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After a lot of work my mid 19th century German guitar is nearing completion. It's been interesting and challenging but the end is now in sight. One of the last things to do is fit the bridge pins, now I know I could do this with a rat tailed file but I think it would be better if the bridge/body/bridge plate was reamed. Looking on the Stew Mac web site reamers are $65, about £55, so when I see this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pair-of-TECHNOFRET-tapered-bridgepin-ream...

at £30 for the two obviously I am tempted. All views appreciated.

Also I know I could work out whether its 3 or 5 degree taper using maths but is there a simple way of finding out?

Many thanks

Steve

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Hi Ned.

The plate mate product has been around for quite a while. Re: the ALL-PARTS product...no spec's on its size, diameter, taper....just exactly "what" are they selling?

On the Plate Mate: I hand made a few of these in the mid-90's before they were a 'product'. They work. Also, as far as the design Ned, it's not JUST about weight but the distribution of stress.

Here's how I deliberate the Plate Mate's application:

Cheap or inexpensive instrument (95% of what's being sold today).= good application. I can do this.

Quality or Heirloom grade instrument = quick fix until proper repairs can be made. I can do this but then it's off to a specialist for a PROPER restoration/repair.

Ned, I applaud your support of the aforementioned products being offered, but I see them as nothing more than work-around solutions until professional repairs to industry standards can be made.

I'll come right out and say that the price of 6 washers and some tubing is highway robbery. I had an old timer show me that technique in the early '80's as an 'emergency fix ONLY' and told me that it is never considered a proper repair method. You don't need the tubing at all. This a product for a DIY RANK AMATEUR fix and is not a professional solution.

And please consider this reply in the context of supporting ONLY professional methods or results. (industry standards). If we lose that goal, we've terribly eroded the significance of & need for our craft.

:)

I am currently receiving my Mill and lathe (manual and cnc) certificates at my college and i am excited to make some of my own reamers for bridge pins and for peg reamers ( orchestral instrument tuning pegs) Does anybody have an idea for making a reamer that isn't typically available and might be needed more often? 

Hi Bob.

This is a pretty toxic thread.

It's best to start a new one since it's a completely different subject (new design development vs. existing technology available).

btw: lovin' the pictorial on your rescues :)

P :)

My bad :(!!! noted. I'm glad your diggin em. More to come

Our Friend Paul said:  

"Ned, I applaud your support of the aforementioned products being offered, but I see them as nothing more than work-around solutions until professional repairs to industry standards can be made.

I'll come right out and say that the price of 6 washers and some tubing is highway robbery. I had an old timer show me that technique in the early '80's as an 'emergency fix ONLY' and told me that it is never considered a proper repair method. You don't need the tubing at all. This a product for a DIY RANK AMATEUR fix and is not a professional solution.

And please consider this reply in the context of supporting ONLY professional methods or results. (industry standards). If we lose that goal, we've terribly eroded the significance of & need for our craft."

I could not agree more on ALL counts!  I'm also particularly pleased to read Paul's last statement above regarding supporting professional methods.  Thank You Paul!!

When one hangs out a shingle and asks the public to entrust them with their instruments regardless of if the instrument is a cheap, non-servicable $99 special, a family heirloom, or a valuable iconic instrument there is an expectation as well as a hope that we will be well versed in best practices AND keen to... do... no... harm... ever.

It's been said that there are often many ways to do most things Lutherie.  Although this idea has it's advantages it also leaves the door open for "hack ideas" to proliferate as well.  For those of us who are in the biz I'm sure that all of us have seen our unfair share of hack ideas, kluged repairs, and likely many instruments that will never be the same, in the positive sense again because someone exercised either bad judgement in the selection of approach or simply didn't give a d*mn about what they were doing and who and what they just did it to....

It's tricky and not easy on a forum such as this one with novices and pros to always provide an answer that may be approachable for anyone tooled-up or not.  On the other hand in other professions such as cardiology for example would one expect to have an ebay tool or any hack idea done to them?  Of course not...

