Add eyelets to this kora (African harp) to prevent string cutting?

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    HBrock25 on #70615

    I have a pretty basic maintenance question for a slightly unusual member of the harp family. I own a kora (West African harp), in an Americanized all-wood version made by a luthier in Minnesota. Really neat instrument, both the originals and this variant, but since it was somewhat of a prototype there are various small fixes that it needs.

    Here’s a kora overall:


    Mine is like this but a wooden vice skin face, and it has a more harp-like protruding arm, but with lots of guitar-style tuners. Works quite well, except that the strings come up from the tuners through small holes, and apparently there’s some issue of pressure or angle, since some of the strings are cutting into the surrounding wood:

    Further out:

    Close up:

    Would applying eyelets be the easiest way to deal with this? Any recommended brand/source? Does the size of the string matter much, or should I just make sure the size I get will accommodate my largest string? For installation, so I just drill straight down into the hole for a few mm with a slightly larger bit, and then press the eyelet in?

    Thanks for any help, looking forward to getting this kora up and running!

    For anyone who hasn’t seen a Westerner play kora, check out Josie Lloyd and her clips:

    HBrock25 on #70616

    Hi Matthew. I have built a number of Koras – some

    simpler than the others & have dealt with the problem you describe

    quite a few times. I just posted an article on my webpage about

    making a guitar-geared-tuner and fiddle-peg tuner type Kora neck that

    addresses the problem. It’s on my webpage at: Look for the neck article under

    my “Kora” section. Please let me know how it goes. Also one my simple harp building articles on the webpage talks about how I used small chunks of ebony to combat the “digging in “‘situation. Cheers – Dennis Havlena

    Please respond by e-mail as well as this forum.

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