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Jun 28, 2019 - 7:32:32 PM
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52153 posts since 12/14/2005

I have WAAAYYYY more ten-inch drum heads than I need, so I don't care if I end up wasting one or two.
But I thought MAYBE someone else has already tried this.

Since I'm just trying to make a very inexpensive banjo, I figured I'd try eliminate the tension hoop and J hooks.

My idea is to clamp the head really tight, using woodworker clamps and a plywood ring.

The ring will have notches on the BOTTOM, so that I can get through there with little nails, which will go through the mylar, right above the aluminum flesh hoop.

I figure that a pin every half inch, would hold the head nice and tight, after I remove the plywood rings.
Won't need hooks, shoes, or tension band.

Any body try anything similar?
And with what results?

I'll give it a try, late Saturday afternoon, unless somebody has data with which to discourage me.

Jun 29, 2019 - 4:41:12 AM
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1853 posts since 4/7/2010

Mike,

A college age friend of mine was inspired to make a banjo with a 3-D printed rim. His boss encouraged that bit of tom-foolery as a training exercise. My friend calculated that at shop rates the rim would have cost a customer about $800.

But how did we attach the head? we tacked and glued it on and it is holding up fine after 2 years.

To stretch the Remo head we made two ply wood tension hoops. One to fit on the bottom of the rim and one to push the head down. 3" drywall screws went from the top to the bottom of these plywood parts and tighten the head nicely. To keep the tension we drilled holes about every 1/2" for #17 (I think) nails. We drilled the holes through the aluminum. I think going through the mylar would tear. Then we added epoxy between the aluminum and the plastic rim. One of those "it couldn't hurt" moves.

Good luck on your project.

Bob Smakula

Jun 29, 2019 - 6:04:26 AM

919 posts since 1/26/2012

When making ceramic drums with calfskin heads, the head is just glued to the pot, and it holds just fine. Mylar won't take glue as well as natural skin, though, because it's not at all porous. Nor do I think it will hold nails very well. Glue and nails together might work, though. Put some epoxy on the rim, stretch the head, then nail it. Don't release the stretcher ring until the epoxy has set. If I was doing this, I would use my air stapler, then cover the staples with a decorative band of some sort.

Jun 29, 2019 - 10:26:25 AM

52153 posts since 12/14/2005

Ah, me!

Thanks for the tips,
Tried drilling through the aluminum, first.
Took way too long to drill the first two holes, broke the bit on the third.

So, THAT is when I decided to make the plywood ring.
Simple enough to make two, stack and glue them so where I cut through to bandsaw the INNER circles, were on opposite sides, over a solid part.
And, yes, about ten nails into the project, it occurred to me that slow-set epoxy would have been a good idea.
Especially since, if I put it on, clamped it overnight, and WAITED, I could take the clamps and the ring OFF, and very much more easily drill the pilot holes for the brass-plated nails.

Also should have cut a fair sized hole in the bottom, so I can get in there to attach the NECK!
At THIS moment, I have a rather nice drum, with a good tight top.
I expect the Mylar will tear, but only up to the edge of the aluminum.

Jun 29, 2019 - 10:34:21 AM

52153 posts since 12/14/2005

Jun 29, 2019 - 12:31:30 PM

7337 posts since 1/7/2005

Jun 29, 2019 - 3:23:19 PM
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52153 posts since 12/14/2005

Thanks, Dan.
Turns out I already knew about soaking rawhide, which will then stretch, and letting it dry to self-tighten.

But the main point of a MYLAR (TM) drum head is that no matter HOW MUCH you soak it, it will not stretch.
So, you got some Mylar shinking techniques you care to share,  let's see 'em.

Meanwhile, us Mad Scientist types will keep committing atrocities in our basement labs, pounding shiny little nails into hairless heads.

Jun 29, 2019 - 3:29:01 PM

52153 posts since 12/14/2005

 

"Aww, c'mon, Mike! There's GOT to be a simpler way to make a banjo!"

-Pinhead the Cenobite-

Jun 29, 2019 - 10:00:44 PM

52153 posts since 12/14/2005

Wondered how they created that makeup, so I looked it up.

Hijacking my own thread!

Here's a link.  https://youtu.be/gn-zLl415GY

Jul 2, 2019 - 3:06:53 PM

52153 posts since 12/14/2005

I tried to post something, and the screen jumped, and all my typing vanished!

Tried RE-typing, and the SAME DAMN THING happened.

So I posted that ONE SENTENCE, figuring IF it took, THEN I'd try typing out the long statement,  a THIRD time.

--------------

OK, so:

I am using an old neck, from which a previous person had removed the binding.

Rather than re-binding, I just power-sanded the neck to the edge of the fingerboard.

Touched up the raw wood with some furniture restoration stain, and then, rather than refinish the whole thing, just got a bottle of CLEAR nail polish from the dollar store, dabbed THAT on the raw edges.

Making banjos is EASIER when you're not trying to clone a prewar Granada.

Meanwhile: The head seems to be holding to the tension it had.

