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Thread: Exposed Bushings

  1. #1
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    Default Exposed Bushings

    Hello,
    I've had this mandolin for a number of years and wondered about the amount of bushing that is exposed. The machines are stable and there are no issues with tuning that I can tell. Is there anything that can be done? I do believe in the if-it's-not-broken-don't-fix-it-philosospy.
    I quess it's more a cosmetic issue. Are there any longterm problems with this? Anyway, thankyou in advance for any advise regarding this situation.
    Don
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  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
    ...The machines are stable and there are no issues with tuning that I can tell...
    There's the important thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
    Is there anything that can be done?
    The bushings could be removed (at risk of damage to the peghead), the holes reamed larger (at risk of damage to the peghead and potential misalignment of the holes) and the bushings replaced deeper in the holes (at risk of being too loose and falling out).


    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
    I do believe in the if-it's-not-broken-don't-fix-it-philosospy.
    I concur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
    I quess it's more a cosmetic issue.
    Once again, I concur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
    Are there any longterm problems with this?
    Not really if all is stable and working correctly. The only real difference in this and bushings fully inserted is cosmetic. Functionally there isn't really any difference.

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Have you taken the strings off and tried to push them back in?

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Have you taken the strings off and tried to push them back in?
    That's it. I bet they once were installed flush and slowly wandered out of their holes. Sometimes the humidity changes cause a bit of loosenes of the holes over time and especially the tapered headstock design on mandolins is prone to tis effect as post of the tuner leans against the upper edge of bushing and slowly pushes it out.
    Just wait for next string change and push tem back in with some tube (tube wrench) of appropriate size (to prevent scratching the headstock). You can lightly tap the tube to help if they won't go. If you feel thay are too loose you can pull them out completely (sometimes you can do it carefully with fingernails without damaging finish without need for removal of tuners, but safer is removal of tuners and push them out from behind). You can use toothpick to paint inside of the holes with some glue to reduce size (Titebond is safe but slow drying, CA gel is fast but don't drip it on finish) AFTER the glue dries press the busing back in place and they should stay in.
    Adrian

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Human brain issue: Leaving it alone is tolerable to nearly all. Pushing 7 bushings in and having one resist trips a switch in the brain that results in immediate and immoderate application of force, that results in exactly the kind of damage we’d like to prevent.
    It’s always the last fastener in the machine, the last board on the deck, the last tiny leak in the plumbing.
    And having done the damage, it’s a very specific kind of guilt, for which there must be a German word.

  8. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    I'm pretty sure Adrian has this right and my guess is that they might have been a little loose to begin with and the changes just pushed them up a bit. I'd just push them back down with the strings off.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    To my eye, the back (away from the nut) of each bushing is more exposed than the front. This I believe is the result of the bushings tending to line up with the tuner shafts which are likely to be perpendicular to the back of the headstock but not perpendicular to the front of the headstock. This being the result of having a tapered headstock thickness. I have been interested in this problem for some time and don't have a simple fix. My thoughts are that the bushing should seat so their inner surface aligns with the shafts and this could be accomplished by boring a recess for the bushing such that it is parallel with the back of the headstock. Alternately the seated bushings themselves might be reamed at a slight angle to get them aligned with the shafts.
    -Newtonamic

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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    I know they work fine so I would initially think leave them alone...but looking at that would drive me a bit nuts (Yup, the "human brain" issue). If the bushings worked themselves out and you just push them back in they will come back out, I would think, fairly soon. So, for me, out they would come and be reinstalled with Titebond while wet). I would also think that using CA you might run the risk of not laying it in evenly in the hole if it dries first. Potentially throwing the bushing just enough off center to cause binding. If you install the bushings with wet CA getting them back out could get interesting.

