Trade Secrets: Replicating peg shapes without a copying lathe


A device for maintaining the same shape and diameter of instrument pegs during the carving process

By Pablo Soriano

Luthier based in Seville, Spain

I try to make my own pegs for my instruments. In such a repeatable process, it’s important to check your progress constantly in order to get similar-looking pegs. I love working with a lathe but the continual starting and stopping prevents let me from enjoying the process. Thinking about how to improve that, I recalled how I once saw a furniture maker crafting table legs on a lathe. In order to maintain the same proportions constantly, he had seven or eight reference points. Thanks to that, he was able to leave wood in the lathe almost all the time, without having to take any measurements; in fact the only moment he needed to stop was to put in a new piece of wood. Based on that device, I made my own designs. The attachment will depend on each lathe, but the main innovation is a cam that falls down when you arrive at a certain point.

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