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Aug 14, 2020 - 12:46:57 PM
131 posts since 11/14/2018

I've been looking for value priced hardware and I'm coming up blank. I don't want junk but I don't need the best. I had settled on raw brass to offset the raw aluminum on my build. I also want simple plain stuff without a lot style. Was pretty happy with one place in Canada. I had everything selected and was ready to order until the MINIMUM shipping cost of $20 came up. Buy one tension nut for $3.25 pay $20 to ship it. I was told it was a business decision. My order was over $60.00 BEFORE the shipping cost. Nice stuff but I don't need or want to pay for overnight shipping.

Any other ideas for a place to source simple raw brass hardware that won't kill me on price?

I could make all of it it myself but I really don't want to. Nobody with reasonable prices seems to carry everything (hook, nut and foot) and I don't want chrome or nickle plated shiny stuff.

Suggestions please....

Aug 14, 2020 - 1:19:10 PM
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rmcdow

USA

852 posts since 11/8/2014

Aug 14, 2020 - 1:21:29 PM

13140 posts since 6/29/2005

I think reasonably priced brass hardware is nonexistent.  If you can make it yourself, as you say, I'd do that, and I'd make sure it looked different than the store-bought kind. to make the time spent more worthwhile.

I make all my own hardware (which I don't sell), and every once in a while, I get under the gun and think "oh well, I'll just buy standard stuff that's out there for this batch of banjos", then when I figure out how much it will cost to buy 800 hooks and 800 nuts (not to mention bracket shoes), even at quantity price, I wince, and I'm back to making my own again.  Based on how much it costs me to make my own vs buying them, I'd say there is a very hefty profit margin in that end of the business.

If I ever quit building banjos, I'll source hardware, tailpieces and armrests of my own design..

Anyway, good luck with it.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 08/14/2020 13:27:28

Aug 14, 2020 - 1:31:34 PM
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2296 posts since 4/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by 98v70dad

I've been looking for value priced hardware and I'm coming up blank. I don't want junk but I don't need the best. I had settled on raw brass to offset the raw aluminum on my build. I also want simple plain stuff without a lot style. Was pretty happy with one place in Canada. I had everything selected and was ready to order until the MINIMUM shipping cost of $20 came up. Buy one tension nut for $3.25 pay $20 to ship it. I was told it was a business decision. My order was over $60.00 BEFORE the shipping cost. Nice stuff but I don't need or want to pay for overnight shipping.

Any other ideas for a place to source simple raw brass hardware that won't kill me on price?

I could make all of it it myself but I really don't want to. Nobody with reasonable prices seems to carry everything (hook, nut and foot) and I don't want chrome or nickle plated shiny stuff.

Suggestions please....


With most of their banjo parts going to the US, I am surprised that Rickard doesn't have a distributor in the US. The shipping to the user could easily be halved. 

 

Bob Smakula

Aug 14, 2020 - 1:36:15 PM
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7775 posts since 1/7/2005

Check out Sullivan Banjo Co. if you can live with standard nickel plated hardware.

https://sullivanbanjo.com/collections/metal-parts/wall-lug

Also, Smakula Fretted Instruments

http://www.smakula.com/Partslist.html

Also, eBay is always worth looking for stray bargains.

DD

Aug 14, 2020 - 2:10:10 PM

11067 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

Quick search shows hooks and nuts from Balsam costing the same or only pennies different from Rickard. I couldn't see shipping options without creating a real order and going far into checkout, but let's assume it's going to be less than shipping from Canada to U.S.

Don't think you're going to do better anywhere else for unplated brass.

If you ever want nickel plated part, Eric Sullivan's First Quality Music - FQMS.com - is a great source. I believe a lot of what he sells is Prucha.

Also in nickel, BanjoTeacher.com sells a set of 24 Recording King hooks and nuts (Gibson style, US thread) for $36 plus $6.54 shipping. Not bad. Made in China.

