Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

252
Banjo Lovers Online


 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Banjo Building, Setup, and Repair
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Bamboo flooring for banjo necks with unjoined pegheads.


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: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/392857

Page: 1  2  

Helix - Posted - 09/16/2023:  08:10:59


Really good banjos set up well and are easy on the carpal tunnel so you don't have to injure yourself to get the emotion out of the heart.

It's a pleasure to find one that you can push on like a fine race car and it won't spin out no matter how hard you try.

That's the tell in my opinion.



So for making your own neck , I suggest buying a box or two of VERTICAL bamboo flooring. The HORIZONTAL flooring is not worth anything but nice jigs. IT ONLY HAS A FIVE-PIECE presentation. If it expands at all it does so vertically always. It is unfit for necks.



But the VERTICAL has FIFTEEN pieces locked up in one piece and always expands vertically until you stack three pieces after planing the finish off the top to rotate it 90 degrees to make a banjo neck, then it only expands sideways, ever!.  With research and interest, I have left the Jackrabbit #001 out in my Arizona shop in winter and summer since 2009 without issue,  no warping, no banjo case, just sitting around in heat and winter dryness and cold.  The plastic epoxy joined pieces and lacquered neck have suffered my arthritis, but nothing else.  So I feel confident that rainwater can destroy this flooring when left in the weather because it does.  Otherwise various parts of the country have not reported any warranty issues with bamboo necks.  



My first bamboo neck was made in 2009. I used a piece of Jatoba flooring for the wooden truss rod. The piece is stood up on end like the STAMM and Harmony banjo necks. It is non-adjustable and gives a SOLID PEGHEAD without the need for a truss rod cover. Jatoba twisting makes propellors. But straight Jatoba is very straight for a long time (since 2009). 

One other neck as shown has an Jatoba truss rod.  All the other bamboo necks I have marketed have used a StewMac two-way truss rod for possible adjustments. I've had no neck warranty issues and there are 7 other ones out there.

I also do not use a stacked heel.  Mine are solid heels as shown in the photo. 



The bamboo was the first neck I made using a slotted Rosewood fingerboard from StewMac AND it HAS played accurately ever since with #147 fretwire. 

Bamboo needs respirator care for you, but it cuts and works very finely and agreeably and friendly and easy.



I used a shadow template from a teflon baking sheets joined with clear shipping tape.  Cut with razor or scissors.  Simple



I used a piece of walnut for the top cap and back cap.  



I use straight pieces for the ears and bamboo bridges make very nice music.



I trimmed the tongue in groove off before gluing up the solid beam. a Single piece of flooring sounds not musical but the three pieces of flooring glued together suddenly have a beautiful bamboo knock note. Three pieces of flooring are not enough to make the 3" needed to make a good neck blank. 4 pieces is unnecessary waste.   One would need to add some "hips" to the beam at the back end of the neck. Otherwise it's a fine way to learn how to make a good playing neck that will last and give weatherproof enjoyment because of the epoxy used to join the bamboo strips together. !! 



I used Titebond ONE to glue with just for research, no issues with my neck, nor none reported.  If one wants to use epoxy with bamboo, I would test a sample with experienced wisdom first.  I am re-directing the intended purpose of this flooring, not rescuing anything.  Mixing and matching toxic chemicals is not my intention nor opinion.



I use the two Japanese dragon rasps I bought, but later I have acquired the best Nichols(on) USA rasps.  I like to hog my own necks and I veer away from the Mahogany neck production videos on U-doob because of so much set up and sawdust waste.

Please note several necks can be made inexpensively from a single box of flooring, like cost effectively. Cheating the myth and urban nature of banjo thinking, 



Also note these bamboo pieces are joined with epoxy and pressurized and joined with enough heat to permanently join the pieces in a fine amber color. This heating never affects the strength of the bamboo nor cooks the sugar in the giant grass to carmelize it. The darkening was done after research and again never affects the strength. The beautiful blond flooring was discontinued. It looks just like blond Maple. And blond Maple looks like fine banjos. Bamboo sands, stains and finishes and plays just like real banjos do. It pisses some people off because they didn't think of it.  Oops,  I think the commoners like me need a good merit badge banjo.  They call us garagistas, I am one.  

 



Bamboo is sustainable and gives an annual crop until there is a die off. Genus and Species can be researched. The Chinese are very good at exporting material that can and could be grown at these latitudes domestically, just like the hemp we import to make the best rope for industrial, farming and nautical purposes. ( Many Marijuana growers with permits are going broke because of the greed for CBD. The best use of Marijuana is Hempen rope [Benjamin Franklin's kite string] and Paper for copy machines. It takes less water and less land to grow a seven fold increase. Younger lions will utilize these resources more responsibly.



The reasoning for me came from my own childhood where we had an old RCA Victrola in the attic that needed a needle to work again so we could play a new copy of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autrey. This was in 1952 when post war phonograph needles were .15 for one Sapphire needle.

BUT you could get 3 Bamboo needles for .15!!!  That's all we could afford, so we found they play very well for a little while.  The old 78's play just fine, but RCAs had planned obsolescence even back then.  The Edisons go up and down, not back and forth so they never wear out.  Duuuuude!



I do not need to flip and rotate the flooring pieces because there are 45 laminations in the stable necks.  One can flip and rotate if one wants to.  Otherwise bamboo flooring which is joined epoxy pieces and not "real" bamboo as previously criticized just for the nick of it is just fine and stains and finishes to perfection.



