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Apr 1, 2020 - 12:48:26 PM
6 posts since 7/30/2019

I inherited my grandfather's 1978 Gibson RB-250 and all the issues that entails. It was put up for close to a decade, so I restrung it and cleaned it up a little before I noticed that flange was lopsided. I looked and noticed that the external hoop was lopsided and showed a place on the rim that had pushed up the wood. I took it completely apart and found that the lip around the rim had separated and the hoop was pushing it up. I used wood glue to glue it back. My question is will the wood glue hold? Is this a common problem with these. Any suggestions. Keep in mind this is a family heirloom so I can't just get rid of it.


Apr 1, 2020 - 1:16:55 PM

1362 posts since 4/13/2009

This is a common problem with Gibson rims from that time period. I didn't trust just glue, so I used small nails around the ridge to give it more stability. I did grind the heads down and refinish the rim That has held up for 20+ years.

Apr 1, 2020 - 1:19:18 PM

6 posts since 7/30/2019

What kind of nails?

Apr 1, 2020 - 1:34:33 PM

1362 posts since 4/13/2009

just small iron/steel nails - not long enough to go completely through the rim.    You don't want to split the  ridge, so very small nails or predrill....

Edited by - deestexas on 04/01/2020 13:43:39

Apr 1, 2020 - 2:08:40 PM

6 posts since 7/30/2019

Thank you.

Apr 1, 2020 - 2:38:16 PM

roydsjr

USA

665 posts since 5/17/2007

I agree with deestexas and use some glue like Titebond not the type 2 but the regular one.

Apr 1, 2020 - 3:07:16 PM
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189 posts since 1/26/2003

I thought the rims from the 1970's were all the black many-ply style rims. That one looks different from the ones I have seen before from that era.

I got a new rim for 1970's RB-250 from First Quality. A new rim is not very expensive and has been a big improvement for my banjo. I think a new rim is about $125 plus any extras you want to do to it.

Apr 1, 2020 - 3:36:13 PM
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261 posts since 8/7/2007

Pilot172000,

Glad to see you got the old banjo back out of storage. The problem you are experiencing is so normal for this era of Gibson banjos that I cannot even count how many we have replaced. We have done hundreds and hundreds. The wood glue will hold for a while but the constant pressure will eventually win out and it will fail again. The best bet is a new 3 ply rim and we can definitely help you with that. We no longer have the problem of the bead busting loose as all of the machining is done in the outside ply.

There is nothing wrong with trying the glue first as it will work for a while. If you do ever decide to get a new rim give me a call and I will get you fixed right up.

Thanks,

Eric Sullivan

Apr 1, 2020 - 8:42:43 PM

7627 posts since 1/7/2005

Were it a pre-war instrument it would warrant repair. But I can't imagine the delaminating plies can be good for the sound. And as Eric noted, the "fix" would probably not last. A new rim would solve the problem and you can hang on to the original for posterity.
DD

Apr 2, 2020 - 8:36:36 AM
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71747 posts since 5/9/2007

A new rim would be an upgrade from the original.

Apr 3, 2020 - 6:45:54 AM

14981 posts since 2/7/2003

There is nothing special, get a new rim and enjoy a better banjo

Apr 3, 2020 - 9:36:55 AM

12909 posts since 6/29/2005

The original PW Gibson rims for tube-and-plate flanges had a dado cut into the rim, and a hoop glued into the dado, then turned down.

Apparently in the modern era, they got lazy and didn't do the dado, so the bead just comes off.

The fix is to take that rim, cut a dado and glue in a new bead—I would think this would be better than getting a new rim and having to fit everything from scratch—plus, chances are the new rim wouldn't be made properly, either.

Apr 3, 2020 - 10:22:59 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12565 posts since 8/30/2006

That would be a subjective decision at best.

I'm not thrilled with all the older rims I get to see.

I now make my tube and plate style rims with a 1/4" x 3/8' dado or bead. I use Black Walnut for that purpose, 8 pieces offset like bricks.

I know some people think the rim is a just a tone ring holder, but the sound tells something different.

My opinion is that a new rim would stupify, be careful not to fall off the couch.


