Is there a tool for giving a nice rounded end to a violin peg ?

May 12, 2012 at 05:47 PM · Is there a tool for giving a nice rounded end to a newly cut violin peg ? I have not seen such a thing but it worth asking. The last time I tried this the result was less than satisfactory. It is harder than it looks to get a nice, neat finish !

Replies (26)

May 12, 2012 at 10:24 PM · C'mon Lyndon, don't be cruel.

I use the concave side of a gouge (with an adequate sweep) and a piece of sandpaper of the proper grit. Just sand as you rotate. After I get the end rounded, polish with leather.


May 12, 2012 at 11:33 PM · Table-top belt sander will get this done FAST.

May 13, 2012 at 04:27 AM · Yes, there is an actual tool that works similar to a pencil sharpener. I don't know the name of the tool, but probably any experienced luthier could tell you...

May 13, 2012 at 04:31 AM · Actually, the tool I'm thinking of may not be standard. I went to a violin restoration demonstration recently where the presenter demoed such a tool. But, it's possible that it was his homemade tool...

May 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM · You are thinking of this tool,

It only does the taper of the peg, the rounding of the end is done by hand as previously stated.

May 13, 2012 at 09:17 PM · I already have the tool to taper the peg ; it looks like a large pencil sharpener. I thought I had seen a tool to put a nice rounded end on the peg but perhaps I am mistaken.

May 13, 2012 at 10:34 PM · I don't know of a commercial tool like that. It would be possible to design one but the time saving is likely to be minimal and might well add to the danger of going too far. I start with a file, then use three grades of foam-backed abrasives from a paint store, then either a piece of leather or a buffing wheel, which I also use to polish the peg shaft. Pretty quick if I don't cut the peg too long.

May 14, 2012 at 02:30 AM · There is one:

not cheap.

May 14, 2012 at 04:59 AM · Thank you. Yes, not cheap at all and it has to be used with a lathe or drill press so it would be no good to me as I have neither. An interesting site though ; I have not come across it before.

May 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM · Amazing. Someone actually made a tool for this. It reminds me of the electric egg slicer I saw at the mall.

Very simple job. No fancy tools necessary. As mentioned before, all you need is a good file (Swiss #1 works well) and some sandpaper.

Simply file from the edge toward the tip/center. After each stroke, rotate the peg. Very little angle is required, as you want the tip to be almost flat, with just a bit of a rounded taper. Really, you're just breaking the edge.

60 seconds of careful work and your peg has an artful tip. Polish off with a little fine sandpaper. Clean peg with mineral oil (don't forget the nitric acid if using boxwood) and you're all set. Can't believe anyone would spend hundreds of dollars for a machine for this.

If you've done the job right, the edge of the peg should come right to the outer edge of the peg hole, with the rounded 'bubble' sticking out.

May 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM · James, what is the nitric acid for on the boxwood?

May 14, 2012 at 09:53 PM · I'm completely with James on this one. If somebody finds this to be a difficult or time-consuming task, or doesn't have the (very basic) tools to hand, what are they doing meddling with the peg in the first place?!

May 14, 2012 at 10:58 PM · Arnie, I am not a luthier, but I have a boxwood flute with a nitric acid stain.

I am assuming that it is a stain. I know it turns skin yellow.


I hope a luthier verifies this.


Pat T.

May 15, 2012 at 02:59 AM · I find it hard to believe that nitric acid would have any longevity in wood. That's not to say that a "nitric acid stain" might create a highly colored compound in the wood that leaches out onto your hands.

May 15, 2012 at 08:53 AM · I have a set of Wittner geared pegs to fit. As they are quite expensive, I did not want to damage them in any way. Not everybody has a luthier living in the next suburb ! My nearest luthier is 1700 kilometers away in Brisbane.

I guess I will have to practise some more on a standard set of ebony pegs using the methods described above.

May 15, 2012 at 10:38 AM · There is a tool for making a nice round sound on the fiddle though. It's called a lughole, and you really need two ...

May 15, 2012 at 03:09 PM · Nitric acid is the traditional way of treating boxwood fittings in order to achieve the desired coloring. However, on reflection, I probably shouldn't have mentioned it here. Nitric acid is extremely corrosive and must be handled with care. The process involves treating the pegs (some prefer to treat only the shafts) with acid or acid/water solution, then dipping the pegs in a soda solution to neutralize the acid, then fumigating the shafts in the fumes of ammonia. Some like to soak in turpentine before treating. It's also a good idea to burnish the shafts with the flat of a knife afterwards to compress the wood. This is not a job to be tackled without some training, so please don't try to do this following only this brief description. Also, if you're not concerned about the coloring, you can install without treatment. Some claim that the pegs last longer if left untreated, because they are not softened by the acid. Some also like to stain the pegs or shafts rather than treating them with acid. Care must also be taken if the peg has any ivory or bone decoration.

May 15, 2012 at 04:34 PM · You can make a perfectly round ball by letting a piece of wood (any shape) bounce around on a sanding belt; randomness works.

I haven't mane peg ends, but I have made rounded ends on other things simply by hand-sanding. Shape roughly with coarser paper, then use a foam-backed sanding pad to finish; just keep wiggling it around, occasionally adjusting by eye, but more by 'feel'.

NOTE: This is probably not the fastest way, but it is effective.

May 19, 2012 at 12:55 AM · @John,

Although the three dog chuck is most common, it is possible to craft almost any kind of holder for a lathe; I think it could be easy to create a 'peg mount' with a spindle that is used to clamp into the chuck. Alternately, make the rounded end first, then shape the peg head... if you are making the entire peg on the lathe.

June 9, 2012 at 04:01 AM · I used a gringing stone wheel fine and corse to shap them then sanded and filed them when they were close I did 5 pegs in an hour

the side of the stone worked too to keep it strait. I also used the same method for my bridge

June 11, 2012 at 08:04 PM · A nicely finished peg end is "rounded over", but not "rounded" (dome shaped). The curves are compound.

If you're really interested in a tool that finishes the peg ends for you, they do exist. The only decent ones I know of are custom made. Violin "factories" use them in setup. The best ones I've seen use a custom collet and cutter. Even well designed, the machines seem to produce peg ends a bit domed for my tastes.

Even the best of these machines don't finish the ends of a peg better than one can accomplish with a file and abrasives. One has much more control over the shape of the end and the finish is finer.

June 11, 2012 at 09:22 PM · I new that there had to be some sort of tool to do it. I can't imagine some guy in a factory sitting at a belt sander all day rounding off thousands of pegs !

March 16, 2016 at 12:43 AM ·

I don't hav one. Just saw it while visiting site.

They also have them for bass and cello.

March 16, 2016 at 02:05 AM · The answer to the OPs question is simple and easy; a file and some sandpaper.

March 17, 2016 at 04:28 AM · I would think you'd only want a rounded peg end if it protruded much through the far end of the peg box. A straight flat end would be better geometric design to hold the peg firm otherwise, taking advantage of all the peg box thickness.

Does that sound callous?

A nail file might offer the greatest shaping control.

March 17, 2016 at 04:18 PM · I let the peg protrude about 1 mm from the pegbox, start with the end flat and round off the edges of the peg with a file and sandpaper so that the rounding ends right where the peg leaves the pegbox

The problem with a totally flush flat peg is it is hard to adjust so perfectly, and then as the peg wears it starts to protrude with a sharp edge around the peg.

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