I suggest not using any superglue anywhere in the construction of  bamboo necks at all.  It is not worth the trouble.  I don't use it anywhere in bamboo neck construction.  



 


Edited by - Helix on 09/16/2023 08:31:41




JDE4570 - Posted - 09/16/2023:  12:00:28


This is interesting! Do you have a picture of it stained dark brown?

Leslie R - Posted - 09/16/2023:  14:07:15


This is huge !
Totally fascinating topic:

Helix - Posted - 09/16/2023:  14:46:27


Correction: 3 Bamboo needles cost .05!!! That was what we could afford.



1.

JDE4570 No, I didn't take photos at the time. I'm not as good as an instructor, but constructing suits me better. Sanding exposes the fibers.



2.

Leslie R Thanks, I waited to show how reliable and fun these are. Two of these necks were installed for one person, one a Koa rim, the other on a Mango rim and they and the inlays are still intact.  I always remembered how there could be something that could be sharpened like to a phonograph needle.  This literally led me in 2009 to buy boxes of Bamboo flooring because it doesn't come in a veneered construction like the wasteful ROSEWOOD flooring!  Hickory flooring also comes raw lumber.  The Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry is not even Genus Prunus.)  is a blade burner and comes much thinner, thus the skunk stripes and truss rod covers and bridges and fingerboards.  Lumber Liquidators may have gone out, and they didn't allow returns , but I bought a box of Jatoba flooring for $8.97 .  I could have had a box of "returned" IPE which is described as Brazilian Walnut.  I wish I had taken that box for something like $80.


Edited by - Helix on 09/16/2023 14:56:48

Helix - Posted - 09/16/2023:  17:37:38


Lumber liquidators has reorganized but Bamboo is still available. Hickory, too

martyjoe - Posted - 09/16/2023:  20:00:47


One big vote for bamboo. As you know I make banjos from bamboo. I recently replaced the bridge on my tenor viola with a bamboo one and it works brilliantly. You can also make great sounding tone-rings from it. One thing worth mentioning is that it has a very high tensile strength so it is good for reinforcing necks without having to compromise any tone.

Leslie R - Posted - 09/16/2023:  20:59:35


I’ve made bridges from so many different woods, I’ve lost count.
I have not tried bamboo, but I am impressed by two individuals indicating very positive results.
I’m going to have a try, but I might have to hold off several weeks, due to recent surgery on my right hand.
I’m anxious to try it out.

Helix - Posted - 09/17/2023:  06:28:12


Thank you, Marty and Leslie, I'm glad to see this because we can grow it again next year. Panda food.
I especially like the bamboo tone ring idea and usage.
The Jackrabbit #001 uses a rolled brass tone ring and weighs in at 5 lbs.



 

Leslie R - Posted - 09/17/2023:  06:57:04


So far, I see bamboo makes for great necks, bridges, tone rings, and is remarkably stable.

The manner in which it is manufactured for flooring provides incredible structural integrity.

Is the strength along its vertical axis, similar to a length of a wood board? In other words, if the right kind of force was applied, would it split, like a piece of wood would split with the grain?

Or, would it resist splitting altogether, like a sheet of plywood?


Edited by - Leslie R on 09/17/2023 06:59:05

wizofos - Posted - 09/17/2023:  07:37:55


I bought a box of Jatoba for about $8 a box and the idea was to use it for fret boards and skunk stripes. I found that it was finished with aluminum oxide which is really hard and chews up planer blades like running a piece of steel plate through your planer.
Anyway I tried paint remover and a few other ideas then found 40 grit sanding belts with ceramic grit for my bench sander.
This is the same product that floor refinishing contractors use but is is hard to find belts that will fit a 4" sander. I did find them on Amazon and they take the aluminum oxide without chewing up planer blades. The ceramic grit actually gets rougher as you use it. 6 of these belts are less than half the price of a set of planer blades.
Jatoba is twice as hard as black walnut. 2600 vs 1010

RBuddy - Posted - 09/17/2023:  07:59:58


I'm all for using new and better materials but when I make selections, there needs to be good reason. So, looking at bamboo for banjos, I have questions maybe you guys can help with. How is the bamboo you guys are using manufactured? Is it the same process used in flooring?, Bamboo cut in strips, dried, and resin/epoxy glued under high heat and pressure into a "board"? How much of the final product is glue vs natural grass fiber? Is bamboo in "board form" a natural or manufactured product?

Looking into bamboo flooring a little, several sites mention this - "Since bamboo is grass, humidity affects it more severely than it does hardwood flooring." Neck woods are usually selected to have low reaction to humidity.

I wonder how true environmental claims in favor of bamboo over wood are. Bamboo and trees grow in nature. Both are dried. But bamboo requires significant post growth manufacturing - additional heat, pressure, and glue to be transformed it into a material suitable to banjo making.

Does a bamboo banjo look better than one made from mahogany, maple, walnut or cherry? Since bamboo must be glued up into a neck blank from pieces is there any cost advantage to bamboo over traditional banjo woods? How many people prefer the look of bamboo over wood?

After looking at bamboo properties I'm left with major questions like, what makes it better than wood and why use it for banjos? Maybe you guys can help me out.

Even as an experiment in materials use, bamboo banjos are interesting, not sure it will be a trend in banjo sales.

Thanks

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/17/2023:  08:13:46


Bamboo is truly an amazing material, and has never really been used in the musical instrument  business to the extent it could and should be.

I believe the possibilites are endless and bamboo is inexpensive and completely sustainable— it’s just a matter of consumer acceptance.



