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Offset Planetary Tuners Windsor The Whirle Victor Supremus

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Jun 1, 2020 - 6:18:26 AM
8 posts since 5/30/2020

Hello,

Its my first post and am a complete novice regards the Banjo.

I was bequeathed a Windsor 'The Whirle' Victor Supremus which I know a little of the history of the manufacturer and not a lot about the specific model.

I have taken it apart, cleaned it all up and put a new calf skin velum on and its looking quite smart I think. Overall it seems to hold tune not to bad other than one of the tuners. I am enjoying getting to know it and working on my skills.
In an effort to comprehend what the issue is with the one tuner then I thought I might as well take it off again and open it up as it seemed straight forward enough. I attach a few images of this process.

I must admit that I thought that there may be something more in the actual mechanism which may have become eroded through time but was surprised to see the simplicity of the mechanism i.e. two interlocking gears/cogs.

Now this is a real niche question but I was wondering if anyone out there has experience or insight into how said mechanism actually locks into position to hold the tension in the string? Does the tension of the string seemingly cause the peg to slightly angle the pin with the attached cog, to then cause it to lock?

I would prefer to keep the original tuners on the banjo and maintain it in its original state rather than add new bits to it. And besides the originals are, I think, quite smart and minimal. So this end I would like to find a way for this tuner to hold tension and I am wondering if there is anywhere out there in the hangout that might have any advice to offer.

Thanks in advance for your time in reading this and hope to hear from anyone with any positive helpful comments.






Jun 1, 2020 - 8:43:42 AM

1382 posts since 4/25/2007

I would imagine it's just down to how tight the screw is that runs through the tuner button.

Jun 1, 2020 - 9:01:36 AM

8 posts since 5/30/2020

Hello Stephen,

many thanks for taking the time to respond.

Just wanted to check regards what you meant. Do you mean the screws as indicated in the attached image?

I am unfamiliar with the construction of the tuner at this point as when the screws are removed then they do not appear to affect the motion of the finger grip part. Nor do they appear to allow me to detach anything.
So I wasn't sure what their purpose was. I gather from what you are saying then by tightening or slacking these screws then it can affect the resistance of the cogs to motion?

Let me know if you can shed any light on this.

All the best for now


 

Jun 1, 2020 - 11:40:58 AM

1382 posts since 4/25/2007

quote:
Originally posted by AnthonyOD

Hello Stephen,

many thanks for taking the time to respond.

Just wanted to check regards what you meant. Do you mean the screws as indicated in the attached image?

I am unfamiliar with the construction of the tuner at this point as when the screws are removed then they do not appear to affect the motion of the finger grip part. Nor do they appear to allow me to detach anything.
So I wasn't sure what their purpose was. I gather from what you are saying then by tightening or slacking these screws then it can affect the resistance of the cogs to motion?

Let me know if you can shed any light on this.

All the best for now


Yes that is what i meant. I've just been through my old tuner parts but i don't have one to check. I was assuming the cog shaft runs through the bush into the tuner button and the screw attaches the whole thing, 4 pieces. I know  from previous experience Windsor all metal friction tuners can be difficult to remove sometimes due to corrosion. That may be your problem. It would be worth asking fellow BHO member Derrick Chetwyn in Australia as he has worked on many old Windsors.  I've sent him a message drawing his attention to your post.

Edited by - Stephen John Prior on 06/01/2020 11:45:57

Jun 1, 2020 - 2:30:45 PM

13018 posts since 6/29/2005

in 1978, I made two banjos along with a machinist at Corning Glass, where I worked as a designer—we made all the parts including the tuners, which are mechanically the same as the ones you are showing.

We copied the offset Grover tuners which were original on my old 1927 Granada, by taking one apart and copying all the parts.  We needed two sizes of pinion wire to do it and had to machine the casing or shroud, whatever you'd call it.

Those offset tuners worked great on the Granada, and still do—I don't know why they don't backslip, but they don't.  Ditto the ones on the banjos I made—I still have one and the tuners have held up fine—hold the tuning, no problems.  They are not planetary—I don't know how you'd describe the system

Jun 1, 2020 - 5:11 PM

8 posts since 5/30/2020

Hullo Ken,

Many thanks for this. Very interesting.

They look great. What a job! More chunky than the ones on the Windsor I have. There's definitely more to these.
Whats the gearing like inside the casing? I am interested in the actual construction of these as it may offer some pointers for me.

I have been looking more closely once more at the turner top on the ones I have to see where the connection may be. I attach an image to illustrate where I think the detach point is. Its a very fine gap and I maybe will have to soak it in a lubricant to assist in easing it off. That may help me understand if this is where the issue is that Stephen had mentioned in his earlier post.
Look forward to maybe hearing from Derrick in Australia.