Edited to add: Was offline a long time writing the same thing Dan posted about Sullivan/FQMS. Oh, well.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 08/14/2020 14:11:11

Aug 14, 2020 - 2:21:27 PM
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7581 posts since 8/28/2013

I sometimes think people complain too much about shipping. Although there are some retailers who clearly overcharge, one should always bear in mind that shipping doesn't simply involve the cost of postage, or whatever UPS and others charge. There is the time it takes to properly pack an item, time to print an invoice and an address label, the cost of boxes and other packing materials, and the cost of the printer that prints the labels and the ink cartridges it requires.

As far as shipping from a foreign country is concerned, there may be import duties and added shipping costs. A small company cannot simply add a brance in the US; that would involve hiring more personnel and a place to work from, which would have to be paid for, too. Plus, the items still would have to be shipped to that US location.

Aug 14, 2020 - 2:56:15 PM

131 posts since 11/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Bob Smakula
quote:
Originally posted by 98v70dad

I've been looking for value priced hardware and I'm coming up blank. I don't want junk but I don't need the best. I had settled on raw brass to offset the raw aluminum on my build. I also want simple plain stuff without a lot style. Was pretty happy with one place in Canada. I had everything selected and was ready to order until the MINIMUM shipping cost of $20 came up. Buy one tension nut for $3.25 pay $20 to ship it. I was told it was a business decision. My order was over $60.00 BEFORE the shipping cost. Nice stuff but I don't need or want to pay for overnight shipping.

Any other ideas for a place to source simple raw brass hardware that won't kill me on price?

I could make all of it it myself but I really don't want to. Nobody with reasonable prices seems to carry everything (hook, nut and foot) and I don't want chrome or nickle plated shiny stuff.

Suggestions please....


With most of their banjo parts going to the US, I am surprised that Rickard doesn't have a distributor in the US. The shipping to the user could easily be halved. 

 

Bob Smakula


Nice stuff, nice guy no hard feelings but the shipping cost is turning away a lot of business.  Your stuff is awesome but way too good for what I'm doing.  My Aunt on my dads side was Coach Wiemer's daughter. If you follow sports (basketball) and are from Elkins you might know of him.  I'm not really a sports fan but thought it was pretty cool that you are in Elkins.... Love it up in that area.

Aug 14, 2020 - 3:04:46 PM

131 posts since 11/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

Quick search shows hooks and nuts from Balsam costing the same or only pennies different from Rickard. I couldn't see shipping options without creating a real order and going far into checkout, but let's assume it's going to be less than shipping from Canada to U.S.

Don't think you're going to do better anywhere else for unplated brass.

If you ever want nickel plated part, Eric Sullivan's First Quality Music - FQMS.com - is a great source. I believe a lot of what he sells is Prucha.

Also in nickel, BanjoTeacher.com sells a set of 24 Recording King hooks and nuts (Gibson style, US thread) for $36 plus $6.54 shipping. Not bad. Made in China.

Edited to add: Was offline a long time writing the same thing Dan posted about Sullivan/FQMS. Oh, well.


Thanks. Balsam was my second choice.  I became annoyed trying to get a shipping quote. Being a customer shouldn't take any effort.  Also, the nuts are too fancy and I don't like the double sided foot.  Im doing a hillbilly banjo and I want dead simple.  8 -12 hooks.  The really good deal on 24 aren't because I need less than half of them.  Mr. Smakula has really beautiful stuff but its way better than I need.  I can't justify it for a banjo made of junk which was my original goal.  I made some hooks from 20 penny nails with regular nuts.  They would work and fit with the homemade theme but I would prefer corrosion proof materials.

Aug 14, 2020 - 3:10:36 PM

131 posts since 11/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I sometimes think people complain too much about shipping. Although there are some retailers who clearly overcharge, one should always bear in mind that shipping doesn't simply involve the cost of postage, or whatever UPS and others charge. There is the time it takes to properly pack an item, time to print an invoice and an address label, the cost of boxes and other packing materials, and the cost of the printer that prints the labels and the ink cartridges it requires.

As far as shipping from a foreign country is concerned, there may be import duties and added shipping costs. A small company cannot simply add a brance in the US; that would involve hiring more personnel and a place to work from, which would have to be paid for, too. Plus, the items still would have to be shipped to that US location.