 

Apr 3, 2020 - 12:50:59 PM
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12909 posts since 6/29/2005

Here is a way to install a bead if you wanted to do it.  I am showing it on a new rim—a mahogany finger-jointed one, but you can do this on a block rim or laminated one— on laminated rims, it's much less wasteful of material than just making an extra thick rim and turning it down, which is probably why Gibson did their early ones this way.

It would be the same process to do it on an existing rim.

(1) You have to make a hoop.  I am showing a beech one, which is easy to bend, exceptionally strong, and takes stain very well to match the rest of the rim.  I have made these from beech, birch, cherry, and curly maple and make extra ones so I have a collection of them for whatever need arises.  They make a nice detail on any rim even if you don't really need a bump-out for some mechanical reason

It's steam bent just like a rim lamination:

(2) You cut a dado into the rim, same size as the hoop:

(3) The hoop is glued into the dado—you can make the hoop continuous with a scarf joint, or just roughly butt it where the neck is going to go, which is what Gibson did:

(4)  Then you turn it to whatever profile you want—I like a nice simple bead.

Because it's a steam bent hoop and continuous,  you don't get tear-out at joints you might get with a block-type thing—you just get a lot of excelsior-like shavings:

Then stain it to match the rim.

The rim I am showing here is for a bracket band construction, but it's the exactly the same way you would do it for a tube-and-plate—it makes a nice little detail on the rim:

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 04/03/2020 12:54:10

Apr 3, 2020 - 1:04:59 PM
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261 posts since 8/7/2007

Ken,

You are on the right track about the rims. The era of rims from the opening post were multiply and for some unknown reason the guys in engineering decided that the bead would be strong enough. Well it is not. The glue has always failed.

Jimmy Cox rims utilize an inlaid bead and they have no issues. The rims I use have an oversized outer ply and all machining is done inside of that ply. We have experienced zero failures to date and that would be about 30 years for that style of rim. Never use a multiply rim for two piece flange pots.

Thanks for the drawing. Excellent as always.

Eric

Apr 3, 2020 - 1:32:50 PM
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12909 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by esullivan

Ken,

You are on the right track about the rims. The era of rims from the opening post were multiply and for some unknown reason the guys in engineering decided that the bead would be strong enough. Well it is not. The glue has always failed.

Jimmy Cox rims utilize an inlaid bead and they have no issues. The rims I use have an oversized outer ply and all machining is done inside of that ply. We have experienced zero failures to date and that would be about 30 years for that style of rim. Never use a multiply rim for two piece flange pots.

Thanks for the drawing. Excellent as always.

Eric


Thanks, Eric,

I'm sure you have had to deal with this and solved the problem many years ago.  I have always thought that your constructions and parts are as good as or better than anything Gibson ever made.  We all can't make outer laminations thick enough to turn down into a beaded profile—I wish I could, especially with curly maple, so I use the bead process on a lot of banjos, and I mostly make openbacks, but I like the "look".

My 1927 Granada (8769-20) is one of those rare TPF ones where they recycled rims that were intended for ball-bearing types and used the bottom of a ball-bearing rim (which was very well made and they didn't want to waste them) and a new top, and the joint was hidden by that bead part, so the top and bottom laminations are offset.

There are a number of these that have been discovered, interestingly, always on high end models.

BTW, sorry to digress, but I always wonder what effect the phantom holes, which lighten the rim have— the TPF rims are the heaviest of the Gibson ones, and these are more in line weight-wise with the OPF ones.  the cavities alter the metal-to wood ratio, which I think is important.

Apr 3, 2020 - 8:33:34 PM
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261 posts since 8/7/2007

Ken,

Here are a couple of pics from a job I did a while back. A shoe bracket rim was sent in to be made into the pot for a style 5 banjo. I had to fit an original pre war arch top ring and, just as you described, I had to cut a groove and glue in a bent ply that was roughly 3/4 x 3/4 in size.

Once the glued in strip of wood was cured I turned the rim and the rest is history. The holes from the shoe brackets are gone when looking from the outside but if you look closely you can still see them on the inside of the rim. This bead will not fail.

Eric




Apr 4, 2020 - 6:25:23 AM
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5557 posts since 10/13/2007

Eric
This is an aside from the topic. I hope you all will excuse this meander.
Whatever happened to the wall with all the signatures that you had in Louisville? Were you able to keep it and incorporate it into your new facility? You had some big time signatures on that including Earl's.
All, please pardon the interruption.
ken
esullivan

Apr 6, 2020 - 9:36:32 AM

10701 posts since 6/2/2008

Another vote for a new rim. Not only does it eliminate the weakest component of the 70s RB-250 (the multi-ply rim) it makes the banjo sound better. 