 

Jun 2, 2020 - 6:17:11 AM

119 posts since 7/14/2017

quote:
Originally posted by AnthonyOD

Hullo Ken,

Many thanks for this. Very interesting.

They look great. What a job! More chunky than the ones on the Windsor I have. There's definitely more to these.
Whats the gearing like inside the casing? I am interested in the actual construction of these as it may offer some pointers for me.

I have been looking more closely once more at the turner top on the ones I have to see where the connection may be. I attach an image to illustrate where I think the detach point is. Its a very fine gap and I maybe will have to soak it in a lubricant to assist in easing it off. That may help me understand if this is where the issue is that Stephen had mentioned in his earlier post.
Look forward to maybe hearing from Derrick in Australia.


I'm not sure the button separates from the column/sleeve at the point you indicate.

Before trying that, why not just see if the screws adjust the tension. Loosen a screw on one of the other tuners to see if it slips - if it does, tighten it again until the slipping stops! That would tell you how this tuner is supposed to behave.

I'd expect that the tuner button and sleeve are attached, and slide off the shaft as one unit. Though this is only my deduction about how it would seem to work - tightening produces friction against the housing and resists loosening. If the sleeve is corroded to the shaft, that would stop the tightening working. A good squirt of WD40 or equivalent left to soak might be enough to let you slide it off.

But if tightening works, leave well alone I'd say!

Edited by - Profchris on 06/02/2020 06:18:06

Jun 2, 2020 - 12:20:45 PM

225 posts since 6/15/2006

In the fifties this system was on all the danish made banjos by Beter B. and Just Poulsen (that I have seen). It is a kind of geared friction pegs (which I think all banjo tuners are exept the guitar tuner types). I think that both the the little and the big gear should have a screw to tighten it if needed, and it works as in other tuners, because the big wheel has a hard time turning the little wheel, while the little wheel easier can turn th big wheen because of some "lever rules". At the same time it takes care of abetter ratio as 1 to 1. They are supposed to be a cheap type, but they may funktion all right. Steen

Jun 3, 2020 - 12:30:04 AM

deke46

Australia

111 posts since 8/30/2009

Hi Anthony,
I guess it`s all been said, the screw that secures the knob to the post applies enough pressure to stop that wheel a`turnin`. Think of your old bicycle gears, starting off in high gear, big sprocket/little cog, very hard to move, any added resistance makes it near impossible. Tightening the screw adds that little bit of resistance and should stop the slipping. If, for some reason the screw is bottoming out adding a small washer between the knob and the tuner may help.
But as I said, everyone who responded earlier has covered it well.
Cheers.

Jun 4, 2020 - 3:57:10 PM

8 posts since 5/30/2020

Hello Derrick, Chris and Steen,

many thanks for engaging with this and for your detailed response.

I have tried soaking the top part in WD40 and have found that there is no movement in the removal of the knob part and sleeve from the shaft which the small cog is attached to. I didn't want to put too much strain on it in case I wrecked it. I may return to this method again.

What I was just checking is what happens when you tighten the screw? Does the end of the screw just make contact with the end of the shaft within the sleeve and thus apply the friction to it simply by this contact?

Derrick deke46, you mention putting a small washer between the knob and the tuner. I'm not exactly sure where you mean to put this washer.

Chris Profchris, I have tried loosening the screw in one of the other tuners and there does not appear to be any drop off in tension so far. With the particular post I am having the issue with then the loss of tension was quite fast after getting the string up to tune. So its different behaviour from this tuner.

many thanks again

Jun 5, 2020 - 1:03:01 AM

1382 posts since 4/25/2007

quote:
Originally posted by AnthonyOD

Hello Derrick, Chris and Steen,

many thanks for engaging with this and for your detailed response.

I have tried soaking the top part in WD40 and have found that there is no movement in the removal of the knob part and sleeve from the shaft which the small cog is attached to. I didn't want to put too much strain on it in case I wrecked it. I may return to this method again.

What I was just checking is what happens when you tighten the screw? Does the end of the screw just make contact with the end of the shaft within the sleeve and thus apply the friction to it simply by this contact?

Derrick deke46, you mention putting a small washer between the knob and the tuner. I'm not exactly sure where you mean to put this washer.

Chris Profchris, I have tried loosening the screw in one of the other tuners and there does not appear to be any drop off in tension so far. With the particular post I am having the issue with then the loss of tension was quite fast after getting the string up to tune. So its different behaviour from this tuner.

many thanks again


Hello Anthony. Bare with me and I'll just go round a friends house. He has a bunch of Windsor banjos so I should be able to get some photographs for you.

Jun 5, 2020 - 2:07:17 AM
likes this

1382 posts since 4/25/2007

Here you go Tony. More sophisticated Windsor tuners but the cog shaft, bush, button and screw operate in the same way as yours. Social distancing and hand washing rules adhered to.


