Garolite Peg Bushing
© Frank Ford 2004; Photos by FF
Garolite? It's a cloth laminate phenolic, and it's available from McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com).
If you look closely at the end of this Garolite tube, you'll see that it has cloth lamination that's really a spiral around the center:
The spiral wrap makes this particular tube particularly resistant
to cracking in the application below. For this job, I'll be using a tube
that was made as 1/2" diameter with a 1/4" bore. McMaster sells
it as "Grade 30 Garolite hollow rod" and charges less than seven
bucks for a 40" length.
The patient is a an American classic, for sure. It's a 1967 Jean Ritchie dulcimer, made of walnut and spruce. Apart from an unfortunate check in the peg box, this one has survived in excellent condition:
The original peg box had been made with a piece of walnut that had a nasty blackish check running right into one of the peg holes. The wedging action of the friction peg clearly caused the check to open a fraction and the result was a nasty long crack in the peg box:
Simply regluing the crack might hold reasonably well, but because the pegs are hand made and a bit crude, they would put quite a strain on the repair, so I thought it would be good to buy a bit of insurance in the form of a bushing that simply could not split.
First, I glued up the crack:
Then, I drilled out the peg box to 1/2" to accommodate my 1/2" Garolite rod:
Now, for the tricky part. To disguise the outside of the peg box repair, I cut a 1/2" diameter walnut plug from some scrap I had lying around:
Then, I glued my 1/2" walnut disc onto the end of the Garolite rod, and trimmed the rod to the length needed for my peg box repair. I thinned the walnut cap to about 1/16 inch:
The Garolite is slightly porous thanks to the heavy canvas cloth laminations, so it will accept a variety of stains and it is easily glued with any wood glue, so I had no trouble mounting it in place. I used my sharp 3/4" wide chisel laid flat against the peg box to shave the walnut plug flush to the surface:
Even though most of the plug would be eliminated when I drilled and reamed for the peg, I figured I had a great opportunity to do a bit of simple color work. I mopped on a bit of dark walnut filler to match its surroundings, and drew a dark streak across the plug to mimic the dark check line in the original wood:
The finish on this instrument is a bit, er, "tentative," so I figured a quick brush of nitrocellulose lacquer would be sufficient to seal and blend adequately"
After drilling through the walnut plug with a 1/4" brad point bit, I ran my peg reamer in until the peg fit just like its neighbors:
Now, with that Garolite insert, there's absolutely no possibility that no matter how hard the peg is shoved in, it simply can't split the side of the peg box where the old check had allowed the wood to fail:
From the outside edge, you hardly notice the repair. I suppose I could have used a similar walnut cap on the inside, but I chose to run the Garolite all the way through. Even without any stain, the color isn't a bad match:
Back to Index Page