It has achieved acceptance for flooring , cutting boards , salad bowls and various laminated products in this country.



The largest bamboo species in the world is Dendrocalamus sinicus, which can grow up to 46 m in height and up to 37 cm in diameter, which is a 14 inch diameter.  A length of bamboo 11” or 12” in diameter could be sliced into 2 1/2“ -3” slices and made into one-piece banjo rims— I am surprised nobody has ever done that (of course it couldn’t be patented).



Here are just a couple of pictures of uses of bamboo from suppliers back when I was working on a bamboo project.  I wasn’t thinking about banjos at the time.



You can see how banjo rims could be made from it pretty easily, especially since it can grow to a 14" diameter.



Here's a laminated cutting board that has been artfully profiled like a 3D terrain map



This is a piece of playground equipment, but in countries where bamboo is grown large scaffolding for high rise building construction is often bamboo lashed together, bearing the weight of men and materials, like steel scaffolds are here.



 



It's a truly amazing material!


Edited by - Ken LeVan on 09/17/2023 08:15:23

martyjoe - Posted - 09/17/2023:  10:21:11


quote:

Originally posted by Leslie R

So far, I see bamboo makes for great necks, bridges, tone rings, and is remarkably stable.

The manner in which it is manufactured for flooring provides incredible structural integrity.

Is the strength along its vertical axis, similar to a length of a wood board? In other words, if the right kind of force was applied, would it split, like a piece of wood would split with the grain?

Or, would it resist splitting altogether, like a sheet of plywood?






The bamboo that I use will split like wood and will split easier than wood, but it performs better on bridges with vertical grain even without a horizontal piece to cap the bridge. I use vertical stacked bamboo that comes in 8' by 4' sheets. It is 6mm thick. I believe it is also available in 9mm. Anything above 9mm is made with cross plyed layers. I also use a different type of bamboo which is strand woven called tiger striped. It also comes in 8' by 4' by 6mm sheets. The tiger striped is much heavier and stronger than the plainer vertical stacked bamboo but not as resonant a tone wood as the vertical stacked. What drew me initially to bamboo is the fact that it doesn't need to be seasoned. I can buy it bring it home and use it straight away. I don't have space for storing timber & waiting years for it to dry! The type that I use has very good dimensional stability I think it is glued with formeldihide (spell check). It is 'very' hard on tools ie; blunts chisels and blades very quickly. I usually finish it with tru-oil and or osmo hardwax oil it comes out great. End grain runout is actually very attractive with the vertical stacked bamboo so I make it into a feature. People regularly comment on how beautiful it looks. There is a definite ignorance to the benefits of bamboo and a lot of players still won't take it seriously & opt to buy traditional tonewoods even after being blown away by the tone of bamboo. It just takes time to change people's perceptions. I hope this helps. Marty 






Leslie R - Posted - 09/17/2023:  10:29:45


That is a gorgeous banjo.
I’d like to hear it.

Fathand - Posted - 09/17/2023:  15:30:30


quote:

Originally posted by wizofos

I bought a box of Jatoba for about $8 a box and the idea was to use it for fret boards and skunk stripes. I found that it was finished with aluminum oxide which is really hard and chews up planer blades like running a piece of steel plate through your planer.

Anyway I tried paint remover and a few other ideas then found 40 grit sanding belts with ceramic grit for my bench sander.

This is the same product that floor refinishing contractors use but is is hard to find belts that will fit a 4" sander. I did find them on Amazon and they take the aluminum oxide without chewing up planer blades. The ceramic grit actually gets rougher as you use it. 6 of these belts are less than half the price of a set of planer blades.

Jatoba is twice as hard as black walnut. 2600 vs 1010






Cut the jatoba with a bandsaw and put the prefinished side on the bottom? A 1/2 " thick piece should yield two, 3/16" thick boards.

Helix - Posted - 09/17/2023:  16:17:29


Rbuddy too many questions of a negative? Please start your own because I’ve already stated this is not repurposing

Yes any pergo floor that is bamboo and gets wet gets replaced

So do the wasteful Rosewood ones



Ken I have had the bamboo book from the whole earth catalog since then. I made pure beeswax candles and used bamboo that I traded for trivets, candleholders, napkin rings and expandable wall cup holders



Tony Pass and Larry Hill have previously published the rejection of vertical grain for any block or brick type construction.

vertical bamboo from the raw stalk is too unstable and dries out too quickly when the sectional barrier is removed like for drinking ladles



But the uses of bamboo are just glorious in their utility and simplicity with reliable strength.



I choose vertical flooring which is epoxy infused to a pressure temperature threshold that made even blond possible but discontinued due to lack of interest



The Amber color is the only one now available



 



I know I mentioned it to make for good  bamboo construction but)



Stripes and other reinforcement isn’t necessary with bamboo necks. Other than adjustable truss rods and solid pegheads and heels

Thus the solid Jatoba truss rod

Just to see if it would work and it has so far


Edited by - Helix on 09/17/2023 16:32:57

RBuddy - Posted - 09/17/2023:  19:02:31


Quotes from Larry - "Rbuddy too many questions of a negative? Please start your own because I’ve already stated this is not repurposing"

And earlier - "So for making your own neck , I suggest buying a box or two of VERTICAL bamboo flooring."

Sorry, somehow I got the silly idea from the title and the OPs first post we were talking about making necks and getting the bamboo from flooring since flooring was mentioned numerous times as a source early on. For some reason it did sound like repurposing flooring to me, though I didn't call it that.

