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View Full Version : Kanile'a' owners with StewMac bridge pins, a little help please?



Teek
12-07-2009, 09:32 AM
I got a set in ebony and they are a few hairs too big circumference wise. The rest of you who replaced your plastic bride pins with wooden ones from StewMac, were they a problem at all? I remember people saying "perfect fit" and mine aren't.

Any feedback is welcome, thanks!

wickedwahine11
12-07-2009, 09:40 AM
Yes, they were too large to fit properly. I shaved the wood down a little bit (or maybe you can sand it) and now it fits perfectly -- and they look WAY better than the cheesy plastic ones.

PaulGeo
12-07-2009, 09:55 AM
Oh... I've been wanting to do this. Can you please provide a link to the ones you bought?

Thanks, Paul

kailua
12-07-2009, 10:45 AM
Had the same problem. The new StewMac pins didn't seat flush with the bridge. All I had available were round files, so I enlarged the holes for the pins a little bit at a time until they fit perfectly.

Teek
12-07-2009, 11:51 AM
All I had available were round files, so I enlarged the holes for the pins a little bit at a time until they fit perfectly.

OUCH! That was my second thought. I've used files for various fixes on ukes before, including round files to fit tuner pegs, but I already got a few hairs too low (accidentally because I was too lazy at 1am to go get the proper needle file, NEVER don't use the right equipment for any reason) on the nut slot when adjusting it for the 4th string. Usually I am SO careful. I was using an Xacto to just shave the bottom, barely, and it was dull, and my old eyes are bad and I needed more width than depth. Some things seem ok in the wee hours. I had to put a tiny bit of plastic from a twist tie under the string, it's fine now but no longer perfect, and now I need to go get some super glue and fuss with it.

So that's why I just stuck the plastic pins back in instead of using one of my many files on the bridge. New nut maybe, new bridge OMG! :eek:

Thanks!

Here's the link:
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Hardware,_parts/Acoustic_guitar:_Bridge_and_endpins/Acoustic_Guitar_Bridge_Pins_and_Endpins/Slotted_Ebony_Bridge_Pins.html

Lori
12-07-2009, 11:55 AM
I have the slotted snakewood/ abalone pins, and because my plastic pins are black, I haven't installed mine yet. I did check one for size though, when I was re-stringing my Super Concert, and it seemed to be a perfect fit. Some say the wood pins sound different than the plastic pins. I wanted to get used to the plastic ones first before trying the wooden pins.

–Lori

nohandles
12-07-2009, 01:19 PM
http://www.grizzly.com/products/h5808

Above is a bridge pin reamer. I would suggest for 16 bucks you get one of these- stewmacs is 58. Sanding or filing the hole will result in some sound loss unless you are really masterful in keeping the 3 degree angle. Everything stacks up to make the best sound. They need reamed just until they are tight at the last .020 or .030 of an inch from setting. Plus an uneven hole will eventually ware until you have trouble keeping the pin in place.
Grizzly has Buffalo horn pins which was my choice for the Kaina'e Ukes that I have.
Bone is another choice and then Ebony, all available at Grizzly and a much better price.

Teek
12-07-2009, 05:21 PM
nohandles, thanks for the link and pointing this out! I like the idea of getting the reamer on the theory that I may put bridge pins in a CBU someday... LOL, just need a little plausibility for justification.

I like buffalo horn, but got the ebony because they match the dark bridge and fingerboard and I got them set with abalone which matches the abalone fret markers, for I think $12. I may just first file a pin and see what happens, I have six so can practice on one of the ones that don't match as well. At least I could figure out how much they are off, but it would destroy the finish of the pin.

bbycrts
12-07-2009, 06:16 PM
No way was I going to try to enlarge the holes! I carefully sanded mine down a little at a time until they fit right. I have the snakewood/abalone ones - ebony might be a bit hard to sand very well?

I've also noticed that Hana Lima 'Ia sells uke-sized bridge pins in their store...here's a link:

Hana Lima 'Ia bridge pins (http://www.hanalimastore.com/servlet/the-88/Ukulele-Bridgepin-Pin-Parts/Detail)

Teek
12-07-2009, 10:15 PM
Jon, that would just be too easy! LOL, all the time I've been browsing through Hana Lima 'Ia and never saw them... I guess I'll have to buy the builder's book too to justify the shipping. :drool:


Thanks! :D

nohandles
12-08-2009, 01:36 AM
No way was I going to try to enlarge the holes! I carefully sanded mine down a little at a time until they fit right. I have the snakewood/abalone ones - ebony might be a bit hard to sand very well?

