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What Hardware Designs You Want to See?

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May 26, 2020 - 7:24:57 AM
127 posts since 3/19/2018

Hey folks, I have family that owns a machine shop and I thought I'd start tinkering with some banjo hardware designs that aren't already available from the other fine banjo folks out there. Any thoughts on what kind of hardware you'd like to see or have a hard time finding?

May 26, 2020 - 8:20:20 AM

BTuno

USA

886 posts since 3/3/2007

1. Cole / Kraske type dowel stick adjuster
2. Tension hoop with holes for the tip of the hooks in it, ala Romero.

May 26, 2020 - 9:06:04 AM
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2199 posts since 4/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by BTuno

1. Cole / Kraske type dowel stick adjuster
2. Tension hoop with holes for the tip of the hooks in it, ala Romero.


I do get inquiries for Cole style dowel stick neck adjusters frequently.  Though with any change in the neck angle,  the neck will have to be fit to the rim correctly.

 

Bob Smakula

smakula.com 

May 26, 2020 - 10:57:14 AM
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2876 posts since 2/18/2009

One thing I have looked for and not found (though it may be out there) is an unplated brass flange, either one or two piece.

I think it would be great if Van Eps (or Romero) style tension hoops were more readily available, but I should also note that I currently make them to order and sell them, in a small way. Mine are plain brass with a 1/8"x1/2" cross section. Up to 12" pot size is $50, over 12" is $60.

May 26, 2020 - 11:49:50 AM

97 posts since 12/9/2018

Some taller, wide base shoes that would keep them from toe-ing into the rim when under tension, similar to what Rudy has posted in the past. And maybe notched tension hoops in configurations other than the standard 18 and 24 hook models.

May 26, 2020 - 12:42:57 PM

10822 posts since 6/2/2008

1-piece flanges or two-piece flange plates with non-Gibson hole patterns.

Also, 1-piece flange without the internal step, so that it works essentially the same way as a 2-piece flange by the top surface pushing up on a ledge of rim wood.  Deering 1-piece flanges work this way. So did the no-longer-made Rickard bracket flange -- an excellent piece of hardware.


May 26, 2020 - 12:55:15 PM
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Players Union Member

jduke

USA

1079 posts since 1/15/2009

Some older thin-rimmed banjos had a brace from the dowel stick to the heal. A restoration purest wouldn't appreciate a generic brace, but those of us who just like making old banjos playable sure would.


 

May 26, 2020 - 1:17:10 PM

7676 posts since 1/7/2005
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Epiphone made a side-grooved tension hoop ( I think it was on their Recording model) that I've always admired. I thought of making one myself, but I suspect it would require a milling machine to cut the groove--which I do not have.
It's got a clean look, it would be comfortable against your arm, and like a top-grooved hoop, it would accommodate any number of hooks and any hook spacing.
I think it would be well received in the marketplace, and I don't know of anyone who makes one currently--which might be a good sales feature. I know I would buy one, and I'm pretty fussy. A picture is below.
 

May 26, 2020 - 1:40:32 PM

13011 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Drabek

Epiphone made a side-grooved tension hoop ( I think it was on their Recording model) that I've always admired. I thought of making one myself, but I suspect it would require a milling machine to cut the groove--which I do not have.
It's got a clean look, it would be comfortable against your arm, and like a top-grooved hoop, it would accommodate any number of hooks and any hook spacing.
I think it would be well received in the marketplace, and I don't know of anyone who makes one currently--which might be a good sales feature. I know I would buy one, and I'm pretty fussy. A picture is below.
 


That's certainly a lot more elegant that the Van Eps style and much more structurally sound as well.  I saw one somewhat like that at a luthier show in Woodstock.

May 26, 2020 - 1:50:41 PM

7676 posts since 1/7/2005
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More versatile too. With the Van Eps design, one is stuck with a given number of hooks and hook spacing. And an attractive upgrade to the common top-slotted hoops you find on vintage banjos.

May 26, 2020 - 2:20:08 PM

DRH

USA

480 posts since 5/29/2018

That side groove could be milled into flat stock before rolling, or turned in a lathe after rolling and brazing. I would probably do it in a lathe. The mill would require too passes, the second with a dovetail cutter which tend to be expensive and short lived.

OTOH, if you do it flat with a cnc mill you also have the option of cnc engraving without the need for a live 4th axis.

The hooks won't be cheap.

May 26, 2020 - 2:31:41 PM

7676 posts since 1/7/2005
Online Now

I'd think it would need to be milled first, while flat. If you rolled and brazed it first, I would think mounting it on a lathe as a second step might prove to be tough. But I'm no machinist. I do have a little Sherline lathe/mill combo, but I think a tension hoop would be well beyond it's pay grade.

The hooks look like standard flat hooks. Still being made.

DD

Edited by - Dan Drabek on 05/26/2020 14:33:20

May 26, 2020 - 3:13:43 PM

97 posts since 12/9/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Drabek

Epiphone made a side-grooved tension hoop ( I think it was on their Recording model) that I've always admired. I thought of making one myself, but I suspect it would require a milling machine to cut the groove--which I do not have.
It's got a clean look, it would be comfortable against your arm, and like a top-grooved hoop, it would accommodate any number of hooks and any hook spacing.
I think it would be well received in the marketplace, and I don't know of anyone who makes one currently--which might be a good sales feature. I know I would buy one, and I'm pretty fussy. A picture is below.
 


Pisgah posted a nice looking version of one of these on instagram a while back, but I haven't seen anything else about it since. They're calling it a Bacon style.