I think it's still fair to ask legit questions on the BHO. In my experience when you ask questions and don't get answers, well, that's kind of an answer.

I'll save my other questions about how a heel made of some 30 pieces of bamboo glued together isn't stacked, you just can't figure everything out in a day!

Helix - Posted - 09/17/2023:  20:04:27


Take it easier, It's 45 laminations, a long neck could catch a fish of size and nutrient and not break.

Too much legit is not reading well on purpose. Not glued, Epoxied but not entirely embued to the marrow, cured while pressurized and heated at the same time. they could make this dark brown without any loss of strength until other threshholds; but nobody wanted it globally. The 15 lamination vertical flooring exposes lots more fiber to work stain and finish into. The horizontal is only 5 laminations which split more easily as noted with raw bamboo lengths.



Make one, 11" or 12", I won't be pursuing that at all.  I miss the antique-looking blond bamboo because they sound so good, there is only one amber.  



Understand the unintended advantage of only expanding sideways instead of up and down,  please read more closely, please don't cover up and cloud that unique accident.  Please and thank you. 



Repurposing would be used flooring scraps and such, Re-directing the purpose of the item is like rubber bumper mountain bike suspensions from farm equipment off the shelf.  Pl & TY

Helix - Posted - 09/17/2023:  20:44:49


And Marty's weigh very little for the gain. MORE MUSIC PER POUND.

Helix - Posted - 09/18/2023:  09:36:26


Marty, I'm sorry about the extra danger and expense of blade burning material



keep up the good work 



do you have any more info about your necks? Everyone else is drifting on purpose 


Edited by - Helix on 09/18/2023 09:41:16



 

awildman - Posted - 09/18/2023:  10:19:14


Please expand on this "grain" expansion/stability. To my knowledge, bamboo is crushed and pressurized to get it into its lumber form. There is no grain direction to my knowledge. And wouldn't the bonding agent (epoxy?) limit moisture exchange? I would tend to think that there is almost no expansion at all, and what expansion exists would be relative to the thickness. For example, I would suggest that for a 1x2 piece of lumber, the expansion would be twice as much on the 2 inch as on the 1 inch side.

I am trying to see how there could be zero expansion one direction and some the other direction. With the relatively uniform grain direction, how could there not be expansion both laterally and vertically?

awildman - Posted - 09/18/2023:  10:25:40


quote:

Originally posted by Ken LeVan

Bamboo is truly an amazing material, and has never really been used in the musical instrument  business to the extent it could and should be.

I believe the possibilites are endless and bamboo is inexpensive and completely sustainable— it’s just a matter of consumer acceptance.



It has achieved acceptance for flooring , cutting boards , salad bowls and various laminated products in this country.



The largest bamboo species in the world is Dendrocalamus sinicus, which can grow up to 46 m in height and up to 37 cm in diameter, which is a 14 inch diameter.  A length of bamboo 11” or 12” in diameter could be sliced into 2 1/2“ -3” slices and made into one-piece banjo rims— I am surprised nobody has ever done that (of course it couldn’t be patented).



Here are just a couple of pictures of uses of bamboo from suppliers back when I was working on a bamboo project.  I wasn’t thinking about banjos at the time.



You can see how banjo rims could be made from it pretty easily, especially since it can grow to a 14" diameter.



Here's a laminated cutting board that has been artfully profiled like a 3D terrain map



This is a piece of playground equipment, but in countries where bamboo is grown large scaffolding for high rise building construction is often bamboo lashed together, bearing the weight of men and materials, like steel scaffolds are here.



 



It's a truly amazing material!






Bamboo cutting boards and flooring is stabilized with their bonding agents.  Bamboo flutes tend to crack a lot.  For non-traditional uses like banjo rim, you would have to stabilize it before use. 



 



My wife has a bamboo ukulele.  Works just fine.  It utilizes stabilized lumber, and has zero humidity problems.  Tonewise, it is a little quiet, yet bright.  I have no other experience with bamboo instruments to compare playing characteristics. 

Helix - Posted - 09/18/2023:  10:31:53


Thanks, Aaron, yes there is the fiber stood up on its edge and the fibers laying flat in planks. IF the bamboo expands at all and there is little opportunity if in a banjo case and cared for. Thus the use of vertical in all my endeavors with Bamboo flooring except jigs as noted.
So you are correct about zero if little expansion. Then the use of finishing on necks whether lacquer, beeswax or boiled Linseed oil, my #001 since 2009 hasn't received additional lacquer but is showing signs of being taken around Phoenix without a case. I have a Rosewood fingerboard and flat bar tone ring @ 5 lbs. So she needs some maintenance, other than that, it's an enjoyable vehicle that won't spin out.

Not one person has even mentioned bamboo splinters or splintering.
In this format, as noted, only use good respiratory protection and goggle eyewear to keep dust off of eyelashes and eyebrows.

The Ladles they make out of a stalk are not even joined at the handle, but simply put in the water and swell shut forever, no glue to drink and the natural wax coated bamboo giant grass resists mold and other fungus but not forever. The ladles are made from a single section of a 3" stalk it looks like.

Thanks for questioning. Bamboo doesn't act like lumber.

Helix - Posted - 09/18/2023:  12:58:54


Ken this isn’t about rims and quiet tone. Let’s continue on this posted path for a while. Please and thank you.


Edited by - Helix on 09/18/2023 12:59:28

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/18/2023:  13:36:15


quote:

Originally posted by Helix

Ken this isn’t about rims and quiet tone. Let’s continue on this posted path for a while. Please and thank you.






