Easiest/cheapest way to slightly widen tuner peg holes on a Fluke

andyinohio

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Newbie/amateur question here, from someone with little to no woodworking skills and equipment.

I’ve just ordered Grover 6’s to replace the 2’s that came with my Magic Flukes (a tenor and an SB). I’ve read that I might need to widen the peg holes to fit in the new tuners. I’m reluctant to buy a reamer for this and only this task.

What suggestions do you have for slightly widening the holes, if I need to do that, that are mostly idiot-proof, that wouldn’t involve ordering a reamer?
 
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Beau Hannam Ukuleles

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Uke-alot

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Grrr. Grover used to have a handy table on their web site with required hole sizes for all their products, but that no longer appears to be available. It appears from the Stew-mac product page for 6B friction tuners that a 5/16" inch hole is required. I happen to have an uninstalled set of 6B's here and confirmed that with a caliper. I believe the Grover 2 tuners need a smaller diameter hole (Elderly says 11/64"). These don't need to be tapered holes, so I would carefully enlarge the holes with a standard drill bit. Maybe do it in a couple steps, with an intermediate size first and then the 5/16th bit.
 

andyinohio

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Thanks, folks! I appreciate the pointers. The tuners are due to be delivered this week. I’ll report back when I have them installed (fingers crossed).
 

TQuest

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About a month ago I needed to widen the holes on a Kala KA-SML-SLNG because I wanted to switch from the stock geared tuners to GraphTech Ratio tuners. The holes needed to be expanded from 8mm to 9mm to accommodate wider bushings. After taking several recommendations into consideration here on UU, I purchased a simple T-handle reamer from Harbor Freight for about 3 bucks.

https://www.harborfreight.com/t-handle-reamer-66936.html

I also have ZERO woodworking skills and was overly cautious with the process. I did not want to use a lot of pressure for fear of over-widening the holes, so it took me a LONG time for the first hole - over 150 turns. By the fourth hole, I was a little more comfortable with the process and it only took me about 60 turns of the reamer. I am happy with the results and look forward to the opportunity to do it again - even on a slightly more expensive ukulele. But if I had a K-brand or other fancy uke, I'd probably seek out a luthier - in those cases I would want it done right instead of done cheaply.
 

Kelali Kev

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I use the same reamer from Harbor freight, I believe it is in the plumbing dept for reaming pipes. Anyway, to speed up the process of reaming your holes, once you have found the correct depth put some tape on the reamer where the reamer is flush with the wood. Next hole take it almost to the mark and fine tune depth from there. That way you won't go too far on the rest of the holes, and you can get to the proper hole width quickly.
 

Ukecaster

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The thing about tapered reamers is that the bushing is not tapered. So, by the time you get the bottom of the hole wide enough to fit the bushing, the top is wider than it needs to be. Not a big problem, as the bushing will usually cover the excess space, but next time I may try doing it by hand with gradually increasing drill bits, for a straight edged hole, with less potential for off-center or slightly wobbly tuner posts, which I have encountered in my less-than-pro installs. :rolleyes:
 
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Uke-alot

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The thing about tapered reamers is that the bushing is not tapered. So, by the time you get the bottom of the hole wide enough to fit the bushing, the top is wider than it needs to be. Not a big problem, as the bushing will usually cover the excess space, but next time I may try doing it by hand with gradually increasing drill bits, for a straight edged hole, with less potential for off-center or slightly wobbly tuner posts, which I have encountered in my less-than-pro installs. :rolleyes:

I was reading this thread and wondering if a reamer is something I should have around for possible future use. Thanks for pointing out this potential concern. The other thought that I had was that the OP is modifying Magic Fluke instruments, which have a slot head. I guess it depends on the degree of taper and the size of the slot (it's one singe wide slot for these), but I wonder if there are some applications where you would need to think about what the pointy end of the reamer is doing while the reamer is engaged further up the shaft. Probably not a concern for this particular application, but there might be other times where that's an issue.
 

WebParrot (s2)

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I use the same reamer from Harbor freight, I believe it is in the plumbing dept for reaming pipes. Anyway, to speed up the process of reaming your holes, once you have found the correct depth put some tape on the reamer where the reamer is flush with the wood. Next hole take it almost to the mark and fine tune depth from there. That way you won't go too far on the rest of the holes, and you can get to the proper hole width quickly.

You are quite right. I have mitigated that concern by following a disciplined use and process.
I take a fairly precise measure of the tuners' diameter and transfer that measurement to the reamer. Then place tape around the circumference about 1 mm toward pointy end of the reamer.
I then alternately work the reamer from both the front and back sides until the tape touches the headstock surface.
Every few rotations I'll slip the tuner in place to confirm I haven't overshot.
Then when the tuner seems to enter the hole snugly, I'll stop. If I notice resistance near the center of the cut, I'll take a piece of rolled up 80 grit sandpaper and lightly sand down the inside of the hole.
FWIW, because the headstocks I've worked with tend to be under 10mm thick, AND I use a reamer with a very gradual taper, there's never been an issue where the taper interfered with the fit.
The only downside of reaming from the face of the headstock is when there's a heavy-ish gloss finish. You have to go real slow (making sure the reamer is still sharp helps!) as you "shave" the edges of the face.
 

andyinohio

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Update: Finally had time to replace the tuners. As folks have noted elsewhere on UU, sometimes Grover 6's drop right in with no modification needed to the peg holes on Flukes, sometimes not. In my case, for both instruments it turns out that I did need to widen the holes slightly. So I used Beau Hannam Ukuleles's suggestion number 3 (earlier in this thread). Having many hex tools, I wrapped sandpaper around one just smaller than the hole. It didn't take much sanding to widen the holes just enough. Easy-peasy. Thanks, everyone, both for the suggestions and more info.