key pin shaking loose

Pipemaking, reedmaking & maintanence. Expert pipemakers are eager to answer your questions

key pin shaking loose

Postby Bill Wakefield » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:55 pm

C# key pin starts to protrude after several minutes of playing. Push it back in and out it comes again after another several minutes . I notice because the key pad starts to seal improperly and get squeaks on lower notes, every time I have a look and that pin is sticking out again. What to do? Thx
Bill Wakefield
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 3:04 pm
Full Name: William Wakefield

Re: key pin shaking loose

Postby Francis Wood » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:28 am

Bill, either that key axle has a diameter that is too small for the hole in the chanter it is intended to fit, or it is tapered and similarly, the taper does not match the taper in the hole in the mount. Either way, it must be very annoying.

Ultimately the best solution is probably to discard it and fashion a new and better fitting one using a piece of brass wire and a fine file. Alternatively you might try the smallest smear of glue (not superglue!) which is just enough to inhibit the escape of the axle without making it efficiently adhere and become impossible to remove. If it does escape and become irretrievably lost, then you'll be obliged to adopt Plan A anyway.

I prefer well-fitting non-tapered axles. If they are tempted to shift, they're never quite sure in which direction they want to go (a tapered one never has that uncertainty) and in their indecision, they stay put. A bit of beeswax on the axle helps to prevent movement.

I hope you have some success!

Francis Wood
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 7:38 pm

Re: key pin shaking loose

Postby Julia Say » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:09 pm

Bill, I assume its the small mid C# not the long one on your latest set? (I know the latter caused a lot of bother!)

I think the makers answer would be to shellac the pin in, for the short term. The pivot hole in the key itself should be 1.1mm, but those in the wood, 1mm (they'll be parallel, not tapered)

Take the pin out completely and examine it for taper - its possibly in the wrong way round? The more pointed end should be to the back of the chanter - insertion from the front.

The straight section of some paper clips can be used as a substitute at a pinch - but not the plastic coated sort, and you'd need to experiment to find a suitably fitting one.

Medium to long-term solution, if its resistant to improvement is to plug the holes in the blocks and re-drill. Bring that set with you if you're coming over this autumn!


Julia Say
Posts: 213
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 7:52 am
Full Name: Julia Say

Re: key pin shaking loose

Postby Francis Wood » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:30 pm

Just to introduce a note of controversy (without which no piping discussion can be properly satisfying) . . .

Surely the 'makers solution' is to send out pipes which do not require the customer to re-fit components which fall out. I say this having spent several hours yesterday correcting some appalling key-fitting on a set of pipes by a professional maker, so I am possibly in an unreasonably-annoyed frame of mind over such matters at present!

And surely it's a lot easier to make the pins fit the chanter rather than the other way round?

[Smiley-face etc]

Francis Wood
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 7:38 pm

Re: key pin shaking loose

Postby pipemakermike » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:44 pm

I am in complete agreement with Francis. I too have had recent experience of having to refit pins to a brand new, quite expensive, set of pipes as the ones fitted fell out after a short time of playing. I take great care to fit the pins in my sets so that they have a firm sliding fit (AKA light push fit) in the pin holes on the chanter and a free fit in the key pivot hole. I have found a method that makes this quite straight forward to achieve. I use hard drawn brass wire Ø1mm. I drill the pin holes in the chanter with a Ø1mm drill. The resulting fit is too tight to push a pin in so I make an old fashioned "D" reamer from the same wire. Using this to ream out the holes eases the fit to a light push fit. My pins have never fallen out on any of the sets I have made and they can be removed from either side of the block without fear of splitting the block. a couple of strokes with a fine file will resharpen the cutting edge and once it is worn too short another is easy to make.
I have tried taper pins as mentioned in an earlier thread but only in a test piece. I don't have any confidence that they will be sufficiently reliable in use as the inevitable changes that the wood undergoes can easily cause the pin to loosen and as soon as it is slightly loose it will fall out.
One way of tightening a pin that is just a bit loose is to squeeze the last 1mm of the pin with flat nose pliers to make it oval and thus tighter.
I would never glue a pin in as it will make life hard for future repairers.

Posts: 206
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 5:05 pm
Location: Cambridge England
Full Name: Mike Nelson

Return to Pipemaking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest