It's the current version of the string winder crank I've been making for a while - we use 'em here in the repair shop every day.
I recently noticed that it has been close to fifty years since I made my very first string crank - a simple wooden one I cut and whittled by hand from a piece of walnut. Since then, I've used virtually every style and been frustrated by the potential for scratching peg heads, and the generally wobbly nature of the rotating joint.
A dozen years ago, I started doing metal work and machining, and have been playing with string winder designs off and on since then. Quite a few folks have seen my brass and hardwood versions, although I've only made them one at a time as the mood strikes.
This year I brought the aluminum version to the A.S.I.A. Symposium and showed them around to see what other luthier-types thought of them. I donated a couple to the fundraiser auction, and they received good notice there, too. Everybody expected I was actually making them for sale, but I hadn't really planned that far ahead, so about all I could say was, "I'm just making a few to see what people think about them."
After a bit of encouragement locally, I decided to do a batch of them to see how feasible it might be. So, I did make up a batch we can offer for sale. These cranks have a few interesting features which improve use and make it difficult to injure an instrument:
1. Seven-degree offset angle for the handle to mimic wrist action and make the winder "track" a bit more accurately.
2. Full-length bearing in the handle for stability.
3. It fits the tuner button closely - again, for stability.
4. Softer, more resilient head to avoid scratching sensitive finishes.
5. The heft of a real tool because it's made of aluminum, brass, steel and wood.
I'm doing absolutely all the work myself on manual machines, making all the parts from raw materials (except the "generic" wood handle). At the introductory price of $79.00, I don't expect to be producing a runaway best-seller. It's still a kind of trial thing, I suppose.
I'll add a note to this thread when we get 'em up in the shopping section of the Gryphon site. . .
Yup, looks pretty spiffy, Frank. I'll be watching the thread for when they're available!
It sorta' reminds me of a gift from my brother Bob, some years back, of a fancy machined fly-tying jig made by a fellow up in Shasta County. I don't tie flies much but it's just too cool to not keep on the workbench at all times... in the hopes that a use will finally surface!
Now, that's an impressive rig!
I tie up my girlfriend every now and again, but that's between two consensual adults....so just why would you want to tie up a fly....just spray em or swat them and get it done with quick.
(and I don't really tie up her up ...just a little bound to her)
50 shades of Lutherie? ;)
Excellent, Rusty... and you're giving us some fresh ideas for the venerable neck jig :)
I got one of these at the ASIA Symposium and all I can tell you is that it works great! Looks pretty good too! I get a lot of comments about it whenever a customer sees it!
"I don't tie flies much but it's just too cool to not keep on the workbench at all times... in the hopes that a use will finally surface!"
Is there a typed symbol for a Wolf call whistle? Slick indeed.
Mike, don't know if you do anything with banjos but fly tying vises are perfect for holding and prepping the HO gauge model railroad spikes that are commonly used for a 5th string capo. It's also handy for holding inlay that needs a bit of touch up with a needle file and I use it when doing fiddle bow re-hairs to hold one end of the thin wire I use to wrap the ends of the hair. I don't tie flies, seeing an image on the Internet of someone using one to hold inlay bits for refinement was what prompted me to get one. You could also just mount it to your coffee table as an object d'art.
Good thoughts, Paul. But every time I think of how to press it into service, I get lazy and just grab whatever little widget worked last time for the task at hand!
No fears, one of these days it'll become the only thing that'll work for some oddball job :)
Very cool Frank! I want one and will wait for your note.
BTW my Jack the gripper gets used on every instrument that comes into our shop with an input jack (serviceable input jack) and I still can't get over just how very clever the tool is!
Cool! Frank, I use your fret end filer - love it.
I am worried though, I been watching that movie on the Main page and that string still hasn't come off?
Thanks for the good word! LMI has quit offering that tool in favor of their new one. As we've been putting together the new Gryphon site, the guys have suggested I should have a page for a few of the things I make in my alleged "spare time." I found a box of parts and have put together a few of those fret filing jigs, so they'll be up on that page of stuff, along with the string cranks, and a few obscure banjo screws or some such.
Meanwhile, the Cranks are now ready to go - listed on Gryphon's site in the "Shop: Accessories" department: FRANK'S CRANKS