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Jun 28, 2019 - 5:00:16 AM

fxstb

USA

722 posts since 2/18/2003

Hello all
I’m looking for a top tension key to adjust the lug bolts
Anyone have one of where I could get one?
Thanks
George

Jun 28, 2019 - 5:11:40 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14265 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by fxstb

Hello all
I’m looking for a top tension key to adjust the lug bolts
Anyone have one of where I could get one?
Thanks
George


Give Bob Smakula a call and ask if he has one.

http://www.smakula.com/nbp.html

Jun 28, 2019 - 5:23:36 AM

Alex Z

USA

3559 posts since 12/7/2006
Online Now

What is needed is called a "drum key."  It's like a socket wrench for a square bolt head, which drums use also.

Here is one at Sweetwater:  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SC4244--gibraltar-standard-drum-key

Guitar Center carries several types.

Jun 28, 2019 - 6:36:02 AM

1279 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Alex Z

What is needed is called a "drum key."  It's like a socket wrench for a square bolt head, which drums use also.

Here is one at Sweetwater:  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SC4244--gibraltar-standard-drum-key

Guitar Center carries several types.


Standard drum keys are 1/4".
Gibson Top Tension bolts are typically 3/16" and the wrench must fit down into a 3/8" recess.
There have been other TT conversion kits over the years that utilized different bolt head sizes.
Clock winding keys come in many sizes, are readily available, and will do nicely. 

Jun 28, 2019 - 7:08:35 AM

Alex Z

USA

3559 posts since 12/7/2006
Online Now

Clock keys!  I forgot about those.

The top tension bolts on my Great Lakes (from the 1970s) are 1/4" square so it uses the standard drum key.  But the exterior of the key had to be ground down a bit to fit in the recess.

Jun 28, 2019 - 7:21:59 AM

2476 posts since 12/4/2009

Hello,

Measure first. Then call.

Jun 28, 2019 - 9:24:18 AM

153 posts since 11/13/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Aradobanjo

Hello,

Measure first. Then call.


Agreed. My 2 banjos each use a different size. If you have access to 1/4" drive standard and/or metric sockets or small wrenches, use them to determine what size you need. Or tell us what banjo model you have and folks can tell you what size.

Jun 28, 2019 - 11:44:17 AM

Alex Z

USA

3559 posts since 12/7/2006
Online Now

Top tension bolt heads are generally square (except for occasionally seen allen head ones like set screws).  Won't get the dimension from the nominal size of a hex socket that fits over the bolt.

Yet actually, a ruler is close enough.  It will be either 3/16" as Mr. Oldtwanger says, or occasional 1/4".

You want to see tools?  Should have taken a look in my Great Lakes case when I was playing out with it regularly. Different size wrenches for:

  -- arm rest

  -- Keith tuners

  -- co-rods

  -- nut for tail piece bolt

  -- adjustment screws for tail piece

  -- top tension bolts - square

Plus

 -- 2 screwdrivers -- tiny one for Shubb capo screws, one for 5th string button screw

  -- small allen wrench to put through the hole in the co-rods when adjusting.

Never know when you might have to field strip the banjo and rebuild it.  smiley  Maybe Snap-On could market a set of tools for banjo, in a nice leather bag.

Jun 28, 2019 - 2:19:02 PM

138 posts since 12/16/2014

#12 clock key works

Jun 29, 2019 - 3:27:35 AM

384 posts since 3/26/2006

Here's where you can buy any size Key you need. Great company to deal with :-) 

https://www.clockworks.com/clock-parts/clock-keys.html

Edited by - AmericanMadeBanjo on 06/29/2019 03:28:05

Jun 29, 2019 - 8:04:27 AM

Alex Z

USA

3559 posts since 12/7/2006
Online Now

There are two "sizing" standards for clock keys:  Swiss and American.  Still have to measure the bolt head, and then find the measurement of the key that will fit.

For example, #12 key in Swiss is 5.25 mm which is about .207 inches, but #12 in American is 4.8 mm which is .189 inches, which will fit on a 3/16 = .1875 bolt head.  The Swiss #12 will be too large.  

Here is a size chart for both Swiss and American:  http://anbcollectibles.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=16

Jun 29, 2019 - 6:02:33 PM

fxstb

USA

722 posts since 2/18/2003

Thanks all for the info, all good! The top tension hoop I got from you Tom is finally coming to life!

Jun 29, 2019 - 6:37:04 PM

2293 posts since 12/18/2004

George I got your message about getting the top tension key.
The one I am needing for your pot is the small square size.
Which size did you order?
Don Bryant NC banjo luthier

Jul 4, 2019 - 3:10:35 AM

fxstb

USA

722 posts since 2/18/2003

Hopefully the right one..from Greg Boyd

Jul 7, 2019 - 1:52:02 PM

fxstb

USA

722 posts since 2/18/2003

Sorry Don....this is a cluster.. I should have had this all set beforehand, Measure twice cut once...

Jul 7, 2019 - 6:21:09 PM

2293 posts since 12/18/2004

quote:
Originally posted by fxstb

Sorry Don....this is a cluster.. I should have had this all set beforehand, Measure twice cut once...


No problem George......I ordered one this afternoon that has 5 sizes on one key and it was less than 10.00 shipped to my shop so we are good to go!

Don B

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