Of course you have to pay shipping.  Making next day overnight the only option is a bit much in my opinion.    

Aug 14, 2020 - 3:49:15 PM

rmcdow

USA

852 posts since 11/8/2014

Try OME Banjos. They had their parts made by Bill Rickard at one time, not sure about now, but they are priced well.

omebanjos.com/product-category/parts/

Aug 14, 2020 - 3:52:21 PM

11067 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

I guess the market is telling parts makers there's not enough demand to justify manufacturing cheap-looking but good quality non-corrosive brass hooks and nuts.

If you found something priced right that also looked right except for being nickel-plated brass, you could always get that and try to strip the plating. If you did only a so-so job of that, it might be keeping with your hillbilly theme.

Or you could brass-plate nickel-plated parts at home.

Aug 14, 2020 - 4:46:25 PM
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131 posts since 11/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

Try OME Banjos. They had their parts made by Bill Rickard at one time, not sure about now, but they are priced well.

omebanjos.com/product-category/parts/


Thanks.  One I didn't know about.

Aug 14, 2020 - 5:07:49 PM

25 posts since 4/26/2018

Owning a business and shipping a fair amout of stuff, I can tell you that most people have no real idea regarding the cost of shipping in both dollars and time, and the pandemic has only made it worse.

Some companies need a dedicated person or staff to handle shipping so that they can get actual work done.

Aug 14, 2020 - 6:20:43 PM
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5495 posts since 9/21/2007

Yeah, shipping complainers... When customers complain (always consumers with tiny orders and not other businesses) to me about shipping at my real job, I always ask them to let me know of a cheaper way to ship and I'll use that. I have weights and dims of all we sell and can figure a quote while I have them on the phone.

Same with "free shipping", find me a company that ships for free and I'll use them for your order.

Personally, I think it is remarkable that I can pay $15 dollars to ship something from New Hampshire to California and take it right from my door to the other. That is CHEAP.

RE: Minimums. I don't disagree with that either. Labor is expensive. The overhead for paying someone to pack an order of less than $25-50 will be a loss on the sale. For some reason everyone seems to think they are the only ones who deserve to make a living (this is nothing personal to the OP, but that is the impression given when complaints like this are made).

There are many ways companies hide shipping costs-- but you are still paying for it. "Free shipping" is hidden somewhere in the cost of the goods. So you can pay more for the product, or you can pay more for the shipping.

Or, you can go and pick it up yourself. I'm sure that any company would be happy to pack up your order and leave it out for you to come by and pick it up.

When it comes to specialized stuff, like banjo parts, I would say pay it if you want it. It is a struggle for these companies to make it so help them out and they will continue to provide quality products.

I've never made a huge amount of money at my "day job" so I have always tried to make my hobbies pay for themselves. The banjo thimbles and bridges I make and sell are part of the hobby. I pay all appropriate taxes on the small income, but what is left over is used to buy more tooling or banjo stuff (like the antique books and sheet music I scan and share). It is all done after hours and on weekends. But I like that people enjoy my products.

If I was trying to make a living at it, all of my prices would double and I would charge more than what it costs to ship. And I would also starve.

Aug 15, 2020 - 4:42:28 AM
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Brett

USA

2274 posts since 11/29/2005

Ive never seen brass hooks and nuts at bargain prices. I do understand wanting that aesthetic. Have you considered buying a brass rod and trying to fashion your own hooks, and thread them? I think I saw some brass nuts in those huge self help bins of hw at local box home repair store. They won’t be long nuts like we’re used to on mastertone style nuts for tension hoops.

Aug 15, 2020 - 5:25:50 AM

Fathand

Canada

11636 posts since 2/7/2008

I am in Canada, shipping is expensive here. Shipping small packages to the US is a minimum $14 but that is cheaper than shipping a parcel within Canada strangely. Add on the price of a box, tape, packing material and labour.

That said if I had to drive 70 miles to Toronto to pick up parts, I would be spending $20 for gas, $10 for parking and be gone for 4+ hours and probably buy lunch.
If I order from Luthiers Mercantile my shipping is a minimum $12 which is about $16 Cdn. Stew Mac charges more.
If you really like the parts from Canada or anywhere else, buy them all at once and only pay shipping once. That is the best way to economize on shipping.