Edited by - mike gregory on 07/02/2019 15:12:58

Jul 2, 2019 - 4:13 PM

7337 posts since 1/7/2005

One of my first jobs as a junior. graphic designer was mocking up designs for a company that did cellophane packaging.

We did our layouts using opaque watercolors on raw cellophane. To get the cellophane good and tight on the drawing board, we would mist it with water and dry it with a hair dryer on high setting. The cello would shrink tight like a drum. After painting, we would coat it with nitro lacquer.
It probably wouldn't work on mylar, since it's waterproof, but it might be worth a try.

DD

Jul 3, 2019 - 10:23:26 AM
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52153 posts since 12/14/2005

Jul 3, 2019 - 10:54:22 AM

149 posts since 4/11/2019

Nice, and just in time for the Fourth of July picnic!!

Are you going to fill the salad bowl with potato or Watergate?

Jul 3, 2019 - 10:54:42 AM

149 posts since 4/11/2019

The Mylar will help keep it fresh.

Jul 3, 2019 - 5:06:06 PM

429 posts since 4/13/2011

Nice! Another classic MG banjo. Do you like it better than the plastic soda bottle beads you’ve shrunk in the past?

Edited by - Stephen45710 on 07/03/2019 17:06:53

Jul 3, 2019 - 6:02:54 PM

52153 posts since 12/14/2005

It was a mistake to sand down the sides, instead of replacing the binding.
Strings almost too close together to chord well.
But the head seems to be holding up well.

I'll give it a day or three to settle in, then post a sound file.

Jul 4, 2019 - 8:45:53 AM
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2412 posts since 6/19/2008

Responding to the first post about anyone with experience: I tried basically this technique with one of my panhead pots, using Mark Ralston 's "Yellowstone" head material. The head held tension pretty well for a couple of years but slowly stretched out, and then, one cool and rainy day camping, it sagged so far down as to be unplayable. I'm not saying the same thing will happen to yours - Mylar is different material, after all - but I'd be very interested to know how it holds up long term. They don't put adjusting hardware on banjos for nothing. But - to find an artificial head that can be pre-tensioned, fastened securely, and stay tight over the life of a banjo is the Holy Grail of us experimental banjo builders.

Jul 4, 2019 - 11:11:15 AM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14370 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Jonnycake White

Responding to the first post about anyone with experience: I tried basically this technique with one of my panhead pots, using Mark Ralston 's "Yellowstone" head material. The head held tension pretty well for a couple of years but slowly stretched out, and then, one cool and rainy day camping, it sagged so far down as to be unplayable. I'm not saying the same thing will happen to yours - Mylar is different material, after all - but I'd be very interested to know how it holds up long term. They don't put adjusting hardware on banjos for nothing. But - to find an artificial head that can be pre-tensioned, fastened securely, and stay tight over the life of a banjo is the Holy Grail of us experimental banjo builders.


I'm not sure how Remo does their permanently tensioned world percussion drums, but they don't experience any of the slacking that we mere mortal experimenters experience.

I believe I read that they use a system of drawing the material over the rim and then bond it with some sort of adhesive with staples also retaining the material to the rim.

Remo also made a pre-tensioned head to use on a specialty drum that was in production for a while. They now make the replacement heads periodically in batches as they are needed.

Jul 4, 2019 - 1:35:46 PM

2412 posts since 6/19/2008

quote:
Originally posted by rudy
 

I'm not sure how Remo does their permanently tensioned world percussion drums, but they don't experience any of the slacking that we mere mortal experimenters experience.

I believe I read that they use a system of drawing the material over the rim and then bond it with some sort of adhesive with staples also retaining the material to the rim.

Remo also made a pre-tensioned head to use on a specialty drum that was in production for a while. They now make the replacement heads periodically in batches as they are needed.


I made a couple of banjos from 10" remo drums a couple of years ago.  I was frankly disappointed with the sound.  I found them lacking in volume and projection (if that's a separate thing).  I would attribute that to the rim material.  I like using heavy duty aluminum cooking pots, especially pressure cookers, for this type of experimental rim.

Jul 4, 2019 - 1:58:27 PM
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

14370 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Jonnycake White
quote:
Originally posted by rudy
 

I'm not sure how Remo does their permanently tensioned world percussion drums, but they don't experience any of the slacking that we mere mortal experimenters experience.

I believe I read that they use a system of drawing the material over the rim and then bond it with some sort of adhesive with staples also retaining the material to the rim.

Remo also made a pre-tensioned head to use on a specialty drum that was in production for a while. They now make the replacement heads periodically in batches as they are needed.


I made a couple of banjos from 10" remo drums a couple of years ago.  I was frankly disappointed with the sound.  I found them lacking in volume and projection (if that's a separate thing).  I would attribute that to the rim material.  I like using heavy duty aluminum cooking pots, especially pressure cookers, for this type of experimental rim.


Agreed.

My comments related more to them being able to attach the head material without it slacking over time.  That's both the fibreskin type of material on their world percussion and also the mylar for pre-tensioned drum heads.

I'm not a fan of their "Acousticon" material, but it works well enough as a hand drum.  The larger 12" dimeter hand drums work better for banjos than the smaller 10" size.

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