Historical Irish harp tuning pins are a different design from modern steel tuning pins. The old Irish harp tuning pins are made from brass, and they have a square drive head which is as wide as the wide end of the tapered shaft.
Brass pins turn more smoothly than steel pins, helping tuning accuracy with wire strings. The large tapered drive helps the key grip the pin more tightly, also helping ease and accuracy of tuning. And these pins look outrageously beautiful installed in the harp!
My handmade brass tuning pins have #4 Imperial 1:48 taper shafts, the same as standard modern harp tuning pins. This means they can be fitted using a standard ¼″ reamer, or can be swapped out to replace modern steel pins. I can make your pins to any shape, size or length (within reason…) Let me know what your harp is, and what pins you need for it.
Standard #4 pins with steep or sloping shoulders (type A or B) £12.50 each.
Pins with blended or continuous shoulders (type C), need more work to shape the shoulders and blend them into the shaft. So too do pins which need to be a bit thicker than the standard #4 size (part of the head can be filed down to make a continuation of the shaft). Because of the extra work, pins like this will cost a bit more, typically around £16 each. Contact me for a quote.
Pins that are too big to use my standard #4 blanks can be fabricated but this is a lot more expensive. Contact me with your requirements.
Examples of my previous work
I have made sets of pins for amateur harpmakers as well as for professional instrument-makers, to be fitted to new harps. I have also made replacement sets of pins for retro-fitting older harps that were originally fitted with modern steel pins. Some of my sets of pins are generic old Irish harp pins; others are carefully sized and modelled after individual historic pins. I enjoy making replica pins specifically to go in a replica harp. (in the photographs below, I did not make the harps! I only made the pins for these harps)
I can also supply brass taper pin blanks, if you want to make your own pins. These are the same blanks that I am now using to make my own hand-made pins. These blanks are made for me here in Northern Ireland to my specification. They are turned from brass rod. The blanks are 105mm long with #4 Imperial 1:48 taper shafts, and integral 6.4mm drive heads.
Data sheet and instructions for use (PDF download)
I wrote a photo blog post which documents the making of a set of pins using these blanks.
To fit these pins into a new harp you will need a ¼″ reamer. You can buy one for £25, or you can borrow one from me, for £5 plus a £20 returnable deposit.
How to order:
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.