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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: RB-250, Broken neck, Arrrrrg .........


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Rowland - Posted - 07/17/2010:  20:40:17


Yep, I did it. Just put my rb-250 on the stand and jumped up to help my 2 year old granddaughter. Stepped on the strap, the banjo hit the floor, and broke the neck clean off. CRAP !
Well I gotta fix it. It took me 30 years to finally own it. any helpfull insight would be appreciated.
Basicly broke off the heal of the neck right in line with the top lag. My plan is to Glue it back together with tightbond II, drill a hole at an angle on either side if the lags and glue in a 5/16 dowel, and drill another hole at the lag location for a 3/8 dowel which will later be drilled for the lag to be screwed into. ( the break goes right thru the center line of the lag hole). The dowels will be finished to match the contures where the neck meets the pot and compleatly hidden when all is done. I'll have to do the best I can to finish the outside.
Wish me luck . . .

banjotef - Posted - 07/17/2010:  20:50:42


I would not insert dowels into this break. If you can glue it back together while the break is fresh, the glue line will be stronger than the original wood.

Earls 5 - Posted - 07/17/2010:  20:54:58


I am sorry it happened most certainly. I am a strong supporter of keeping banjo's in thier cases and i warn folk over & over not to trust any type of stand. This kind of thing happens far too often if you ask me.

desert rose - Posted - 07/17/2010:  21:22:10


Use Original Titebond NOT II

II is not a luthier glue, it doesnt dry near as hard as Original

Scott

Bill Rogers - Posted - 07/17/2010:  22:13:03


I second both no dowels and original Titebond. Hot hide would be ideal, but only if you're set up to use it and familiar with it. Dowels would actually weaken the heel because they would create new potential break points.

BobbyE - Posted - 07/17/2010:  23:10:35


Man, sorry to hear that happened. Yet another testimonial as to why not to use a stand. There is no amount of convinience of having your banjo real handy that compensates for the slightest chance that a banjo can get knocked off a stand which in just about every case will result in some serious damage. Good luck with the repair. One thing for sure, the knowledgeable people on this site will sure help steer you right in gettnig it right.

Bobby Elliott

Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 07/18/2010:  00:49:50


I'll second and third the previous advise: (A) Use Titebond 1; not 2 or 3. (B) Don't drill and dowel: dowels aren't needed, won't make it any stronger, and might well make it weaker.

Now:

1.) Get your clamps and pads laid out on your bench *before* you even look at the glue bottle. You should have two (2) clamps, and they should have a wide enough mouth to go over not just the neck and the heel but also over the softwood pads (cut up old wooden yardsticks are good) that you will masking-tape to the fingerboard and the heel cap to prevent the clamp's jaws from damaging them.

The clamps should have fine enough threads that you have delicate control over how much pressure you're putting on the neck. Too little pressure will give you a lousy glue joint, but too much can crush the mahogany of the neck...

2.) Before taping the softwood pads to the fingerboard and heel cap, cover them with either waxed paper or aluminum foil to prevent stray drops of glue from fastening them semi-permanantly to the neck. I use masking tape for this, too.

3.) Get an old tee-shirt that you don't want and soak it in water, then wring it out until it's still moist but not sopping.

4.) Line up the two broken halves *before* gluing and make certain that they fit together snugly: no splinters allowed.

5.) Moisten the raw wood surfaces a bit (you want them damp, not wet) and apply glue to *both* of them, wiping off the excess with paper towels. (You *DO* have a roll of paper towels at hand, right?) It doesn't take a whole lot of glue to do the job, and using more than you need gets messy.

6.) Now mate the two broken halves together MAKING CERTAIN that all the edges match up perfectly, and apply pressure with your hands until you've squeezed out most of the excess glue and the joint stops wanting to slip out of allignment.

7.) Mop off the excess glue with one hand while holding the joint closed with the other.

8.) NOW apply the clamps one at a time: fastening the first one down just tightly enough that it won't try to fall back off, and then adding the other. (I point the "C" bodys of the two clamps in opposite directions off to the sides of the neck, which will make wiping off the last of the glue a bit easier. I also arrange the clamps so that I'm tightening one down from the top and the other one up from the bottom: that way the jaw grips don't obstruct each other.)

9.) After checking one more time to be SURE that all the edges of the break are still perfectly alligned, begin tightening the clamps down a bit at a time, alternating from one to the other. (You're trying to keep an equal distribution of pressure here.)

10.) Continue tightening the clamps down incrementally until the glue pretty much stops oozing out of the joint, and THEN STOP!

11.) Now carefully use that moist cloth to wipe off the last of the excess glue. (This may take a few minutes as it will usually keep squeezing out of the joint for a bit.) You *can* get dried Titebond 1 off with warm water afterwards if you must, but it's better to get rid of it while it's still cooperative.