Larry, I didn't say that it was about rims—awildman reposted some earlier pictures of bamboo things, which were germane to the discussion, and was asking  you to expand on "grain" expansion/stability."   He said "To my knowledge, bamboo is crushed and pressurized to get it into its lumber form. There is no grain direction to my knowledge. And wouldn't the bonding agent (epoxy?) limit moisture exchange? I would tend to think that there is almost no expansion at all, and what expansion exists would be relative to the thickness. For example, I would suggest that for a 1x2 piece of lumber, the expansion would be twice as much on the 2 inch as on the 1 inch side.



I am trying to see how there could be zero expansion one direction and some the other direction. With the relatively uniform grain direction, how could there not be expansion both laterally and vertically?"




We would both like to hear your thoughts on that— I don't get it either.



How narrowly focused does a thread have to be"before you start crying "drift"?  I have other questions to ask about bamboo necks, which I will if I may.


Edited by - Ken LeVan on 09/18/2023 13:39:28

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/18/2023:  14:11:14


This is a very fascinating subject, as I have long thought that bamboo is an underused material for banjos, but  really never explored it myself as I am fortunate to live in the middle of a large and sustainable hardwood forest, so don’t have the need to buy wood for banjo necks and rims.  Maple,cherry, walnut, birch, etc. work for me. but bamboo is certainly intriguing



It’s nice to see that Larry and Marty are exploring ways to use it, and to share the information.  Marty has eliminated the peghead joint altogether in his designs.  Marty’s banjos are of a truly outside--the-box-design with every component being some innovation, from fan-frets on down, and bamboo is used in numerous ways, exploring many many “directions”  literally and figuratively.



Back to the subject of the thread, the idea of a multi-laminated or “stacked” neck is very reminiscent of some Scandinavian furniture. It looks as if the playing part of Larry’s neck is made of 9 individual pieces glued together with the grain going in the same direction.  Not being familiar with bamboo, it’s good to get some more info.



Larry, looking at the end view of your heel, saying it's not "stacked" makes it seem as if you are equating an engineered lamination of 42 or more strips of bamboo made by gluing together three floorboards as one single piece of wood rather than a lamination of many little pieces—this is confusing.  I would call it a lamination.



I have other questions related to this thread:



(1) Larry, when you say “unjoined pegheads”,  could you elaborate a little bit?  The picture of your peghead looks like the grain of the peghead itself follows the peghead angle—is that an “ear”?  If so, the inherent “weak spot” at the peghead / neck juncture is reinforced by the backstrap and peghead veneer, the center section of the joint is the multi-layered neck itself.  Am I seeing that right?  If so, do you find that the 10-or so 3-piece segments with diagonal “scarf joints”  that make up the peghead center qualify as a "single piece"?. —that’s a lot of joints and small parts to call an “unjoined ” construction.  I don’t believe it is an unjoined construction, but I consider scarf-jointed "joined" construction to be superior to "one-piece" anyway, so I'm only taking issue with your misrepresentation of the construction to make it seem as if it's something it's not which creates confusion.



(2) Larry, could you share the source of the information you posted that Bamboo flooring is laminated with epoxy?  I can’t find that anywhere—epoxy would be outrageously expensive and have a long cure cycle for mass production.   I’m reading that melamine, formaldehyde, and phenolic glues, all pretty dangerous industrial stuff, normally used for plywood and OSB are what is normally used for bamboo flooring, as no acceptable “bio-glue” has been found.  Anyway, where can I find the thing about epoxy being used to make bamboo flooring?



(3) Does anyone have any information about the gluing characteristics of bamboo end grain vs side grain vs face grain, and is it possible to tell face from side?



(4) My understanding of a “stacked heel” is that the heel is made of one or several pieces glued to the bottom of the neck to increase the thickness.

Why is this not a “stacked heel”?



Anyway— interesting thread.

 

martyjoe - Posted - 09/18/2023:  14:22:02


awildman there is a grain in bamboo it runs just like timber. It’s been a long time since I read the specs on it but it does have an expansion and contraction rate but it is very small. Much less than any timber to my knowledge. I’m only referring the bamboo that I use. There are some bamboo products that have a high expansion rate particularly in the lower quality flooring products. I once saw some bamboo cutting boards in the local supermarket going cheaply so I bought some to try out for banjo bridges. They turned out to be mediocre. So you do need to be careful with what you buy if you’re making musical instruments with it.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/18/2023:  14:30:34


quote:

Originally posted by martyjoe

awildman there is a grain in bamboo it runs just like timber. It’s been a long time since I read the specs on it but it does have an expansion and contraction rate but it is very small. Much less than any timber to my knowledge. I’m only referring the bamboo that I use. There are some bamboo products that have a high expansion rate particularly in the lower quality flooring products. I once saw some bamboo cutting boards in the local supermarket going cheaply so I bought some to try out for banjo bridges. They turned out to be mediocre. So you do need to be careful with what you buy if you’re making musical instruments with it.






Marty,



Do you use the panel material that comes in 4" x 8' sheets?  I think that's different from flooring.  I have several cutting boards that I made from a sheet of that and they have stood up under being scrubbed every day—can't say the same for a shallow bowl I have that came apart at some seams.

martyjoe - Posted - 09/18/2023:  14:43:56


quote:

Originally posted by Helix

Marty, I'm sorry about the extra danger and expense of blade burning material



keep up the good work 



do you have any more info about your necks? Everyone else is drifting on purpose 






Here's a few pics. The lighter colour is the stacked bamboo and the darker is the stronger strand woven bamboo. As you can see the 3 center pieces carry through the pot and finish just short of the tone ring at the tailpiece end. This design adds a lot of resonance to the neck and a big part of why the the banjo doesn't have a headstock! It actually works much better without a headstock. 