Apr 6, 2020 - 12:07:06 PM

10701 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
My 1927 Granada (8769-20) is one of those rare TPF ones where they recycled rims that were intended for ball-bearing types and used the bottom of a ball-bearing rim (which was very well made and they didn't want to waste them) and a new top, and the joint was hidden by that bead part, so the top and bottom laminations are offset.

Great detective work. Especially where you see the seam inside the rim and figured out why it's there.

Apr 6, 2020 - 2:22:49 PM

12909 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
My 1927 Granada (8769-20) is one of those rare TPF ones where they recycled rims that were intended for ball-bearing types and used the bottom of a ball-bearing rim (which was very well made and they didn't want to waste them) and a new top, and the joint was hidden by that bead part, so the top and bottom laminations are offset.

Great detective work. Especially where you see the seam inside the rim and figured out why it's there.


Thanks!  Actually, it was either Dick Guggenheim or Bill Porter that explained it to me.

Here are some other ones:

Apr 7, 2020 - 5:30:50 AM

12909 posts since 6/29/2005

Apparently batch #8614 had a number of style 4s with spliced rims like my Granada—these were extremely rare original RBs (5-strings).

From the Earnest banjo site:

http://www.earnestbanjo.com/gibson_banjo_RB-4_mastertone_8914-2.htm

"As is the case with the other observed banjos from lot #8914, a splice is visible on the inside of the rim, indicating that this rim had originally been prepped with holes for a ball-bearing tone ring assembly and was then modified for a cast raised-head ring by removing the drilled upper portion of the rim and replacing it with a solid cap.

Observed banjos from lot #8914 demonstrate a wide array of features, consistent with these instruments having remained in inventory at the factory for some time and being subjected to various forms of reworking and reassembly to finally get them out the door.  Other banjos from lot #8914 featured on this site include RB-4/TB-3 Mastertone #8914-3, the "Paul Schantz"; and RB-4 Mastertone #8914-4, the "Cecil George"; and RB-4/RB-3 Mastertone #8914-8."

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 04/07/2020 05:34:16

Apr 16, 2020 - 3:16:46 PM
Players Union Member

Geoff Keymer

Canada

3 posts since 4/4/2008

Had the same thing happen to my RB250 these banjos, from the 70's, have 5 ply rims when the rim is cut for the flange hoop that happens to be the thickness of the ply. Consequently, too much pressure for that small section of wood remaining. I bought a Cox rim to replace it. And had it fitted by Cox. For years afterwards I was complimented on the "great sounding banjo".... and it was. I sold it a few years later and I'm still kicking myself..... (my friends still talk about that great banjo)
Good luck
Geoff

Apr 16, 2020 - 4:58:01 PM

10701 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Geoff Keymer

Had the same thing happen to my RB250 these banjos, from the 70's, have 5 ply rims . . .


I think they have 10 or 11 plies.

Apr 16, 2020 - 8:48:53 PM

3837 posts since 5/1/2003

Just about every banjo from the mid 70s had 10 ply rims including Ome,a 76 gold star arch top I had and,believe it or not,a 76 Stelling I once owned!. I guess that ,somehow ,it was thought to be ok back then.

Apr 17, 2020 - 10:49:28 AM

1233 posts since 7/12/2004

I got to see Herb Hooven's Granada a few years ago. Herb was a New England bluegrass pioneer and played fiddle on Keith and Rooney's "Living On the Mountain" album, which I believe was also Joe Val's recorded debut. Herb's banjo was also a factory ball-bearing to archtop conversion, but in this case they kept the entire original rim and put on a cap about a quarter inch thick to build the rim up to archtop height. No idea if they plugged the holes before covering them.

What made the conversion especially interesting was that the shim was made from a slice of another Mastertone rim. You could tell because the shim had its slice of the gold Mastertone label. which showed up in a completely different place on the rim than the banjo's actual label. It wasn't finished over, so I guess the color match was good enough, and you could only see it from the inside anyway. It was said that Gibson didn't waste anything in those days - I guess they even chopped up unused rims for parts!

Wish I had taken some pictures, but I didn't.

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