For those builders who prefer wooden jacks, or those who are facing the increasing unavailability of plastic jacks, I can offer the same wooden jacks that I use in my instruments. I personally make these jacks in my workshop from the finest materials. The jack bodies are cherry with holly tongues or beech with beech tongues. The tongue springs are made from .4mm PEEK monofilament. The jacks are 7" [177.8mm] long x .5" [12.7mm] wide x .150" [3.82mm] thick. 2-56 x 1/2" stainless steel binding or pan head machine screws (not included) can be used for bottom adjusting screws using an .078" drill bit. These holes can only be drilled after the jacks have been cut to their proper length. Top adjusting screws are not used. Tongues are .125" thick x 1 1/8" long. For those who prefer to control key dip by altering the top end of the jack, the jacks may be shortened at the top end by up to 1/2".

Left and Right Plucking Jacks

Most plastic jacks have tongues that can be installed in either direction. In this way, the position of the damper flag (on the front or rear edge of the jack) is determined by the builder. Wooden jacks, however, come with the tongues already pinned into the jack. While the wooden jack can pluck in either direction, the placement (front or rear) of the damper slot is out of the builder's control. For some builders who have no preference as to the position of the damper, this is not a consideration. However, there are two reasons why a builder might want to control the position of the damper. First, having the damper on the rear edge of the jack makes is somewhat easier to see the plectrum while regulating and voicing the instrument. Second, if the damper contacts the string on a nodal point, efficient damping may not be possible. In this case, placing the damper on the opposite side of the jack may allow it to miss a nodal point therebye improving the dampening of the string.

To allow the builder to choose the damper placement, jacks are offered in two styles - left plucking and right plucking. If your register plucks to the right, using a right plucking jack will place the damper at the rear of the jack. If your register plucks to the left, a left plucking jack will place the damper at the rear of the jack. If the damper position is important to you, and you have an instrument with two ranks of jacks (2x8 or 1x8, 1x4) you will need equal numbers of left and right plucking jacks. However, if your instrument has three ranks of jacks (2x8, 1x4) two of those ranks will pluck in the same direction so you will need twice as many of those jacks.

If the damper position is not important to you, simply order all of your jacks in either left or right plucking versions.