I've also noticed that Hana Lima 'Ia sells uke-sized bridge pins in their store...here's a link:

Hana Lima 'Ia bridge pins (http://www.hanalimastore.com/servlet/the-88/Ukulele-Bridgepin-Pin-Parts/Detail)

I looked at the dimensions of the pins on their site and the looks to me to regular guitar pins.
Sanding them down unless you turn them in a lathe. still doesn't leave them completely round waring the hole irregularly over time.
(I am not arguing just saying be careful bridge replacement isn't cheap)

lkdumas
12-08-2009, 04:28 AM
I received my K-1 Concert a few months ago with very nice wooden pins installed. Don't know if this was done at the factory, or was part of the expert set-up check at Elderly Inst. In any event, beautiful Uke from Kanile'a with nice pins installed. Thank you to whoever did it.

bbycrts
12-08-2009, 04:47 AM
I looked at the dimensions of the pins on their site and the looks to me to regular guitar pins.
Sanding them down unless you turn them in a lathe. still doesn't leave them completely round waring the hole irregularly over time.
(I am not arguing just saying be careful bridge replacement isn't cheap)

Doug -

Obviously, you have A LOT more experience than I do! Just wondering how the bridge pins can wear the holes? They're just plugs, aren't they? There shouldn't be any stress or movement on them besides what little transmits from the string (and there shouldn't be much there, since most of the string's motion stops at the saddle?). I guess I'm not too concerned, but I'd rather defer to an expert - thanks for the tip; I'll watch the holes!

kailua
12-08-2009, 03:17 PM
Not sure what the concern over enlarging the pin holes is all about. That's what the bridge pin reamer is for. I didn't have a reamer so I used a round file. If I had a belt sander, I would have used that instead. I couldn't figure a way to hold the pin in a vice to hand sand it without marring the finish. Not being a luthier, I was afraid the reamer might cause splintering on the exposed surface of the bridge. That was just an educated (uneducated?) guess. Anyway, being very careful (3 hours later) the four holes were finished. As for affecting the sound, to me the snakewood pins has improved the sustain. If I knew how long it was going to take, I would have looked for a competent luthier to do this for me. My ignorance causes me to start projects that I shouldn't. The OP said "any feedback is welcome". My earlier posting was made for feedback, not a recommendation. ;)

bbycrts
12-08-2009, 09:11 PM
My earlier posting was made for feedback, not a recommendation. ;)

No problems! I wasn't meaning to criticize you and others enlarging pin holes - mostly just expressing my cowardice at doing the same myself! I just held my pins by hand, and sanded slowly with the paper wrapped around them. It worked - pins are still quite snug, but they do go all the way into the bridge now.

As far as tone - I don't really have a comparison. My concert came with white bridge pins and I really disliked them so switched to snakewood very quickly.

nohandles
12-09-2009, 01:27 AM
Not sure what the concern over enlarging the pin holes is all about. That's what the bridge pin reamer is for. I didn't have a reamer so I used a round file. If I had a belt sander, I would have used that instead. I couldn't figure a way to hold the pin in a vice to hand sand it without marring the finish. Not being a luthier, I was afraid the reamer might cause splintering on the exposed surface of the bridge. That was just an educated (uneducated?) guess. Anyway, being very careful (3 hours later) the four holes were finished. As for affecting the sound, to me the snakewood pins has improved the sustain. If I knew how long it was going to take, I would have looked for a competent luthier to do this for me. My ignorance causes me to start projects that I shouldn't. The OP said "any feedback is welcome". My earlier posting was made for feedback, not a recommendation. ;)

The reamer would have made it a 5 minute job for you. A reamer is not like a drill It is meant to smooth while making the hole perfectly round. All you do is put it in the hole until it stops and then gently turn while applying down pressure. Couple of turns then check for fit. It really is easy.
The closer the bridge pin fits the hole the better. Like I've said everything stacks up as a collective for the best transmission of sound.

One other thing. Someone asked what the big deal about the holes not being reamed as apposed to filing. Filing will leave high and low spots in the hole same as filing the pin. When you insert the pin the high spots are the points at which the hole and pin rest against each other. Over time as the pin is removed and reinserted the high spots will ware and leave the pin loose.
In my opinion it is worth 15 bucks for a reamer to make sure your loved Uke is with you for ever.
Should I try making a video of this for Youtube? Not sure how but I'm sure I can get my computer whiz son here to help me. Guess I can feel like a dork again while he helps me LOL Goug

Teek
12-10-2009, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the help all! :D

I don't mind spending a few more $ to get a nice fit on prettier pins if I can do this without hurting the uke. I took a good look at the fit of the pins I tried and how big the holes are in the bridge, and how much string slot there was and how much might have to come off. I understand the point of the reamer: all I had to do was look at the taper on the pins and on the reamer and it makes perfect sense to me how they should fit, so I don't want to compromise that.

I like pin bridges best for how clean they are in looks, even though they are sometimes a tiny pain when stringing. I have plans to build a cigar box lurking in the back of my head: I just found a cedar box from when I was a little kid that was my grandparents first that they gave to me and that I had scratched my name into when I was maybe 7 years old. It looks pretty cool as to potential so I need to scope out how to put a pin bridge on it and then I will get more use out of the tool and can justify it, LOL.

Right now my tenor has the plastic pins back in. Next string change I hope to have CBU parts and tools.