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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tubing for tunneled 5th

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Quickstep192 - Posted - 01/29/2019:  11:15:27

I was just on McMaster Carr shopping for tubing for a tunneled 5th. Man, what a selection!

Is it fair to say that 316 stainless is favored over 304?

Is it best to have the wall thickness as thick as possible while still letting the string pass?

Sort of in the same vein as the last question - What should the I.D. be?

How to prevent kinking where it makes the bend to exit the fretboard?

Sorry for all the Rookie questions. It's my first time tunneling.

steveh_2o - Posted - 01/29/2019:  11:43:58

My only advice is to minimize the curves anywhere possible. I have tried this twice. Both times I used a tube salvaged from a junk HVAC unit. Looks like copper but feels a lot harder than I would expect copper to be. It has about a .025 inner diameter. I'm sure stainless would be better if you can get the edges smooth.

The first one, I routed strait along the neck and ran the tube about "3/8 from the edge of the neck. I made maybe a "1 radius turn before the 5th then up at a pretty steep angle. It was prone to stick and drag. Hard to tune, broken strings... usually broke right where the string came out of the turn going toward the tuner, not coming out of the tube and over the fret where you would expect.

Second one I made a slow swinging curve with almost no angle into the fret-board (routing up into the fretboard) from the bottom. same tubing. Works pretty good.

sgsghbsdxbs - Posted - 01/29/2019:  15:30:22

Was going to suggest having a look at this topic but noticed you are the OP of that one as well.   In it is a good photo of Rudy's exit on the peghead and that he suggest that there should only be one bend.

Zachary Hoyt - Posted - 01/29/2019:  15:49:46

Here's a link to the tubing I bought.

I'll be happy to send you a length if you'd like, just PM me your address. I have used it on four banjos to date. so I have used two lengths and have eight left, since each one is enough for two banjos.  It is not prone to kink easily, I just bend it by hand and have not had it kink yet.  The OD is about 1/16" and that is the size drill bit I use to make the holes at either end.  Here's a link to an old page with a couple of close up pictures of the ends of the tube on my first one.  I now run the tube a little lower in the neck, but either way works fine.  I don't think the wall thickness is critical, I tend to think that having a little bit of extra room in the tube for the string to slide more easily is probably a good thing, but I don't know.  


Alec Cramsie - Posted - 01/29/2019:  16:27:53

I used a piece of bicycle brake cable with the inside stuff removed. It was easy to install because it was flexible enough to follow the routed channel.

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