Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

440
Banjo Lovers Online


Oct 30, 2020 - 11:56:26 AM
3 posts since 10/30/2020

Hi Folks. I have started to refurbish an inherited family Zither banjo with the intention of starting to learn to play. Have met a problem . The "5th string "tunnel" is blocked around half way. Can get at it with wire from either end but blocked solid in middle. Blockage does not appear to be too long but won't budge. Have tried getting a few drops of WD 40 down to try to soften but made no difference. Has anybody a suggestion as to how I might resolve. Would genuinely appreciate any advice.
Thanks. Derek

Oct 30, 2020 - 1:36:07 PM

2466 posts since 3/30/2008

...Call Roto-Rooter !   ( seriously though, I wonder if one could take an old string of a certain diameter, hook it up to a dremel, & clear out a path.  However,  I can also envision this  as worsening the problem.)

Edited by - tdennis on 10/30/2020 13:49:32

Oct 30, 2020 - 5:00:07 PM
like this

7858 posts since 8/28/2013

If you knew just what was blocking the tunnel, there might be something that could be used to dissolve it, or at least soften it enough to break it loose. Also, examine the neck for dents over the fifth string area; the tunnel may have been crushed if there is heavy neck or fretboard damage. WD 40 won't do either.

Before doing anything, I'd push a wire down from the peghead and mark where it stops, then do the same at the other end. By comparing the total of those two measurements with the overall length of the tunnel you can determine just how large the blockage is, which may influence how to approach the problem.

Another thing you might try is compressed air.
 

Oct 30, 2020 - 5:10 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11043 posts since 6/29/2003
Online Now

I could suggest you get a piece of flexible wire or solid plastic rod large enough to fit down the tube from the fretboard end and try and force the obstruction back towards the peghead end of the tube (being the straightest). Just my 2c worth.

Oct 30, 2020 - 7:05:31 PM

Bart Veerman

Canada

4748 posts since 1/5/2005

What George said.
For poking through, try the plastic nozzle of a spray can.

Oct 30, 2020 - 7:15:17 PM

55994 posts since 12/14/2005

Would weed trimmer line be stiff enough?

Some of them are not round, but have sharp edges.


Plus: You can snip it off when it hits the block, leave an inch or so, chuck it in a drill, and there's your

Malibu Barbie (TM) Roto Rooter (TM) service technician!

Edited by - mike gregory on 10/30/2020 19:19:09

Oct 30, 2020 - 7:48:04 PM

87 posts since 7/5/2010

Drill bit narrow enough to fit in the tunnel, long enough to tap on end against blockage.

Nov 1, 2020 - 5:14:46 AM
like this

3 posts since 10/30/2020

HI Folks
Many thanks for all responses. I have had a success.
I firstly passed through a thin banjo string from both ends and was able to measure exactly where the blockage was. It was clearly of very short length but would not budge.
I dripped in some caustic soda via a thin wire and left overnight in the hope it might dissolve whatever was causing blockage but didn't at first appear to have had any benefit ( although maybe it actually did).
I then managed to get some strong thin wire ( quite rigid). I filed one end to a sharp point and then pushed it in from peg end as far as it would go until it hit the blockage. I then attached the other to my diy drill. On very slow drill speed I turned the wire for a couple of minutes while trying to keep under pressure against the blockage. I then tried the tunnel with a thin banjo string and hey presto the wire drill idea had created just enough gap in the blockage for the thin string to go through and out. I was then , by holding each end of the string able to do a pull-through back-and-forward movement to free up whatever was causing the blockage ( bits of residue which looked like copper came through). I repeated the exercise by increasing the string size each time and each time I achieved greater movement until tunnel was cleared enough to take large gauge string.
Really really happy to get through this way as only alternative seemed to be drilling through the neck. ( aagghhh!)
Now I can get back to the refurbishment job, and, in time, to hopefully learning to play the thing. After this episode I am tempted to compose a one string polka ( "Air on an Fifth String")
Cheers
Derek

Nov 1, 2020 - 11:57:28 AM

banjonz

New Zealand

11043 posts since 6/29/2003
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by derekjb

HI Folks
Many thanks for all responses. I have had a success.
I firstly passed through a thin banjo string from both ends and was able to measure exactly where the blockage was. It was clearly of very short length but would not budge.
I dripped in some caustic soda via a thin wire and left overnight in the hope it might dissolve whatever was causing blockage but didn't at first appear to have had any benefit ( although maybe it actually did).
I then managed to get some strong thin wire ( quite rigid). I filed one end to a sharp point and then pushed it in from peg end as far as it would go until it hit the blockage. I then attached the other to my diy drill. On very slow drill speed I turned the wire for a couple of minutes while trying to keep under pressure against the blockage. I then tried the tunnel with a thin banjo string and hey presto the wire drill idea had created just enough gap in the blockage for the thin string to go through and out. I was then , by holding each end of the string able to do a pull-through back-and-forward movement to free up whatever was causing the blockage ( bits of residue which looked like copper came through). I repeated the exercise by increasing the string size each time and each time I achieved greater movement until tunnel was cleared enough to take large gauge string.
Really really happy to get through this way as only alternative seemed to be drilling through the neck. ( aagghhh!)
Now I can get back to the refurbishment job, and, in time, to hopefully learning to play the thing. After this episode I am tempted to compose a one string polka ( "Air on an Fifth String")
Cheers
Derek


Well done!

Nov 1, 2020 - 12:17:12 PM

55994 posts since 12/14/2005

Before you compose the  an original, how about a short version of the refrain from "DRILL YE TARRIERS, DRILL!"?

 

Nov 1, 2020 - 12:53:46 PM
likes this

7858 posts since 8/28/2013

I'm glad you got the job done. I do have to caution you that caustic soda is pretty strong stuff (one of it's uses is for cleaning septic tanks and cesspools), and I hope you cleaned that out well, too. Any caustc sode residue could continue to eat away at that 5th string tunnel.

Nov 2, 2020 - 6:38:43 AM

3 posts since 10/30/2020

Thanks again for all responses.
Appreciated

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.203125