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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    ...but looking at that would drive me a bit nuts (Yup, the "human brain" issue)...
    You and me both.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #10
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    If the bushings worked themselves out and you just push them back in they will come back out, I would think, fairly soon.
    It took them years to get to this state so it may take few years again. Perhaps the mandolin experienced some humidity swings recently and this is result. Push them in and you are good to go for a long time. Only the owner can judge if they are really loose.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    So, for me, out they would come and be reinstalled with Titebond while wet).
    You can install them with wet glue but you risk damage to heasdstock if future removal is needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    I would also think that using CA you might run the risk of not laying it in evenly in the hole if it dries first. Potentially throwing the bushing just enough off center to cause binding. If you install the bushings with wet CA getting them back out could get interesting.
    CA doesn't dry that fast. You don't really need perfectly even layer. Often just three tiny drops around the hole are best. If (potentially) the glue could throw the bushing out of alignment then the holes are terribly wrong (way too large) in the first place and should be plugged and redrilled. DOn't even think about installing them with wet CA. First, you risk squeeze out from under the bushings that would be catastrophic to finish. Second, they would be almost impossible to remove in the future. You can heat them to loosen glue but that would almost certainly damage finish around bushing.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Thanks everyone for the valuable and generous responses. They have been that way since i took custodianship of it, which has been about 7years. It is something that I've learned to live with, yet was curious if there was a 'simple' remedy, which seems there isn't. I'll try to push them in at the next string change, see what happens.
    What is CA?

  15. #12

    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
    What is CA?
    Superglue.
    Its technical name is CyanoAcrylate ester hence abbreviated CA

  16. #13
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    The solution to this problem is to drill the holes perpendicular to the face of the headstock rather than the back (though few people do that). There have been a few threads here about this. The tuner shafts then end up at a slight angle inside the bushing, which if fine, because all bushings have a large enough inside diameter to accommodate the angle.



    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Simonson View Post
    To my eye, the back (away from the nut) of each bushing is more exposed than the front. This I believe is the result of the bushings tending to line up with the tuner shafts which are likely to be perpendicular to the back of the headstock but not perpendicular to the front of the headstock. This being the result of having a tapered headstock thickness. I have been interested in this problem for some time and don't have a simple fix. My thoughts are that the bushing should seat so their inner surface aligns with the shafts and this could be accomplished by boring a recess for the bushing such that it is parallel with the back of the headstock. Alternately the seated bushings themselves might be reamed at a slight angle to get them aligned with the shafts.

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by amowry View Post
    ... shafts then end up at a slight angle inside the bushing, which if fine, because all bushings have a large enough inside diameter to accommodate the angle.
    Whoa! Having dealt with some cheap and/or poorly-installed tuners, while wondering how expensive and/or well-installed tuners resolve the same issue (on my assumption that the tolerances are much tighter), THANK YOU for so simply stating one resolution of the "tapered headstock" dilemma.
    - Ed

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    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    I have not had any success drilling tuner shaft holes perpendicular to the face of a tapered head stock though others have. I guess if you drill big enough holes and/or have lesser taper it may work. I drill from the back for the tuner shafts and bore from the face for bushing (both at 90 degrees). The resulting misalignment is relieved by filing the back side (away from the nut) of the bushing such that the tuner shafts have better alignment. Works for me!
    -Newtonamic

  19. #16

    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Larry, since it’s the non-bearing side that interferes, wouldn’t it make sense to make all bushings with a cutaway on one side? Would work on any taper, including zero. Or is that simply too much change?

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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    I've always thought modern tuners were designed to be installed at 90 degrees to the mounting plate and have the shaft contact the interior of the bushing so it is in full contact. Yes, there is still some slop so in the tapered situation the shaft is bearing on the upper lip of the bushing and some feel this is acceptable but it often results in the problem we're discussing here.
    I discovered early on that tuner installation is just about the most critical and precise thing you have to deal with in building a mandolin. I went ahead and sacrificed the traditional look and started making uniform thicknessed pegheads.

  21. #18

    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Jim, from the mechanical standpoint, the rim/lip/flange of the bushing is the right place to be the fulcrum in the lever that’s pulled by the string and held at the other end by pressure against the worm. That’s the arrangement that should allow easy tuning. Forgetting wear and lubricity issues, which are probably negligible at the bushing, it’s ok. Trouble happens when, because of bad installation or wear, the post is pulled far enough over to jam the worm and spur excessively.
    If our hypothetical engineer were to design this, the bushing and tuner plate would be part of a single assembly with sufficient rigidity to avoid such problems. It would also avoid potential headstock splitting. Ain’t gonna happen.

