Rebuilding an old russian harp – tapered pin reamer for tuning pegs

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    nadav-kon on #145446

    Hello All,

    I am currently rebuilding an old Russian harp that had his neck snapped without notice.

    I am going to use beech ply wood for the new neck. Right now the question mark I have is the Tapered drill for the tuning pegs. I need to know which type of cone there is for the original pins but I don’t know how to measure the cone’s step and convert to the conventional sizes.

    I would be most grate full if some one could tell me how to do the measure or just point me out to the right size of tapered pin reamer.



    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #145447

    American harps use maple. I am not familiar with the properties of beechwood in a harp. You have to ask a technician like Carl about the measurements.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #145448

    Are you in Israel?

    carl-swanson on #145449

    You need a tapered reamer, not a tapered drill. Take a tuning pin to a machinist and ask him to make you a tapered reamer. The best would probably be a straight flute reamer. But you could also use a spiral flute. If you could get both, you could start the hole with the spiral flute reamer and finish it with the straight flute. If you finish it with the spiral flute, the cut lines will draw the tuning pin into the hole tighter and tighter until you can’t turn the tuning pin.

    nadav-kon on #145450

    Thank you for your replies, Sorry for taking so long to see it.

    Saul, yes we are in Israel and this is going to be the first Israeli harp rebuild.

    Carl, thank you for your comprehensive reply!
    I got some information regarding the tapered reamer as well, It is supposed to be 1/60…

    We are still looking for the right wood, it is hard to come by and perhaps we would need to order special wood from abroad. I was told that some builders make their own ply wood but we don’t have much experience with that. We would rather use something that is in use and is proven.

    One more question, these harps have a built in weak point on the top part of the neck. Would you suggest reinforcing this part by making the neck wider at that point?


    carl-swanson on #145451

    The weakest part of any neck is the treble end where the action plates end. The action plates give critical reinforcement to the neck, and when necks break, it is right at that top end. That’s why my own Swanson harps have the front action plate extended into the knee block. I reinforce my neck blanks, both for my own harps and for all replacement necks that I build, with carbon fiber, which I believe adds to the strength of the neck without adding extra weight.

    kreig-kitts on #145452

    I never noticed that before, but I just went back to your web site and indeed, the plate goes all the way up! Your harps are beautiful and show so much thought into harp playing and maintenance, if I find myself shopping for another harp someday I’ll certainly want to make a trip to Boston to meet you and play one of your harps.

    carl-swanson on #145453

    Thanks Kreig. If you make a trip to Boston be sure and call me anyway. It would be nice to meet one of the other regulars here.

    nadav-kon on #145454

    I made a mistake with the reamer, it is 1/30 reamer and not 1/60 like I wrote. Can anyone confirm that?

    nadav-kon on #145455


    Since I cannot make the action plate longer, is there anything I can do to reinforce the neck in that particular weak spot?

    There is also the issue of refinishing the harp. Since it will be hard for me to match the wood and colors, I was thinking of refinishing it in shiny black. I know not to refinish the soundboard but I was also told that if I refinish the sound box it might effect the sound too. The harp had a beautiful sound and a perfectly preserved sound board, I would hate to ruin that.

    Thanks to all of you for answering!


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