12.) Set the neck aside and wait at least 24 hours before removing the clamps, doing any final cleanup, and bolting the neck back on. (If it's really humid, I wait 48 hours.)

If you were lucky and the finish wasn't damaged at the break, a good job will leave the crack barely visible and the neck just as strong as it was before the fall.

~Pete

kingfisher78 - Posted - 07/18/2010:  01:12:30


quote:
Originally posted by Rowland
Just put my rb-250 on the stand and jumped up to help my 2 year old granddaughter. Stepped on the strap, the banjo hit the floor, and broke the neck clean off. CRAP !



I'd never used a stand in 40 years, but my missus bought one home a few weeks ago and....
I did the same thing a few days later. Put my foot on the strap whilst my favourite banjo was on that stand next to where I sit. It landed flat on its face. nothing broken ('cept my feelings)... The stand landed on the other side of the room where it still sits empty.
Straps and stands don't mix.

Shane.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 07/18/2010:  01:46:35


Pete Roehling ("Deaf Lester") is an experienced and highly competent luthier; you can't go wrong following his instructions.

slammer - Posted - 07/18/2010:  04:00:45


I feel your pain Roland!!!
Deaf Lesters' instruction are so good with attention to detail, that I almost want to
go break one of my necks just to try it.
The help and good advice we get here on the BHO always amazes me.
Infact, I just canceled my order on a new stand. I'll take the extra 22 seconds and put it back in the case instead. Good luck Roland and let us know how it turns out!
Slammer!!!

5stringpicker2 - Posted - 07/18/2010:  04:47:38


Ditto on the stands! But if your gonna use'em gather up your strap and bring it up the back side of your banjo and drape it over the yoke where the neck rests. At least this will keep the strap up and out from under foot.



(I )===='---<::)

banjobilly32 - Posted - 07/18/2010:  05:54:01


In my many years of playing I've had the broken heal experience about 3 times. Twice on one banjo! Once repaired and back in service I quickly forgot about the break. Usually it's almost invisible if done correctly. Sure does sober you up though when it first happens!
My point is there is life after a broken banjo neck!!

Frisco Fred - Posted - 07/18/2010:  07:14:01


titebond.com

I saw a repaired neck on a Gibson RB 4 (walnut) banjo. It was done professionally and the repair was invisable.

According to the titebond techs, one a former Martin Guitar assembler;

Adding water weakins the joint.
Titebond II has a higher tensile number, both hot and cold.
Hide glue melts with heat.

What's with the discrepancies?


Edited by - Frisco Fred on 07/18/2010 13:20:44

Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 07/18/2010:  07:22:14


quote:
Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Pete Roehling ("Deaf Lester") is an experienced and highly competent luthier; you can't go wrong following his instructions.



Your kickback, er, "gratuity", is in the mail, Bill.

~Pete

Rowland - Posted - 07/18/2010:  10:06:20


You guys are amazing. I'm sure glad I took the time to ask about this repair. I'll go get the other glue and move on with much more confidence. Thank you all so much for your time and effort. I'll let you know how it turns out.

grm405 - Posted - 07/18/2010:  12:09:38


If you stepped on the strap and pulled the banjo out of the stand, you are using the wrong stand. It is impossible to remove the banjo from the stand in this link (Hamilton KB38) unless you lift the banjo up about 3 inches. I fasten the stand to the wall in a corner (bungie cord). You might kick it, or throw something thru it, but you won't knock it out of the stand, unless you demolish the house. It is also seriously sturdy.

elderly.com/accessories/items/KB38.htm

Gerry

The Old Timer - Posted - 07/18/2010:  13:08:50


A good friend of mine had the neck heel cracked through by the airlines handling his case too rough. Insurance paid for repair, which is exactly as has been described here. The banjo is fine now. His neck did not break into two separate pieces however. Hope your's didn't.

Good luck! Were it me, I'd find a luthier to do it though, only because they probably have EXPERIENCE doing it.

Frisco Fred - Posted - 07/18/2010:  13:42:47


The consensus on the correct glue is either orginal Titebond or hot hide glue.

The tech @ Franklin and a former employee of Martin Guitar said that orginal Titebond might be too brittle and could, like epoxy or CA, compromise the woods acoustic value?

I'm not claiming to be a woodworker or an expert on adhesives, I would like to know, why the discrepencies? Can the glue be too brittle?

beeliner - Posted - 07/18/2010:  14:34:17


quote:
Originally posted by banjotef

I would not insert dowels into this break. If you can glue it back together while the break is fresh, the glue line will be stronger than the original wood.



banjotef is right. The neck will break somewhere else before breaking at a Titebond glue up.

Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 07/18/2010:  15:12:21


quote:
Originally posted by Frisco Fred

titebond.com

According to the titebond techs, one a former Martin Guitar assembler;

Adding water weakins the joint.
Titebond II has a higher tensile number, both hot and cold.
Hide glue melts with heat.