  22. #19
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    ...pulled by the string and held at the other end by pressure against the worm...
    Actually, the hole in the tuner plate is the bearing surface on the other end of the post. That's why "worm over" and "worm under" both can work fine when properly manufactured and installed. Better tuners have a specific amount of lash designed into the gears, cheaper tuners sometimes leave it to chance, and sometimes poorly installed and thus worn tuners do have gears that mash together from string tension.

    While I'm here, back to the OP and my original post.
    Since the OP said he has had the mandolin for years and the bushings have looked like this the whole time, I assumed that he had pushed on the bushings to see if they would seat. As someone once said (about writing) "assume nothing".

  23. #20
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Tapered headstock on mndolins was not just someone's wild idea but necessity to keep the vulnerable transition from thin neck into headstock strong. Ends of plates are very close to nut so you need flat area starting from there but the neck is still thicker in the place unless you do some abrupt thinning above nut, or some do the "volute" thing like banjos have which IMO weakens the area.
    Anyway, the bushings are not ball bearings and the forces involved don't need large lubricated surfaces in contact to operate properly. The two points of contact (edge of hole in plate and upper edge of bushing) are more than enough for proper function. Most problems we see are from large misalignment and posts hopelessly jammed in the holes. The taper of bushings is one more factor that makes them easier to come out. Nontapered bushings would hold better (I made my own for couple of mandolins), but they would are more sensitive to precise size of hole.
    I think there is no problem to solve here. Wood will always change with humidity and bushings won't so sometimes they will get loose. But it is easy fix.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Anyone eve install these monsters from Schaller? Not too forgiving.
    It's right side up in my pictures.
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  25. #22
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    Anyone eve install these monsters from Schaller? Not too forgiving.
    It's right side up in my pictures.
    Yes. I used them in a couple of early mandolins with tapered pegheads, but I think they came with Waverlys. They worked fine.

  26. #23
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    Anyone eve install these monsters from Schaller? Not too forgiving.
    It's right side up in my pictures.
    Just once on my first mandolin. They still work OK. But for next 10 or so mandolins I made my own stainless steel bushings closer to the vintage size.
    I still have a box full of those long Schaller bushings somewhere...
    Adrian

  27. #24

    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliano View Post
    Thanks everyone for the valuable and generous responses. They have been that way since i took custodianship of it, which has been about 7years. It is something that I've learned to live with, yet was curious if there was a 'simple' remedy, which seems there isn't. I'll try to push them in at the next string change, see what happens.
    What is CA?
    New information^ since they've been like this since you acquired the instrument, we don't know if they were ever seated properly in the first place.
    • Chances are better they were seated, but worked their way loose over time. I think I would try press fitting them first. With a small block of wood over the gear and a small socket that just fits over the tuning post (or a block of wood with a 1/4 hole drilled in it) gently press one in with a small C clamp.
    *if it doesn't go in with gentle pressure, then the hole was never drilled/reamed correctly and the instrument needs to go to a luthier. Each manufacturer's bushings require a different size pilot hole drilled and they're not common sizes. I use a violin peg reamer to get them to just about the point where yours are now, and press fit them the rest of the way
    ** if it goes in too easily, then a tiny bead of white glue around the inside perimeter of the top of the hole (or I've heard others recommend nail polish) should be enough to keep them seated if you let it dry before stringing back up. This is easier done if the machines are removed but you can run the bead of white glue on the bushing and clean up squeeze out with a damp ragI would stay a mile away from CA glue unless you're really experienced with it. It's a finish disaster waiting to happen (ask me how I know).

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    Default Re: Exposed Bushings

    Thank you Rob for that counsel. I'll give that a try. It has turned into an interesting, above my paygrade, thread.

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