Edited by - gratefulbiker on 05/26/2020 15:16:40

May 26, 2020 - 3:19:35 PM
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13011 posts since 6/29/2005

I think the best route would be to make the material in long bar stock as Doug suggests, then roll it to whatever diameter needed just like regular tension hoops—then you wouldn't have to concern yourself with out of round while machining the groove—if you had a big enough quantity to justify the tooling, you could extrude it.  It would work with aluminum, too.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 05/26/2020 15:31:41

May 28, 2020 - 7:34:44 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12687 posts since 8/30/2006

Base plates under shoes are sometimes called conches. Separate plates would most likely be a stamping. Eagles, Stars, moons, shields, were many times cast into the shoe

Research castings

The best ones I saw are little clawhammers on the end of j-hooks
The claws on the hammer point down, so no snags, just cute as heck

One should be able to make hooks out of hex-stock, right now we got round and flat

The trouble is quantity and cost
It’s good to talk about this

Next see what a digital scanner and printer can do for you

Just a few things so far being printed

While you are at it. I want a green Banjo head made from soybeans

And find a way to rid us of plastic, we’re going to find it in our grandkids

That otta do it. Hey Doug

May 28, 2020 - 8:21:20 AM
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5315 posts since 9/21/2007

Photos of Fred Van Eps' hardware for reference.

Keep in mind that all of his parts he made for his specific application and were not stock parts for general use.

For the record-- I've seen a lot of Van Eps banjos and have not seen any with structural problems do to poor design of parts.






 

May 28, 2020 - 9:07:18 AM

7676 posts since 1/7/2005
Online Now

The scallops on the hoop are a nice touch. I also like the design of the tailpiece.

DD

May 28, 2020 - 11:58:04 AM

5315 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Drabek

The scallops on the hoop are a nice touch. I also like the design of the tailpiece.

DD


Yeah, I like the scallops a lot.  FVE clamed it was to reduce weight.  I think he just liked the way it looked on English banjos and used it with all the other ideas he borrowed.

One of the details he used on some few of his tailpieces was an adjuster for the 1st string.  This was not a "fine tuner", it was a device to move the string so that it would last longer and not developed flat spots or fray at fret positions.

Notice he also used an exaggerated version of the "no knot" system (invented by Fred Bacon).  The pegs had a similar arrangement.  This was for rapid string changing.  He would keep pre stretched firsts on the floor in front of him.  When he would break a string the piano would vamp while he put on a new one.  Then they would pick back up where he left off-- a great bit of showmanship!!

Neither of these things were needed after nylon came out post WW2, but he kept offering it as an option. 




 

May 28, 2020 - 5:05:08 PM

7253 posts since 8/28/2013

Brackets for center mounted resonators might be something that could be of interest.

May 29, 2020 - 6:32:38 AM

13011 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Dan Drabek

The scallops on the hoop are a nice touch. I also like the design of the tailpiece.

DD


Yeah, I like the scallops a lot.  FVE clamed it was to reduce weight.  I think he just liked the way it looked on English banjos and used it with all the other ideas he borrowed.

One of the details he used on some few of his tailpieces was an adjuster for the 1st string.  This was not a "fine tuner", it was a device to move the string so that it would last longer and not developed flat spots or fray at fret positions.

Notice he also used an exaggerated version of the "no knot" system (invented by Fred Bacon).  The pegs had a similar arrangement.  This was for rapid string changing.  He would keep pre stretched firsts on the floor in front of him.  When he would break a string the piano would vamp while he put on a new one.  Then they would pick back up where he left off-- a great bit of showmanship!!

Neither of these things were needed after nylon came out post WW2, but he kept offering it as an option. 

 

 

 


It's a very good-looking tension hoop—They look like the scallops engraved on Granada tension hoops—probably where Gibson got the idea.

The hoop is pretty substantial and has a reasonable number of hooks to spread the load.  I believe there are people out there doing this with 16 hooks and 1/8" hoops.

May 29, 2020 - 9:53:13 AM

5342 posts since 12/20/2005

Some type of hardware for a removable resonator would be nice. It could be mounted in the center, or on the sides.

I would not mind having a set of tension hooks which are hooked around at the bottom. These hooks simply fit under the base of the rim.
I've only seen these type of hooks twice. One was on a Romero banjo. I don't remember the other banjo.

If you could invent some kind of 5th string capo that is reliable, visually appealing, and user friendly, I think you would become the world's next tycoon.

May 29, 2020 - 2:25:43 PM
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7253 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Leslie R


If you could invent some kind of 5th string capo that is reliable, visually appealing, and user friendly, I think you would become the world's next tycoon.


To become a tycoon by making banjo parts, a person first has to make enough money to buy a winning Lotto ticket, and even that would be pretty hard to do.

May 29, 2020 - 8:47:34 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23602 posts since 6/25/2005

A repro of the cast-brass Essex straight line tailpiece. It was adjustable for height and the perfect length for an old-time banjo.

May 30, 2020 - 7:33:32 AM

2072 posts since 2/7/2008

Man, would I love to get my hands on a tailpiece with a 5th string tuner on it. Here's a picture of one that Mike Rowe designed. I wish I'd gotten one when I had a chance.


 

May 30, 2020 - 8:17:38 AM

3429 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Leslie R


If you could invent some kind of 5th string capo that is reliable, visually appealing, and user friendly, I think you would become the world's next tycoon.


Some of Tom Nechville's banjos had a fifth-string capo where the thingamabob slid along a track that was inlaid into the side of the neck. It was easy to use and barely noticeable, and didn't get in the way of the player's left-hand thumb. I also saw a one-off capo with a similar design back in the 1980s one time.

May 30, 2020 - 11:13:15 AM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1547 posts since 10/11/2004

Check with Steve Ryan for the brass flanges. He made them with the same formula as his tonerings & he will cut different hole patterns . He did different hole patterns for me , just ask or send him your design.
Tom

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