What's with the discrepancies?



They aren't discrepancies. They're engineering compromises.

1.) Diluting the glue significantly *would* weaken the joint. But getting the mating surfaces slightly moist (not "wet") before applying the glue allows the much-thicker-than-water Titebond to wick into every last recess and open grain pore available, and ends up creating a very strong glue joint that has 100% coverage: something that doesn't always happen otherwise.

2.) Ever hear "if it ain't broke don't fix it"? Titebond 1 is *plenty* strong enough for our purposes, I.E normally stronger than the wood you're gluing, and it doesn't present the cleanup problems that the other Titebond glues do. It also drys to a more-or-less neutral wood color that blends well and tends to hide the joint, and it can be sanded and finished over more easily than the other Titebond formulas. Lastly, a Titebond 1 joint can more easily be taken apart if that should prove to be needed at some point in the future.

A good repairguy's mantra is "Never do anything that can't be un-done."

3.) Hide glue *does* melt with heat. It's supposed to. So do most other glues, including both Titebond 1 and superglues: the difference being that hide glue softens up at lower temperatures than either of those others.

This means that (A) a hide-glued joint -while *slightly* weaker than a Titebond joint- is easier to get loose when you need to take it back apart, and, (B) leaving your banjo, guitar, or what-have-you in your attic, the trunk of your car, or in direct sunlight in a black case on a hot day is *seriously* contra-indicated.

When it gets hot enough, the glue will soften up and then the string tension will try to pull the instrument apart.

~Pete

Deaf David - Posted - 07/18/2010:  15:32:42


My gut knotted up just reading about this!

I don't know how experienced you are at such repairs but a piece of advice I have received before might apply here: Paying for a professional repair job might be worth it if for no other reason than if it doesn't turn out right it should be guaranteed.

Whatever course you take, good luck with it. I know I my investment in a quality instrument was only justified because I considered it lifetime investment.

Frisco Fred - Posted - 07/18/2010:  20:25:02


quote:
Originally posted by Deaf Lester Crawdad

quote:
Originally posted by Frisco Fred

titebond.com

According to the titebond techs, one a former Martin Guitar assembler;

Adding water weakins the joint.
Titebond II has a higher tensile number, both hot and cold.
Hide glue melts with heat.

What's with the discrepancies?



They aren't discrepancies. They're engineering compromises.

1.) Diluting the glue significantly *would* weaken the joint. But getting the mating surfaces slightly moist (not "wet") before applying the glue allows the much-thicker-than-water Titebond to wick into every last recess and open grain pore available, and ends up creating a very strong glue joint that has 100% coverage: something that doesn't always happen otherwise.

2.) Ever hear "if it ain't broke don't fix it"? Titebond 1 is *plenty* strong enough for our purposes, I.E normally stronger than the wood you're gluing, and it doesn't present the cleanup problems that the other Titebond glues do. It also drys to a more-or-less neutral wood color that blends well and tends to hide the joint, and it can be sanded and finished over more easily than the other Titebond formulas. Lastly, a Titebond 1 joint can more easily be taken apart if that should prove to be needed at some point in the future.

A good repairguy's mantra is "Never do anything that can't be un-done."

3.) Hide glue *does* melt with heat. It's supposed to. So do most other glues, including both Titebond 1 and superglues: the difference being that hide glue softens up at lower temperatures than either of those others.

This means that (A) a hide-glued joint -while *slightly* weaker than a Titebond joint- is easier to get loose when you need to take it back apart, and, (B) leaving your banjo, guitar, or what-have-you in your attic, the trunk of your car, or in direct sunlight in a black case on a hot day is *seriously* contra-indicated.

When it gets hot enough, the glue will soften up and then the string tension will try to pull the instrument apart.

~Pete



Pete,

You are obviously an expert and a professional. As a professional, you went beyond the call of duty and helped out free of charge. Thanks for taking the time to answer my, perhaps simple question.

F.F.

desert rose - Posted - 07/18/2010:  22:06:21


The non-original formulations of Titebond do not cure as rigidly as the original. Without a rigid bond, there is some movement in the repaired area, if it is subjected to constant stress. In the area of the neck heel, the small amount of movement can make a difference in maintaining intonation and string action. I have not tested this personally. This is what many others have said.

We have tested this and MUCH more in strictly controlled test while at a major guitar factory working in engineering and you are quite correct

In our tests ( the results valued by Fender Ibanez and many others) hide glue was the consistant looser, Titebond Original the consistant winner of normal woodworking glues

Scott

Scott

Rowland - Posted - 07/24/2010:  20:46:13


Well, I followed your good advise and got my banjo back. The repair is not too noticeable and it plays just fine. I 'm also going to follow the advise of getting rid of the stand. Thanks again for all the great advise.



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