Cracking Hill style pegs
Hello violin friends,
before 10 months, luthier changed pegs and tailpiece on my violin. I have a Hill style. They are beautifully heart-shaped carved. At the beginning of usage, I felt the springy feeling under my fingers at the moment when the peg is a little bit stuck. You know that first moment until it is free to move, you don't need much force but the little is necessary.
But now at the moment when my peg was stuck a little bit more, the side of pegs broke. I told myself to be stupid and decide to go to the luthier to change for the new. But after a while, another one broke, on both sides with so little pressure, sometimes necessary for every instrument. My pegs are working pretty well, a little bit harder, because I played now just at home and on A, E are fine tuners, I did not touch them for week or two, but just a little.
Am I doing wrong something? Have you same experience? Maybe my instrument needs classic style pegs. I felt that torque is not leading inside the middle of the peg properly.
I am working with different instruments whole life (24 years at least) so I am used to be careful and work with patience.
What do you think?
Faulty pegs. Not luthier's fault but manufacturing defect/bad wood. I've had pegs break on be before while I was shaving it (fitting my own pegs). It's unfortunate, but you'll have to buy new pegs and have them redone. Most commercial pegs seem to be "Made In India" and the major stores seem to all buy from the same place, ultimately. Do what you can. Find higher quality pegs. Pegs are like, $8, while having them fitted is $125 or so.
This was set of the pegs with tailpiece around 80usd from the luthier, fitting price excluded. I hoped for better quality, two of them are now broken, and springy feeling I have on each of them. Construction seems for me fragile, so I asked, I see them on many violins. Do you think that more expensive will be much stiffer?
While we're on the subject of pegs, are ebony really best? I suspect my nicest ones are resin.
Martin, many "boxwood" pegs are not real boxwood (buxus sempervirens), but a weaker and softer wood. Another possibility is they were made too thin when the heart area was cut. Or it might be a combination of both. The genuine boxwood pegs can be quite strong.
Next time you get new pegs ask for the ones made by Wittner. They don't break. And your violin stays in tune.
David, sorry for bad image, was the first with the shape I found, there were not from boxwood but (probably) ebony, they are black.
Wittner pegs only come in black and slightly-less-black red. Sure, form over function, but some people like having pegs that match the aesthetics of the instrument.
FWIW, the StringZone seem to think that rosewood responds best to things like temperature fluctuations.
If aesthetics are important then PegHeds will allow you to install your own peg heads onto a rectangular stud that projects from the geared shaft. Best to have Chuck Herin do that for you though. He probably has a very precise, custom mortising jig for that purpose.
I'm trying to visually where these pegs cracked. Were the heads glued on instead of one piece? I've never had a peg break, although the little decorative spheres on the tips can come unglued and rattle.
I've always been leery of pegs like this with (as a structural engineer might say) "a built in stress riser." When Chuck Herin first started to transfer wooden peg grips to the Pegheds he makes, he refused to do it with peg heads of that general shape. These particular pegs are not at all graceful like their Hill ancestors.
Scott Cole: nope, it is normal peg, I made You photos, also I posted an image before with line,
That "line" you refer to is nothing. The tool used to cut pegs leave that line naturally. The tool is essentially a pencil shaver. the razor blade attached to it leaves that line.
From the photos, I'd say either bad wood or it was cracked during the manufacture. Undercutting the heart is not super-simple, and structurally it's a poor design. Simple Swiss style is pretty bullet-proof, except for defective wood.
Tom Supakorndej: yes I know how pegs are fitted, I did not think that line, but red one I made on the first image (comments before) because I was at job and I couldn't make the real photo of my violin so it was the line of the break.
It seems the luthier used defective pegs, and that should be under warranty IMHO
From here, I'm unable to accurately diagnose why those pegs failed. The "Hill-style" undercut doesn't seem to have left the throat too thin. There are probably thousands of pegs of that style and of those dimensions which have never failed, and also feel very firm when being twisted.
Lyndon: thanks for the opinion and hardening mine (if it is possible to tell that way in English or it is a strict translation from my language :)). It was set with tailpiece and nut from the workshop of the luthier, I am unfortunately not an expert.
I have talked to my luthier. He told me to go into his shop, he will replace the pegs for free and he will check what went bad. These days are problematic supplies more often he told me, so it is a new experience with these but unfortunately not new experience at all. He is a cool guy, he is very kind and I like him :) (not just for this)