 

martyjoe - Posted - 09/18/2023:  14:54:25


quote:

Originally posted by Ken LeVan

quote:

Originally posted by martyjoe

awildman there is a grain in bamboo it runs just like timber. It’s been a long time since I read the specs on it but it does have an expansion and contraction rate but it is very small. Much less than any timber to my knowledge. I’m only referring the bamboo that I use. There are some bamboo products that have a high expansion rate particularly in the lower quality flooring products. I once saw some bamboo cutting boards in the local supermarket going cheaply so I bought some to try out for banjo bridges. They turned out to be mediocre. So you do need to be careful with what you buy if you’re making musical instruments with it.






Marty,



Do you use the panel material that comes in 4" x 8' sheets?  I think that's different from flooring.  I have several cutting boards that I made from a sheet of that and they have stood up under being scrubbed every day—can't say the same for a shallow bowl I have that came apart at some seams.






Yes. But 4' by 8' sheets by 6mm thick of both varieties. They aren't very strong across the grain but super strong along the grain. One interesting thing that I tried to do was to steam it for bending and the join's just fell apart so I imagine that the glue doesn't like heat or maybe heat and moisture. 

Helix - Posted - 09/18/2023:  15:33:34


Ken. You drift on purpose repeatedly
Please and thank you find another way to express yourself with me
I have often invited you to contact me off forum. You haven’t and that too is a message. Pictures of cutting boards are not on subject
Moderate you to the reporters

Again bamboo flooring isn’t raw bamboo and this thread isn’t about rims so don’t scatter on purpose
Pl & TY

Helix - Posted - 09/18/2023:  15:43:45


The flooring comes in
5/8” x 4” x 48” pieces with tongue in groove and finish on one side

I stack three blank bamboo planks to make two nestled necks using a simple shadow template

I could cut individual pieces thinner but it would make more dust
These neck beams have a great knock note or tap tone as stated and the bandsaw cuts them accurately as one can see from the photo

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/18/2023:  15:50:48


quote:

Originally posted by Helix

Ken. You drift on purpose repeatedly

Please and thank you find another way to express yourself with me

I have often invited you to contact me off forum. You haven’t and that too is a message. Pictures of cutting boards are not on subject

Moderate you to the reporters



Again bamboo flooring isn’t raw bamboo and this thread isn’t about rims so don’t scatter on purpose

Pl & TY






Why is addressing what you say directly and asking questions a drift? 

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/18/2023:  15:55:44


quote:

Originally posted by martyjoe

quote:

Originally posted by Ken LeVan

quote:

Originally posted by martyjoe

awildman there is a grain in bamboo it runs just like timber. It’s been a long time since I read the specs on it but it does have an expansion and contraction rate but it is very small. Much less than any timber to my knowledge. I’m only referring the bamboo that I use. There are some bamboo products that have a high expansion rate particularly in the lower quality flooring products. I once saw some bamboo cutting boards in the local supermarket going cheaply so I bought some to try out for banjo bridges. They turned out to be mediocre. So you do need to be careful with what you buy if you’re making musical instruments with it.






Marty,



Do you use the panel material that comes in 4" x 8' sheets?  I think that's different from flooring.  I have several cutting boards that I made from a sheet of that and they have stood up under being scrubbed every day—can't say the same for a shallow bowl I have that came apart at some seams.






Yes. But 4' by 8' sheets by 6mm thick of both varieties. They aren't very strong across the grain but super strong along the grain. One interesting thing that I tried to do was to steam it for bending and the join's just fell apart so I imagine that the glue doesn't like heat or maybe heat and moisture. 






Good for you for trying to steam-bend it. It would be very difficult to have any kind of glue joint hold up in a steam box.  I think your rim building method is a very good way to do it, and I absolutely love the way the heel transitions from the long strips in the neck to the end grain which matches the small blocks of the rim while the center stripes run vertically, and then the edge of the resonator. I remember you explaining  how you made those pie-section resonator disks.

Here’s a picture (I believe these were made in the Philippines) where they pressed a plate from a lamination of wide pieces, which seem to have been peeled from a round section like rotary cut veneer, vs a solid one made from strips and turned on a lathe. The pressed one split.



I think your method is superior.

martyjoe - Posted - 09/19/2023:  03:04:01


quote:

Originally posted by martyjoe

quote:

Originally posted by Helix

Marty, I'm sorry about the extra danger and expense of blade burning material



keep up the good work 



do you have any more info about your necks? Everyone else is drifting on purpose 






Here's a few pics. The lighter colour is the stacked bamboo and the darker is the stronger strand woven bamboo. As you can see the 3 center pieces carry through the pot and finish just short of the tone ring at the tailpiece end. This design adds a lot of resonance to the neck and a big part of why the the banjo doesn't have a headstock! It actually works much better without a headstock. 






 


Edited by - martyjoe on 09/19/2023 03:12:22





 

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/19/2023:  03:49:18


quote:

Originally posted by martyjoe






Here's a few pics. The lighter colour is the stacked bamboo and the darker is the stronger strand woven bamboo. As you can see the 3 center pieces carry through the pot and finish just short of the tone ring at the tailpiece end. This design adds a lot of resonance to the neck and a big part of why the the banjo doesn't have a headstock! It actually works much better without a headstock. 