Edited by - Stephen John Prior on 06/05/2020 02:11:48

Jun 5, 2020 - 8:35:21 AM

119 posts since 7/14/2017

Those pictures are really useful.

I think they show that the knob slides up and down the shaft, to tighten the tension.

The knob in question seems to be stuck, which could be the cause. So step 1 is to unstick it. I'd try heat (heat gun probably, blowtorch is last resort), lubricant, making a wooden lever. Probably clamp the knob, padded, in a vice and lever up on the body. Beware, risk of damage!

If it comes loose, but still won't tighten, the screw could be bottoming out inside the shaft. File it shorter, cleaning up the business end, and see if that helps.

As an afterthought, I might even check that the screw can be shortened, do that, soak in WD40, apply heat and try tightening. That might be enough to unstick it.

Jun 5, 2020 - 9:07:15 AM

8 posts since 5/30/2020

 

Hello Anthony. Bare with me and I'll just go round a friends house. He has a bunch of Windsor banjos so I should be able to get some photographs for you.


Hello Stephen,

That sounds like quite a friend you have there! A collection of Windsors! Wow. Hope he wasn't too far away and really appreciate you going to the effort. Big thanks for that.

Looking at your images then I can indeed se the similarity in structure and even elements of the keys themselves. The images suggest that the illustration I had earlier regards the point of separation of the top finger grip was possibly correct. I can now see how things function a bit better.

I shall work away at easing off the top section and get a better look at the pillar once I do. I reckon that maybe it has just become stuck with dirt etc though there is little or no sign of corrosion at any point that I can see.

As far as forums are concerned, may I compliment everyone for their speedy, informative, supportive and enthusiastic responses. It has to be the best forum I am a member of. Fantastic really.

All the very best and hope that in the next few days or as time allows in the week ahead, that I can resolve this issue and get on to working on playing the 5 string banjo which is currently working on four strings. Much to learn but the support on this forum has inspired me to get to it.

Take care.

Jun 7, 2020 - 6:54:03 AM

2445 posts since 6/19/2008

Just to be pedantic (lest I be derelict in my officiousness) , these are not technically planetary tuners as the gears are not planetary gears. But I still like them. I wonder why no one produces a similar design these days - probably because of the lower gear ratios.

Jun 7, 2020 - 9:50:58 AM

8 posts since 5/30/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Jonnycake White

Just to be pedantic (lest I be derelict in my officiousness) , these are not technically planetary tuners as the gears are not planetary gears. But I still like them. I wonder why no one produces a similar design these days - probably because of the lower gear ratios.


Hello Jonnycake,

Thanks for your observation. How would you describe these tuners if they are not planetary. I only used the term as it was used by someone who I had asked advice on elsewhere and it sort of made sense to me in that the cogs were on the same plane i.e. same level and thus could be described as planetary, on the same plane tuners. What is the difference and if these are not planetary tuners then what are planetary tuners?

I don't mind folk being particular or pedantic about such details as it assist me in getting to understand and use the correct terminology.

Look forward to the clarification.

Jun 7, 2020 - 10:11:10 AM

2445 posts since 6/19/2008

Planetary tuners have one central gear (the sun) and (usually) three gears (the planets) that mesh with it and revolve around it. They also mesh with an inner ring gear that is part of the housing.  They are connected through their axles to the tuning post, and the sun gear is connected to the button and shaft. I would call the type you have simply "geared tuners." The gears in right angle (guitar style) tuning pegs are technically called the worm (the part on the tuner button shaft) and worm gear (the part on the string post).

Edited by - Jonnycake White on 06/07/2020 10:14:12

Jun 7, 2020 - 10:21:35 AM

8 posts since 5/30/2020

Hello again, ah I see what you mean.
I guess the planetary analogy is subject to some discussion as maybe not all suns have more than one planet revolving around them!
Maybe a single planetary tuner might be an appropriate description as opposed to the multi-planetary tuner!
Were the type of planetary tuners your mention used on banjos? They sound quite complex, possibly unnecessarily so?

Jun 7, 2020 - 11:04:54 AM

2445 posts since 6/19/2008

The planetary tuners I mentioned are the standard fare for banjos these days. For example these tuners (raw brass Gotohs):




Jun 7, 2020 - 11:07:53 AM

2445 posts since 6/19/2008

As for complexity, it was the best they could do to get a 4:1 gear ratio, until Bill Rickard came out with his 10:1 cyclone tuners recently.

Jun 7, 2020 - 11:37:29 AM

2445 posts since 6/19/2008

Here is a good video explaining planetary gear systems in general. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARd-Om2VyiE

Jun 7, 2020 - 12:44:28 PM

8 posts since 5/30/2020

Hello again Jonnycake,
Thats very interesting. So does that mean that the cyclone tuners have 10 planets around the sun/central wheel? If so then that would be interesting to see the inside of! It must be very small cogs in that.

Thanks again.

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