first one with a couple of spacer blocks in between. This larger board provides opportunities for clamping the jig to the drill press table.

The jig:

jig1

An importand part of this set up is the spring center. I based my spring center largely on plans that I found at projectsinmetal.com http://www.projectsinmetal.com/free-project-plan-spring-center-metal-lathe-mill/. The spring center keeps the reamer perpendicular to the work and also provides a steady gentle pressure to the reamer.

The center:

center

The last item is the reamer stop. I used to paint a mark on the reamer and try to ream to that point visually but the mark was prone to being covered with shavings and to wearing away. For the stop I used some Fountainhead/Corian type material. This material drills and turns easily even on the wood lathe but is durable and won’t dull the reamer. To turn it I made an arbor from a bolt with the head cut off. I drilled and tapped a hole in the center of the material to match the bolt and screwed it in. This was chucked in the lathe and turned to the desired profile, then the center hole was enlarged with the reamer until it rested at the proper place for the depth needed.

The reamer stop:

ream stop

The rig is set up on the drill press. The drill will not be turned on but it will provide a holder for the center and enough adjustment between the table and the spindle to get everything dialed in.

First the head stock is loaded in the jig:

jig neck

The center is chucked in the drill:

center chucked

The reamer is dropped in a peg hole:

ream close 1

The reamer is aligned with the center and the height adjusted to put light pressure on the reamer:

align reamer

The whole set up:

jig ready

A few turns of the reamer:

reaming

Screw in the pegs to the perfect height:

finished pegs 2

I hope this is helpful and maybe sparks some ideas and improvements in your process.

 

Phil Morris