 






The through-dowel design would help immensely with alignment as well as transfer of vibrations from the strings to the neck back to the pot.  I believe there are some solid body electric basses made that way, with a through neck, so the pickups and bridge are actually on the neck.



I am not familiar with the dark woven-strand bamboo. do you have a link for a source for that?  Also, do you use that for fingerboards?—it must be very hard.

martyjoe - Posted - 09/19/2023:  06:06:59


Ken LeVan yes the neck carry through helps with that vibration it makes a very pronounced difference on the shorter scale banjos where the balance is much better: hence the lack of a headstock. I get the bamboo from an importer/supplier in Dublin so I don’t know where he gets it from, sorry about that. I have looked up suppliers in China but they require a minimum order of $2500 US which after other fees (to the supplier), transport and import duties end up more substantial. Then there is the fact that $2500 buys a lot of bamboo and I don’t have anywhere to store it. Plus my turnover is not large enough for those quantities. I suggest that you find an importer and see if you can get get some on back of another order they’re making.



Larry is right. It makes seriously good banjos!


Edited by - martyjoe on 09/19/2023 06:09:20

martyjoe - Posted - 09/19/2023:  06:14:25


Oh yes, sorry I forgot. The fingerboard is bamboo. In fact the entire banjo is bamboo & the back is reinforced with a hemp fabric substitute for carbon fibre.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/19/2023:  07:55:05


quote:

Originally posted by martyjoe

Oh yes, sorry I forgot. The fingerboard is bamboo. In fact the entire banjo is bamboo & the back is reinforced with a hemp fabric substitute for carbon fibre.






Marty, Thanks! I really like the idea of the bamboo fingerboard—I'll see if I can find some of that dark material.   I think it would also make great center strips for regular wood necks due to its stiffness. I recall a thread you did showing that construction with the hemp fiber reinforcement which was quite amazing.



At this point, I have a  lot of wood, and I am not going to start making bamboo banjos, but it's a pleasure to follow the things you are doing, and get a window into your thought process. Your banjos are truly unique.

Helix - Posted - 09/19/2023:  11:04:58


And thank you Ken for contributing



 



ideally the bamboo could be batched at wholesale without dimensioning , fluting and finishing that would help a lot. Right to the loin beach, I mean Long Beach or loin view I mean Tacoma docks


Edited by - Helix on 09/19/2023 11:19:29

Helix - Posted - 09/19/2023:  11:12:40


That’s why the 4 boxes of blond flooring got used up so fast

One of them was Horizontal

Only 3 were vertical

The flooring is guaranteed for 10 years



I left scraps in the back of my open pickup in the rain and sun . and it weathered grayed cracked and split and warped just like all other hardwood scraps whether finished or not



Durable under all except museum situation

Unfortunately there are no bamboo carvings older than 400 years because they finally just pickle and degrade

Don’t we all? A little pickling is ok in moderation, but degrade needs more brakes!! Best of good humor to everyone and all


Edited by - Helix on 09/19/2023 11:15:39


awildman - Posted - 09/19/2023:  14:48:58


youtu.be/HyULcUZRKcw?si=8nxBviQ0UggfeOMN

This is a video of the making process. You can see the laminated strip panels being made, and after the 4 minute mark, you can see the fiber woven ones being made. Based on the processes I see, I would imagine that the quality of the manufacturing process, including materials, would determine the quality of the end product. I see no reason why either method would be intrinsically inferior to the other. At about 5 minute mark, you can see the fiber woven style. It is interesting to see the density of fibers that goes into the panel.

martyjoe - Posted - 09/19/2023:  16:29:47


Very interesting.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/19/2023:  16:50:28


Amazing!

wileypickett - Posted - 09/19/2023:  23:55:09


Yamaha has utilized bamboo in some of their instrument making:



Drums:



ebay.com/itm/374907950025?hash...9aWu5XWYg



And an acoustic guitar (all bamboo -- top, sides and neck):



ebay.com/itm/364261691576?hash...9iWu5XWYg



After it hit the market, the guitar was almost universally panned for sounding terrible. Yamaha discontinued it in short order.



When one turned up for sale on my local Craigslist a couple years ago (for no money), I couldn't resist.



It's a curious little critter for sure. Doesn't sound great, but doesn't sound awful either.



Glenn


Edited by - wileypickett on 09/19/2023 23:56:59

martyjoe - Posted - 09/20/2023:  00:46:28


quote:

Originally posted by wileypickett

Yamaha has utilized bamboo in some of their instrument making:



Drums:



ebay.com/itm/374907950025?hash...9aWu5XWYg



And an acoustic guitar (all bamboo -- top, sides and neck):



ebay.com/itm/364261691576?hash...9iWu5XWYg



After it hit the market, the guitar was almost universally panned for sounding terrible. Yamaha discontinued it in short order.



When one turned up for sale on my local Craigslist a couple years ago (for no money), I couldn't resist.



It's a curious little critter for sure. Doesn't sound great, but doesn't sound awful either.



Glenn






I remember reading some reviews on the bamboo guitar that Yamaha put out a good few years ago. It was by all accounts a very nice guitar. The only problem was that nobody would buy it. It probably was too far ahead of its time. 