Aug 15, 2020 - 5:47:43 AM

7581 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by 98v70dad
quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I sometimes think people complain too much about shipping. Although there are some retailers who clearly overcharge, one should always bear in mind that shipping doesn't simply involve the cost of postage, or whatever UPS and others charge. There is the time it takes to properly pack an item, time to print an invoice and an address label, the cost of boxes and other packing materials, and the cost of the printer that prints the labels and the ink cartridges it requires.

As far as shipping from a foreign country is concerned, there may be import duties and added shipping costs. A small company cannot simply add a brance in the US; that would involve hiring more personnel and a place to work from, which would have to be paid for, too. Plus, the items still would have to be shipped to that US location.


Of course you have to pay shipping.  Making next day overnight the only option is a bit much in my opinion.    


I did, in fact, state that some retailers clearly overcharge. Next day shipping as the only option does seem like an example of that. Perhaps there is something about the Canadian postal system that we don't know about that affects how shipping is handled.

Aug 15, 2020 - 8:09:59 AM

131 posts since 11/14/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Brett

Ive never seen brass hooks and nuts at bargain prices. I do understand wanting that aesthetic. Have you considered buying a brass rod and trying to fashion your own hooks, and thread them? I think I saw some brass nuts in those huge self help bins of hw at local box home repair store. They won’t be long nuts like we’re used to on mastertone style nuts for tension hoops.


You're right, I can make them.  I didn't really want to go that route but I may end up doing it.  I made a prototype hook with a 20D nail in 5 minutes.   Its easy enough. I'm assuming that making it from brass would be similar I don't care about the nuts being different, in fact its a hillbilly banjo so the simple and available anywhere fits the theme of it.  

The strike against making my own is I'll need better taps and dies than I currently have.  Those are expensive items (eeven if bought indivually) and I very rarely use them.

Aug 15, 2020 - 8:25:13 AM
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55376 posts since 12/14/2005

Do you have any pictures of the parts you already have?
The rim, the neck?
Or even drawings of your plan?

I'll help however I may.

Some time back, I was paid the extreme compliment of being called "the undisputed king of cobbling crap together".

Do you live anywhere near a MOTORCYCLE shop?

If you can get an old wheel, use the SPOKES.
They're hefty wire, already threaded, the nuts are right there.
Clip em and bend 'em.

Bicycle spokes ALSO work, though you'll need more of them.


Aug 15, 2020 - 8:26:03 AM

131 posts since 11/14/2018

I appreciate everyone's comments but want to focus the conversation on the original intent. This post was not intended to bash anyone for their shipping costs. The shipping cost is what discouraged me from buying from a particular vendor. He has nice stuff and his price was very good. He is a nice guy and he took the time to explain why he has only one option for shipping. I didn't like it because I wasted an hour of my time choosing hardware, but I understand his reasons. What he charges is his business. Literally.

I posted this to ask about lower cost hardware options. It turns out that it doesn't seem like there are a lot of options that meet my requirements. I'm leaning heavily toward making my own hooks, nuts and shoes. I found some cool brass skull beads (about the right size) that could be combined with some raw brass stock to make some unique shoes. Another idea was gargoyles like you see on very old buildings. Gargoyles are always sitting on something that looks like a banjo shoe.

These guys are really cool too.  12 of them puts them out of my price range though.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Twisted-Snake-Brass-Beads-Umbrella-Rope-Diy-Edc-Lanyard-Paracord-Accessories/402026861916?hash=item5d9aab155c:g:xukAAOSwv9peEwmW

Edited by - 98v70dad on 08/15/2020 08:36:35

Aug 15, 2020 - 8:31:49 AM

Brett

USA

2274 posts since 11/29/2005

You know, if you found a hex shaped piece of brass stock, that would make nice long nuts you could drill and thread for whatever fine thread size you wanted. You could take a foot long piece of brass hex rod, cut off 3/4 or so pieces on band saw, then drill them out and thread. So, you might find brass rod stock in some local craft store or hardware store maybe to save shipping.

