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Oct 18, 2020 - 12:58:05 PM
26 posts since 9/20/2020

So I found a 4 string Stewart that had been hanging on someone’s wall...it’s not in great shape, but it was $35. The dowel rod had separated from the neck, and some other issues.. I cleaned, the dowel rod and stuck it back in the neck, and apparently must have had some moisture on it, or, it’s been raining here a lot...anyway, I got lucky, or unlucky, the rod is lined up correctly, as far as being ‘square’...but I had it jammed all the way in the hole in the neck, and now it’s a tad less than 1/16” from the far inside wall of the ring. I don’t know if this is so bad...it’s about that much out of round, and if I forced the two pieces to meet...well, it would be round again... do I do this with the dowel screw? Heat it up, and pull the dowel rod back out so it meets? The tension ring still fits without rubbing a side. Did the hide glue left in the hole reactivate enough so that it won’t pop back apart? Help




Oct 18, 2020 - 2:48:04 PM
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7811 posts since 1/7/2005

An easy solution would be to add a ferrule to the end of the dowel stick.

https://balsambanjoworks.com/product/ferrule/

Oct 18, 2020 - 3:01:34 PM
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3333 posts since 5/29/2011

Let's see if I can answer all the questions rationally.
1) The dowel stick does not just stick in the hole, it must be glued in. Hot hide glue is the most favored glue for this but it is not feasible for everyone to use. I use Elmer's yellow wood glue. Make sure the square stick is square to the neck before it dries because it will never come loose with yellow glue. I glue the stick in the neck then put it on the rim to dry. Make sure it is adjusted to the right angle and also make sure it is not twisted. A piece of wax paper between the neck heel and the rim will keep them from getting stuck together.
2) The square dowel not reaching the other side of the rim is not a big problem. Be careful if you try to screw the tailpiece holder in tight enough to pull the rim back to round. You could strip out the hole in the stick. If it works,OK. If not, try putting a flat washer or a thin wooden shim between the dowel stick and rim.
3) Lots of old rims have been warped out of round over the years. The tension hoop may or may not have warped with the rim. As long as it does not bind anywhere you should be in business.
I hope I covered everything and I hope it made sense.

Edited by - Culloden on 10/18/2020 15:02:50

Oct 18, 2020 - 3:58:13 PM

BugsyJR

USA

26 posts since 9/20/2020

Thank you! Y’all awesome for answering my question! I tried the end screw, and it pulled it right in! I worry too much...

Oct 18, 2020 - 8:31:46 PM
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beegee

USA

21892 posts since 7/6/2005

I would consider a new 5-string neck for it.

Oct 18, 2020 - 10:20:06 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23968 posts since 6/25/2005

You could always hang it on the wall.devil

Oct 19, 2020 - 7:49:02 AM

BugsyJR

USA

26 posts since 9/20/2020

beegee I hadn't thought of that! That is an idea.
Bill Rogers I'd rather make it playable...if possible.

Oct 19, 2020 - 8:30:14 AM
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hbick2

USA

262 posts since 6/26/2004

Be sure to tighten down whatever neck attachment hardware came with the banjo. This is what pulls the heel tight against the rim, not the end screw.

Oct 21, 2020 - 6:09:41 AM

BugsyJR

USA

26 posts since 9/20/2020

hbick2 I have it apart right now, it needs other work done to it before I can put it back together. I was just shocked that the little bit of moisture on the dowel when I put it back into the neck cemented it back together. The neck and dowel (now together, for better or worse) are no longer screwed into the ring. The finish on the wood was so gummy, and gross I cleaned it with acetone and a cotton swab. About the only thing that would get off whatever it was that the previous owner allowed to settle on it. you can now see the wood grain, and it has retained a bit of the sheen from the original finish. I plan to put a thin waterproof protecting coat on the now clean wood so I can mount a new hide on it without worry of the wet hide causing problems.

Oct 21, 2020 - 6:36:51 AM

474 posts since 2/15/2015
Online Now

Perhaps a hide head...

Additionally...
(IMHO) Too many 4 string (tenor) banjo's have been slaughtered by retrofitting 5 string necks on them. I play both, and consider retrofitting a new 5 string neck or altering a 4 string neck is at best, a compromise.

