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Atypical neck/dowel configuration, Stewart Banjeaurine

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Aug 13, 2020 - 5:11:44 AM
1575 posts since 12/26/2007

I'm curious if anyone here on BHO is familiar with this atypical neck/dowel configuration on a Stewart banjeaurine:

Serial # 5296
19 fret
13 1/4" fingerboard
10 3/8" neck
12 1/2" pot

Neck shows no sign of ever having been drilled to accept a cylindrical dowel end.
Neck attaches with two screws through the pot wall
Tailpiece end of dowel terminates in a threaded bolt (not screw), pot wall has countersunk hole 1/2" below threaded bolt holt.
Neck end of dowel is secured with a screw that is countersunk into the pot wall.








 

Aug 13, 2020 - 5:36:18 AM

5495 posts since 9/21/2007

You are missing the thick and heavy metal dowel.

retrofret.com/product.asp?ProductID=5987

Aug 13, 2020 - 6:12:35 AM

1575 posts since 12/26/2007

Hey Joel - yes, missing some hardware. The serial number puts the banjo at early 1890's. SSS patented a heavy neck brace in 1887 (attachment), which appears to be consistent with this banjeaurine. Later banjeaurines used a threaded dowel turnbuckle arrangement (2nd pic)..... I think the missing part for this banjo is the 1887 brace.

I had never seen this neck attachment method..... neck is attached by two screws (like Buckbee did for many of his banjos) plus the heavy brace, which would allow adjustment of the neck angle but which wouldn't seem to add much longitudinal stability.

I assume the heavy, 1887 brace would have been nickel-plated brass....... can anyone confirm thi s?

patentimages.storage.googleapi...55896.pdf




Aug 13, 2020 - 6:18:37 AM

10831 posts since 4/23/2004

Mine's not brass, it is iron...which makes the poor thing weigh just short of a 1/2 ton truck.

I replaced the head on one of mine a year or two ago. The neck/brace attachment is definitely an oddity.

Aug 13, 2020 - 6:23:39 AM

1575 posts since 12/26/2007

Hi Marc - tnx for the input. Does yours also have the bolted-on neck arrangement ?

Aug 13, 2020 - 6:42:44 AM

5495 posts since 9/21/2007

I think they continued to use the heavy brace on one model of Imperial Banjeaurine until the end (or they ran out of them).

The Richard Kuenstler Neck Fastener and Adjuster was not used until 1894, and then only on banjos $30 or higher (normal exceptions apply).

Aug 13, 2020 - 7:04:18 AM

1575 posts since 12/26/2007

Marc - looks like the 1887 brace was tapered...... thin at the heel end, and thick at the tailpiece end to allow drilling & tapping. The patent doesn't give dimensions. Would you be able to measure & post the thickness of the bar at both ends ? I may try to reproduce the 1887 brace for this banjeaurine. Thanks ! !

Aug 13, 2020 - 7:41:59 AM

10831 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Ralston

Marc - looks like the 1887 brace was tapered...... thin at the heel end, and thick at the tailpiece end to allow drilling & tapping. The patent doesn't give dimensions. Would you be able to measure & post the thickness of the bar at both ends ? I may try to reproduce the 1887 brace for this banjeaurine. Thanks ! !


Yes, mine has the same system as yours. Initially, I assumed somebody just installed a pair of screws into the heel...but when I took it apart for the head replacement, I realized they were "factory".

Don't get your hopes up...but I think I have an orphan brace in a box somewhere. I bought a basket-case banjeaurine years ago that was just a rim, dowelstick and brace. I intended to build a regular size banjo for the rim, not using that boat-anchor brace. I have gotten all my boxes into my new garage and actually can put my hands on the rim...no idea where the brace is though. sad

I will dig out my banjeaurine and measure it up for you. I think I know where my old Starrett dial-calipers are...

Aug 13, 2020 - 7:51:55 AM

1575 posts since 12/26/2007

Marc - I won't get my hopes up, but you definitely have my attention on behalf of the owner of the banjeaurine ! ! !


 

Aug 13, 2020 - 8:57:41 AM

2296 posts since 4/7/2010

Here are some pictures of the neck attachment of SS Stewart Banjeaurine #6379. As mentioned by other folks replying, it is unlikely you will find a stray one.

 

Bob Smakula




Edited by - Bob Smakula on 08/13/2020 09:00:40

Aug 13, 2020 - 9:00:35 AM

10831 posts since 4/23/2004

I found my banjeaurine (buried, but still fine). I'm in the process of photographing the neck brace for you.

The brace tapers both directions. It is about 7/8" wide at the heel and tapers to 1/2" at the tailpiece end. It also tapers in thickness from 3/16 at the inside of the pot at the heel to 3/8" at the tailpiece end. It is notched underneath at the inside of the heel down to about 1/8" thick over the heel.

There is a machine screw in the tailpiece end that passes thru the rim at the tailpiece. This is the "adjuster". wink It will take me a little more work to get you the dimensions on that. The whole thing stops about 1/8" shy of the inside of the tailpiece end, room for adjustment, I presume.

If I can find my calipers, I'll have more accurate dimensions for you. I'll get the pix up next.

Pix are here: https://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/photos.asp?id=3288&albumid=11445

Edited by - trapdoor2 on 08/13/2020 09:14:56

Aug 13, 2020 - 9:17:37 AM

1575 posts since 12/26/2007

Bob & Marc - tnx for the input. Bob - I've got my fingers crossed that Marc will unearth an orphaned brace...... if he finds one, I will go out and invest in lottery tickets on my lucky day ! ! ! !

Marc - no need for dimensions of the machine screw. If I reproduce the brace I will probably tap to accomodate a countersunk machine screw that will work with the brace metal stock. Tnx for the other dimensions. If I do reproduce, I think I have enough info to do a reasonable job.

Aug 13, 2020 - 9:25:06 AM

10831 posts since 4/23/2004

Some of the pix could be in better focus. Let me know which ones you'd like re-done. I can tape a piece of graph paper under the scallops and re-shoot them if you like. That would give you a better idea of their shapes. I can't imagine they're a specific radius, probably just hand filed to suit.

https://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/photos.asp?id=3288&albumid=11445

S/N 7908, BTW. I think I got her from Bernunzio's...years and years ago. Only real defect is that some idiot vibro-engraved his PA DL number on the adjuster at the heel. angry

I think the orphan adjuster is buried here somewhere...

Edited by - trapdoor2 on 08/13/2020 09:32:18

Aug 13, 2020 - 9:36:27 AM
likes this

1575 posts since 12/26/2007

Marc & Bob - tnx for the input.... the pics are perfect, should let me do a reasonable job of reproducing a fairly uncomplicated part.

Marc - I've got two banjos ahead of the banjeaurine on my to-do list, and I probably won't start in on it before next week. I just looked at your "boxes waiting to be unpacked or relegated to cold-storage" photo......if you find that orphaned brace in the next week or so, let me know & I will cut you in for a share of my lottery winnings ! !

Edited by - Mark Ralston on 08/13/2020 09:38:08

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