Moving on... I have nothing against the plate-mate but I would not be using them myself.  Instead a bridge plate cap is easy to craft, weighs a gram or two, greatly extends the life of a bridge plate, and you don't have to tell your customers that you are waiting on the UPS guy either.  After all is there not an expectation that we are more than screwdriver twisters and CAers of commercially available products?

Sure there is the issue of "appropriate for the instrument" but again and in my mind there is also an expectation that we are capable of crafting our solutions always endeavoring to do no harm and not change the character or tone let alone value of an instrument.  And let's never forget the idea of serviceability either - it's important!

I'm happy and relieved to see hack ideas called out for what they truly are even if the value to a novice becomes questionable as well.  There are some things in life such as heart surgery where short-cuts are unacceptable and to me what ever one does, regardless of what it is, should be done as well as we can while at the same time fully understanding that the learning never ends either.

By the way were those Brazilian tone washers....

Hesh and all,

As a tradesman and qualified technician I strongly support the maintenance of Industry Standard skills and procedures.  

The advocation and development of cheap "quick fixes" and the use of ordinary quality tools and equipment is appropriate to cheap instruments upon first glance and have been developed as such.    However, my view of this situation is that these low-end processes removes the need or ambition for rank amateurs (in the true sense of the word - not the pejorative) to progress to a higher order of repair skills which are appropriate to higher quality instruments with finer tone sets.  

Over time, cheap fixes become the norm simply because the non-professionals offer them as a money making alternative to proper repairs.  These repairs are often spruiked as being "just as good as those unnecessary high cost repairs charged by the rip-off professional luthiers".    Just like the newbie  doing $40 fret jobs on his kitchen table with a claw hammer, a file and a piece of sandpaper or fixing bridges with TEK screws and epoxy which we are all familiar with. 

The consequences of this pervasive and basic approach is that professional guitar maintenance and repair becomes less attractive because training , skill development and hard work going unrewarded is bad business and/or no fun.   Paradoxically,  high quality work becomes more expensive as those professionals and skilled journeymen who can deliver the quality demanded by discerning clients become fewer and more valued.

These are observations that I would sooner not make as they invariable attract dissent and vitriol for whatever good or bad reason.  But, this forum has improved my skills, knowledge base and manners over time and I think an aspiration to gain skills and attain industry standards rather than a race to the bottom is a pursuit worthy of going out on a bit of a limb here. 

Regards, Rusty. 

I too find this site invaluable, and getting acquainted with fellow luthiers with Industry Standard skills has proven rewarding, both personally and professionally. I, myself, come from a woodworking background, from framing to furniture, with a lot of emphasis on problem solving, so structural repairs are my forte, but that's not all I've been required to do. You guys have shared with me, and so many others, many valuable bits of "experience gained" knowledge, that I think have raised my overall skills to what I can safely call a professional level. Forever indebted.

  The guitar that got me think about this is an old Sigma that I've owned since new. I use it now as a beginner loaner.  It's not worth much today but it fills it's role just fine. It wasn't actually my intention to make this a repair so much as it was my thinking about arresting the damage before it develops.  Beginners often forget to keep string ball tight against the top when the insert the pins so it's not uncommon for the ball to set on the end of the pin until they start to tune up then it smacks against the bridge plate with a lot of force.  I was just thinking about a way to help control the damage this creates on my "low end" loaner. 

You can be assured that I care enough for the instrument that I work on to do the best I can on them. Probably not up to your standards but then that why I work on low dollar instruments. I wouldn't actually consider this as a permanent fix for one of my low dollar instruments or even consider it at all on one of my high end instruments.  I agree completely that fixing it right is the right thing to do. If you guys ( the Pros) think you are thankful for the knowledge shared here, just stop and think how much I appreciate it. Not only have you guy taught me a profound amount about repairing these "toys" but you have raised my standards by  a great amount.  I do the best I can with what I have. It's not up to your standards but I'm on that path. Thanks you, one and all. 

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