Acetone is pretty strong, luthiers recommend naphtha (aka lighter fluid or camp stove fuel, which is white gas), as it doesn't take up finishes, even  antique finishes.  Naphtha is sold in the paint supply sections at home improvement centers. 

I wouldn't recommend any modern polyurethane sealers, avoid modern waxes as they have silicon ingredients, if anything... boiled linseed oil would probably be a good choice or maybe a natural lemon oil.

Edited by - geoB on 10/21/2020 06:50:29

Oct 21, 2020 - 10:03:52 AM
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7733 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by BugsyJR

hbick2 I have it apart right now, it needs other work done to it before I can put it back together. I was just shocked that the little bit of moisture on the dowel when I put it back into the neck cemented it back together. The neck and dowel (now together, for better or worse) are no longer screwed into the ring. The finish on the wood was so gummy, and gross I cleaned it with acetone and a cotton swab. About the only thing that would get off whatever it was that the previous owner allowed to settle on it. you can now see the wood grain, and it has retained a bit of the sheen from the original finish. I plan to put a thin waterproof protecting coat on the now clean wood so I can mount a new hide on it without worry of the wet hide causing problems.


That little bit of moisture probably didn't cement the dowel and neck back together, and I'd expect trouble, such as a wobbly neck, in the not-too-distant future. 

I'd pull it apart again, clean the parts of old glue, and re-glue the joint properly.

Oct 21, 2020 - 2:38:20 PM

BugsyJR

USA

26 posts since 9/20/2020

I’ve tried! And tried! Hahaha
If it gets wobbly, I will be happy, that means I could get it back apart! I’ll keep trying! I’ve got a lot of work to do on it before it’s playable, time is totally on my side as I have no one but myself to get it done for. And I’m just now taking my second lesson on a 5 string. If it takes me 2 years to get this old wall hanger ‘right’ well, that’s OK too, I have no deadline.

Oct 21, 2020 - 2:45:02 PM
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101 posts since 5/14/2014

I agree with you!

Oct 21, 2020 - 2:50:10 PM

BugsyJR

USA

26 posts since 9/20/2020

quote:
Originally posted by geoB

Perhaps a hide head...

Additionally...
(IMHO) Too many 4 string (tenor) banjo's have been slaughtered by retrofitting 5 string necks on them. I play both, and consider retrofitting a new 5 string neck or altering a 4 string neck is at best, a compromise.

Acetone is pretty strong, luthiers recommend naphtha (aka lighter fluid or camp stove fuel, which is white gas), as it doesn't take up finishes, even  antique finishes.  Naphtha is sold in the paint supply sections at home improvement centers. 

I wouldn't recommend any modern polyurethane sealers, avoid modern waxes as they have silicon ingredients, if anything... boiled linseed oil would probably be a good choice or maybe a natural lemon oil.


I had a enlightening experience with boiled linseed oil and a rag once. I smelled it heating up and threw it outside into the snow. It lit up on its way down from my back porch. It was a bit scary!  I wanted to avoid waxes because I do want to put a real hide on it. The acetone did not take it down to bare wood, it still has a good sheen on it. Shellac I'm guessing. I have both Shellac and polyeurethane, there is a large wood working store near me where I can get shellac flakes, but I'm afraid if I go through all that effort, the wet hide will leave what I just washed off. There is still a lighter band of wood where the old tension ring/hide was.   It wasn't a leather top, and it was split when I got it...no guilt taking it off and scrapping it. 

Oct 21, 2020 - 6:33:25 PM
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7733 posts since 8/28/2013

Your probably lucky the acetone didn't remove everything, including glue joints. It may have worked this time, but it's not a product that should be used on finishes. A little moisture isn't going to ruin the shellac (actually it was probably French Polished, which is done with shellac mixed with something else). The head had to be installed originally, and it didn't hurt it then. The lighter wood is because that area was covered by head, flesh hoop, and tension hoop, so it didn't oxidize like the exposed wood; it's not lighter because the factory didn't put a finish on it.

Please don't use polyurethane.

For what it's worth, hide heads are not leather, as they are not tanned.

Oct 22, 2020 - 8:39:33 AM

BugsyJR

USA

26 posts since 9/20/2020

Thank You all for the information! I appreciate you taking the time to help a gal out!

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