Helix - Posted - 09/20/2023:  02:05:38


Aside:  (Yamaha is not known for Banjo building in general. I have the Yamaha 260 slothead 12-string guitar I bought with a twisted neck and lifted bridge. It was repaired and set up by Chuck Celino who tapered the fret dressing in master fashion and re glued the factory production bridge to absolute perfection so I can play a 12-string in standard pitch for the first time in my life. It's a marvel of music production in dreadnought form and it stays in tune in the case. Mahogany with Spruce top. The frets were new and ready for another fret job right after I catch the Westbound. I'l play this, the Takamine and the Recording King 12'sfor the rest of the trip. I have the '58 Kalamazoo Epiphone Texan since '64, the Epiphone Advanced Jumbo twin from 2009, it's the Rosewood laminate.



One would need to play in the bamboo guitar and let the bamboo do its job while vintaging faster than other materials. Phonograph needles.

My opinion is that you have a great sounding bass and mid-range guitar without the excessive highs, so start another thread and show us pictures of this beautiful project.



Aside:  (Wal-Mart markets the coolest Bamboo bicycle, a one speed.  There is a picture of an all bamboo Japanese wartime bike on the internet.



It's too late today, but tomorrow, I'll show photos of a twin Jatoba flooring striped Bamboo neck with the same heel as Marty Joe. 



 Once we keep this bridge open, then the information begins to flow so that we as a discussion group don't stagnate.  That's community.



I am glad for any openness to new ideas and methods.



The phonograph needles and one way direction of signal in Bamboo are unique.



Aside:  ( Pbs has a documentary of how the Incas gathered handsfull of mountain grass and twisted and wove them together to make cable that easily supported the weight of a loaded down Llama and pedestrians crossing over an impassable mountain gorge to keep from going around for miles.  The crew insisted on being paid in cash each day, but the women did most of the work.  The cable was strung across by first shooting an arrow with tiny lead line. 



It's hi tech with common materials.  



Bamboo scaffolding is common in Asian construction.



I'll be back with neck photos,  fiddlersdream.org is having the ductwork cleaned tomorrow after Covid  We still mask. KN95's



 


Edited by - Helix on 09/20/2023 02:11:52

awildman - Posted - 09/20/2023:  08:57:36


My wife has a bamboo ukulele. It has a bright, clear tone, yet is a little quiet. Without a larger sample size, I don't have a strong opinion regarding its voice. But the little uke is strong and durable.

Banjos rely on the head for voice, so the tonal characteristics of the pot and neck are less important than in guitars. This seems to make alternative materials more viable in banjos.

Carbon fiber guitars haven't really caught on, nor carbon fiber violins, or carbon fiber instruments in general in the western world. Not surprising that bamboo is in the same boat.

I'm not sure how eco-friendly bamboo is. Based on the processes in the video I posted, it has to have a pretty large carbon footprint. Bambo-based fabrics aren't really considered green, so I don't see how bamboo lumber is any better. Renewable doesn't necessarily mean clean or environmentally friendly.

I haven't done any pricing studies, but I believe bamboo lumber is not cheap. Not green and expensive vs renewable and cool? Lots of things to consider with alternative materials.

martyjoe - Posted - 09/20/2023:  10:37:32


awildman bamboo fabric is definitely not environmentally friendly but that is due to the chemicals that are used to process the fibre into a weave or cloth. That’s the whole reason why I chose to reinforce my banjos with hemp rather than bamboo fabric. Bamboo lumber is a different story but as you suggest it may? still have a high carbon footprint but maybe no higher than regular lumber. The advantage with bamboo apart from the product itself is the renewable nature of the way it grows and is harvested.
I’m wondering if your wife’s ukulele is over built like a lot of factory made instruments. Maybe if the sound board & bracing were just strong enough it may have more volume? As I recall there were no issues with the guitar that Yamaha built. I have a nice piece of bamboo set aside that I’ve planed down to 3mm to use as the sound board of a full size (6’ 2”) harp I’m building.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 09/20/2023:  11:41:29


One reason for the quiet sound of the ukulele may be that the top is too thick. 



In an article John Calkin wrote for the Guild of American Luthiers he said more woods than just spruce or cedar can be successfully used to make guitar tops, but they must be thicknessed to have the same bending curve or characteristic as spruce or cedar, Normally a spruce guitar top would be 2.5mm and a cedar one 3mm. Bamboo, because of it's greater stiffness would probably have to be thinner in order to be flexible enough. Many luthiers bend-test every piece of spruce and thickness it accordingly.  I'm sure bamboo is strong enough to be sanded very thin and that would improve the sound.



I think that bamboo as an alternative material for banjos is a kind of composite material because of the fact that it's many small pieces bonded together by some kind of adhesive, just like carbon fiber, and the percentage of adhesive is high.  The bonding is done in industrial operations in order to produce panels that can be used like larger pieces—you can see that in the videos.  It's a different kind of material than wood, even though it resembles wood in many ways.  Marty has developed ways to use it for banjo-making that take advantage of the way it's sold and manufactured—the form it's made in, rather than using it in exactly the same way you would use wood. i.e. a banjo made in an alternative way from an alternative material as opposed to a banjo made the same as you would make a wooden one, but from a wood-substitute if that makes any sense.  I think it's more than a wood-substitute, it's a different n material.



All alternative materials are slow to catch on and gain market acceptance, especially in a tradition-based area like musical instruments—there are a lot of hurdles to overcome, perception-wise.  The project I worked on with Dansk was making salad-bowl/ casserole /table top serving type items from bamboo, and while they were very nice looking, well made, and strong,  they weren't perceived to have the same quality as traditional wood in that market.



 


Edited by - Ken LeVan on 09/20/2023 11:46:29

Page: 1  2  

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Privacy Consent
Copyright 2024 Banjo Hangout. All Rights Reserved.





Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.1875