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Feb 16, 2020 - 12:26:05 PM
28 posts since 2/16/2020

40 years ago I built a Stewart MacDonald bluegrass banjo from a kit. It has an beefy aluminum rim with resonator. I like the neck but want to replace the bluegrass pot with a wood pot to make an open-back for old-time clawhammer. I don't need a great banjo, just one that is kind of mellow. I'm pretty handy so can make small modifications myself.

I found a maple ring with copper tone ring made in china which is 1/2" thick, 2.5" deep. Any thoughts about whether I am going down the wrong road with this idea?



Feb 16, 2020 - 1:42:25 PM

657 posts since 9/29/2009

I made the mistake of buying one of those chinese pots a couple of years ago Robert.. At the time they were $20 with free shipping.. I was able to use the copper tone ring on a different rim (actually it was a brass ring) but the rim was not worth the free shipping cost.. Your Stew Mac Eagle kit is 100 times better quality

Feb 16, 2020 - 3:30:34 PM

518 posts since 11/21/2018

I considered doing the exact same thing with my old Stew Mac kit neck.

These rims are known for delaminating and having voids which can be a problem mounting hardware plus their wood species of origin is often incorrect or unknown. I thought about one for 4 min. once when I wanted to make a primitive walk in the woods practice tool, but nixed it after reading about them online.

Edited by - northernbelle on 02/16/2020 15:32:23

Feb 16, 2020 - 3:58:53 PM



2564 posts since 2/20/2016

If the neck is good, you might want to consider springing for a modern Stew-mac or Recording King pot; or try and find a modern era banjo with a good pot and a broken neck.

In the classifieds right now are a "Flinthill/Recording King" pot for $300, or if you want to go up-scale, a Prucha pot with gold hardware for $1250.

Feb 16, 2020 - 6:06:35 PM
Players Union Member



12345 posts since 8/30/2006

Research rim change outs
I do them for $275. You get the old rim back choice of Maple, Cherry, Walnut, or Mahogany

If you spring for an inferior rim, what recourse do you have?

you may need to modify the heel cut, it’s pretty easy

I have a deep warranty and great customer svc. Read helix reviews

Edited by - Helix on 02/16/2020 18:08:24

Feb 16, 2020 - 8:36:50 PM
likes this



2564 posts since 2/20/2016

I didn't read the original post carefully enough. I see that you want an open back rim.
Get someone like Helix or Zach Hoyt to turn one for you.
Or, if it has a dowel stick, you can buy an old Vega style F [brass rod tone ring] or style N [Little Wonder tone ring] tenor and put your neck on it.

Feb 17, 2020 - 4:30:54 AM



806 posts since 11/8/2014

I just bought a Kalamazoo rim from Kurt; pretty good rim if you don’t mind 16 brackets. He has two more. It’s had plenty of time to move if it was going to.

Feb 17, 2020 - 12:25:16 PM
Players Union Member

Lew H


2412 posts since 3/10/2008

There's a vendor on eBay named" Zephyr". as I recall, who sells broken instruments. You might find a reasonably good pot and broken neck there.

Feb 17, 2020 - 5:08:31 PM

28 posts since 2/16/2020

You guys are great. Thanks for the ideas and warning about the chinese pot. The price was appealing and too good to be true. Robert

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