Installing Zither Pins

Image of tools and materials ready to install zither pins.

Tools and materials ready to install zither pins.

A previously noted in an August 18th post, standard 3/16 inch zither pins are used to hold and tune the strings on the kantele. The holes for the pins must be drilled 1 ¼ inch deep and as close to vertical as possible. A drill press was used to ensure that the holes were the right depth and perfectly vertical in the instrument. I thank Charlie Engle for his assistance and the use of his drill press to complete this step.

Picture of installing the first few zither pins: the first pin on the left is hammered all the way in. The next two pins will be hammered in using the wood block with a hole in it to stop the length of the pins at 7/8 inch above the soundboard.

Installing the first few zither pins: the first pin on the left is hammered all the way in. The next two pins will be hammered in using the wood block with a hole in it to stop the hammer so the length of the pins is 7/8 inch above the soundboard.

The standard zither pins must be inserted until 7/8 inch is left above the surface of the instrument before the strings are attached. The pins can be tapped in a bit with a hammer and then turned with the tuner to the right height, or they can be be more quickly hammered in all the way to the correct height. I implemented the second method and used a 7/8-inch thick piece of wood with a hole drilled in it to stop the hammer at the right distance. As the last few pins were installed I began to feel a sense of excitement and anticipation – all I had remaining to do was install the strings and the instrument would be complete!

Picture of the kantele with only three zither pins left to install!

Only three zither pins left to install!

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