Aug 15, 2020 - 9:05:37 AM

131 posts since 11/14/2018

mike gregory you have been extremely helpful. I appreciate all that you've helped me with so far. I haven't drawn up plans but have an idea of where I'm going in my head. I posted some pictures a while back. My progress has been extremely slow because I have several other projects going on. I work on a project until I get tired of it and move on to one of the other ones for awhile.

Aug 15, 2020 - 11:47:21 AM
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Alex Z

USA

3908 posts since 12/7/2006

"Was pretty happy with one place in Canada. I had everything selected and was ready to order until the MINIMUM shipping cost of $20 came up. Buy one tension nut for $3.25 pay $20 to ship it. I was told it was a business decision. My order was over $60.00 BEFORE the shipping cost."

From your comments rejecting everything (too good, too expensive, shiny, wasted an hour of my time, don't really want to make my own, shipping too expenseive, etc.) is possible that you cannot be satisfied by the current market.

However, from the above, looks like you've come within $20 of being completely satisfied, but you don't want to pay the $20 because it is called "shipping."

If your time is worth more than $20 per hour, take the first deal and save the time. smiley   Forget about how the $20 is labeled.

Aug 15, 2020 - 11:53:11 AM

rmcdow

USA

852 posts since 11/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by 98v70dad

I appreciate everyone's comments but want to focus the conversation on the original intent. This post was not intended to bash anyone for their shipping costs. The shipping cost is what discouraged me from buying from a particular vendor. He has nice stuff and his price was very good. He is a nice guy and he took the time to explain why he has only one option for shipping. I didn't like it because I wasted an hour of my time choosing hardware, but I understand his reasons. What he charges is his business. Literally.

I posted this to ask about lower cost hardware options. It turns out that it doesn't seem like there are a lot of options that meet my requirements. I'm leaning heavily toward making my own hooks, nuts and shoes. I found some cool brass skull beads (about the right size) that could be combined with some raw brass stock to make some unique shoes. Another idea was gargoyles like you see on very old buildings. Gargoyles are always sitting on something that looks like a banjo shoe.

These guys are really cool too.  12 of them puts them out of my price range though.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Twisted-Snake-Brass-Beads-Umbrella-Rope-Diy-Edc-Lanyard-Paracord-Accessories/402026861916?hash=item5d9aab155c:g:xukAAOSwv9peEwmW

 


If your primary consideration is to have brass and get something cheap, you might try McMaster Carr for the nuts, 8-32.  They aren't going to be long, but they are cheap and will work.

https://www.mcmaster.com/brass-nuts/hex-nuts/

Then for the hooks, get 8-32 screws, cut off the heads, and bend them over in a jig (I posted one type of jig a couple of weeks ago that is easy to make and would work for this, anneal before bending).  Flatten the face of the bent over part, and you have a hook.  

For the brackets, this gets a bit more experimental, in the fringes, and you will need to see if this will work for you.  10-32, and you will need a drill press and probably a torch to burn off the rubber.  The design is going to be a bit steam punk.  Drill a #8 hole through this (a #18 will work) perpendicular to the rivet, at the appropriate distance from the base that will be seated on your rim, and you might have a workable bracket.  You mentioned making your own brackets, and posted a link to the snake pieces on ebay.  I like the way you are thinking out of the box.

https://www.mcmaster.com/brass-nuts/rivet-nuts/

For the bolts to come through the rim and hold the bracket in place, go back to the slot head screws listed above and get a size that works with your rim thickness.  They can always be filed or cut down to fit the thickness of the rim.  You are going to want to use washers.  https://www.mcmaster.com/brass-washers/general-purpose-washers-8/

Since you want brass, you could use any or all of these to get a set for your banjo, and it would save you some time instead of fabrication everything yourself.  Going this way will mean you don't need a tap and die.

Aug 15, 2020 - 12:24:55 PM

rmcdow

USA

852 posts since 11/8/2014

You can also use standoff nuts, which are a bit taller, but more expensive.
mcmaster.com/brass-coupling-nu...ndoffs-6/

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