Tuning keys

I make custom hand-made tuning keys (sometimes called a tuning hammer or tuning lever).

My keys normally use a machined clock-key socket shaft, fitted into a hand-carved wooden handle. I can supply you with a bare socket, or I am happy to make a key specially to fit your harp. The price will depend on the amount of work that goes into your key, and there are many different choices!

Socket Options

The socket needs to fit your tuning pins. It is important that you get the right size, because a loose socket makes it harder to tune, and also wears away the tuning pins as well as wearing the socket. My chart shows the sizes I have available.

If you are not 100% sure what size you need, I can lend you a selection of plain sockets so you can try them on your pin drives and see which size fits your pins best. Or you can extract and send me one of your pins.

NumberWidth across flatsWhat each size is good for
74mm
84.25mm
94.5mm
104.75mmNo.10 sometimes fits the modern blackened steel pins but is often just a bit too tight.
4.8mmThis is the size of the little brass radiator keys which are a perfect fit on modern blackened steel pins. But their shafts are very short.
115mmNo.11 is a slightly loose fit on the modern blackened steel pins used in HHSI Student harps and similar.
125.25mm
135.5mm
145.75mmNos. 14 to 16 are the sizes I usually use for old Irish harp tuning pins with the big square drive heads.
156mmNo.15 is probably my favourite size for the fat tapered drives
166.25mmBecause these pin drives are tapered, you can use a size up or down equally as well.
186.75mm
lengthened brass socket – standard brass clock-key – standard plated steel clock key

If you have modern style steel pins, then you can use a standard plated steel socket. These are available in sizes up to no.13 (5.5mm).
The cost of this socket (a bare clock key) is £6.

If you have the early style of handmade brass tuning pins, you need a brass socket. These are available in sizes up to no.16 (6.25mm) but they are a bit short. The bare brass clock key also costs £6.

I can lengthen and shape the brass socket by silver-soldering an extension onto the shaft. The cost of the extended and shaped brass socket is £40.

I can also make a rectangular brass socket to fit rectangular-section tuning pin drives. The price of the rectangular socket is £40.

As you can see from my photo gallery I like to have fun coming up with novelty sockets. I have done two- and three-ended sockets for different sized pins. Please enquire for price.

You can use the bare clock key on its own as a pocket or keyring tuning key, or you can pull it apart to fit it into your own handle. I also have very short 4.8mm brass radiator keys available for £2 each; they can be used for keyring or novelty keys.

I made a photo-essay on how I make a tuning key.

Handle

I can make you a complete tuning key by fitting one of the sockets (above) into a hand-made handle.

I make my handles from pieces of local wood, hand cut in a rustic style. Once you have chosen what socket you need, I can make a handle and fit the socket into it. I fit the socket into a hole in the handle, and pin and glue it to make sure it is solid with no movement.

My standard handle uses a plain local wood (Irish birch, Scottish walnut), and is made so that the key is a T shape. A T shaped key like this costs £40 plus the cost of the socket of your choice (see above).

I can also do a long handle to make the tuning key L-shaped. I can use exotic woods or other materials (I have Scottish and English bog oak, Irish yew and oak, Scottish cherry), and I could also use something like horn or antler if you took a notion to that kind of thing). I can add carved or gilded or painted bands. I can add a suspension loop or silk ribbons. Please ask for prices.

How to order:

Send an email to shop@simonchadwick.net, or phone or text me, telling me what you would like.

Please note: postage is charged extra. Click here for payment information.

If you are not sure what you need, still get in touch and ask me. There is no commitment to place an order; just call or email and see if the price and description is really what you are after. I am happy to recommend other sellers who might have what you need.