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Nov 26, 2020 - 7:24:14 AM
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46 posts since 3/24/2020

Has anyone tried running the grain vertical. I tried this on my good Tenor (mind you I reckon they're all good) & it sounds great. I just took a scrap of bamboo out of the bin & it sounds great!


 

Nov 26, 2020 - 7:32:06 AM
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4553 posts since 11/20/2004

I have read other posts by people trying it. I think the strength of going cross grain continues to win long term. The natural tendency to sag will be trying to split it.

Nov 26, 2020 - 7:55:37 AM

13594 posts since 10/30/2008

My dad got onto this idea back in the 1980s when he got some old piano wood. He started making bridges by hand for fun (they looked just like Grover bridges). He got the idea to make them with the grain vertical, and gave them to a number of my banjo friends. A couple of them got very excited by the sound they achieved, and used them exclusively for years. Including me.

They are very tender. If you grab them by the ends and try to slide them under string pressure, to improve intonation, they of course will crack in the middle. I think that's the main issue.

I use Snuffy Smith type, Sullivan roasted, and Huber bridges now. I ran out of Dad's bridges years ago.

Nov 26, 2020 - 8:14:38 AM

46 posts since 3/24/2020

I've been playing it for the last half hour & I'm surprised with how good it sounds! I wish I knew how to post a sound file. I think it should be strong enough by the design of it. Normally I make them with a horizontal grain, put them on & tune them in, this one just sounds the goods from scratch. All the strings are as clear as a bell. It's tuned GDAE (Irish), the strings haven't been changed since the Leinster Fleadh (July 2019) & feels like I put on a new set.

Nov 26, 2020 - 8:46 AM

5542 posts since 12/20/2005

If you laminate a piece of wood, with the grain running horizontal, to the piece running vertical, it will strengthen the bridge so that you don't have to worry about it splitting.

Nov 26, 2020 - 9:20:22 AM

8025 posts since 8/28/2013

Tonally, it may sound fine. Structurally I have doubts.  A thin hardwood cap with the grain running crosswise might help keep the strings from gradually cutting into the end grain without changing the sound drastically.

Nov 26, 2020 - 11:01:43 AM

Owen

Canada

7398 posts since 6/5/2011
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quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe

Has anyone tried running the grain vertical. I tried this on my good Tenor (mind you I reckon they're all good) & it sounds great. I just took a scrap of bamboo out of the bin & it sounds great!


Questioning whether a direct path for the vibrations from string to head would be better than "bouncing around" (?) within a bridge, I drilled holes in a couple or three of my crude [horizontal grain] homemade bridges and put vertical rods directly under each string [small diameter fiberglass rod on one, some "mystery" poly rod in one and aluminum rod in another].   

There was a difference in the sounds,, but the "tinniness" of my ear pretty much limited my findings to that.   ...and besides the tin ear, my physics is kinda iffy too.

Edited by - Owen on 11/26/2020 11:03:23

Nov 26, 2020 - 5:26:40 PM

2642 posts since 5/5/2004

Save your breath on this. Nobody will believe you.

Nov 26, 2020 - 6:07:02 PM
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Helix

USA

13252 posts since 8/30/2006

here's a bamboo with vertical grain. Jatoba top and midpiece. I call it Helix Hearts.  I've also tried diagonal bookmatched halves.


 

Edited by - Helix on 11/26/2020 18:09:30

Nov 27, 2020 - 5:23:41 AM

191 posts since 5/25/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

here's a bamboo with vertical grain. Jatoba top and midpiece. I call it Helix Hearts.  I've also tried diagonal bookmatched halves.


Is that engineered bamboo like they use for flooring? I have a lot of this stuff left over from our kitchen refit and it would be interesting to try making a bridge if it works? I'd even put up with the splinters.

Nov 27, 2020 - 6:03:29 AM
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Helix

USA

13252 posts since 8/30/2006

It's epoxy infused engineered bamboo flooring. Don't breath the aluminum oxide finish when skinning the planks, respirator needed.

Caution, there are two types, horizontal uses 5 laminations. I only use it for jigs, fixtures.

Vertical flooring stands 15 laminations on their side which gives it construction strength abilities. I only use vertical bamboo flooring for rims, necks, bridges, HO scale slot cars, inlays, shims, phonograph needles, so far. It is sustainable and grows again next year to feed Pandas. I have made trivets, cup holders, candle holders, and other useful household items like cheese cutter handles.

I know you are just looking into bridges, I don't mean to lecture. It was great to go get that photo with the horizontal Jatoba top.
I make Cherry bridges to soften a harsh Maple rim. I use Maple bridges to push Cherry rims a little further open.

I like to speak of trees as male and female, I'm not joking that much, I think they use each others' names by way of a root and fungus internet underground. 

An elder of mine here on the hangout answered me this way:   " The curly grain is for her strength."  What about the quilting?

"Quilting?   That's her stretch marks."  

This banjo work has reconnected me to growing and living things.

Safety.   If you are turning or sanding bamboo, use at least a mask if not a respirator.  Cystic Fibrosis is caused by little irritants that can't be repelled by your healthy self.  Want to play banjo?  Cover up.  My elder mentor thought he was going to make an (h)Jatoba neck with that cute little Safe-T-Planer that fits in the drill press.  The jagged sawdust permanently activated his asthma and almost put an end to his maverick banjo inventiveness. 

"fines" are tiny hardwood jagged particles that land on your eyelashes, and just like growing Habanero peppers, those are not metal pieces in your eye, or your hairs on your hands, or hairs in other "places."  I keep Saline and special eyedrops handy, Safety goggles and earphones are highly recommended.

I haven't encountered splinters with the flooring.  I cut the tongue in groove strips off and make cable bridges for the Incas, oops last night in your dreams. 


Nov 27, 2020 - 6:13:59 AM

191 posts since 5/25/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

It's epoxy infused engineered bamboo flooring. Don't breath the aluminum oxide finish when skinning the planks, respirator needed.

Caution, there are two types, horizontal uses 5 laminations. I only use it for jigs, fixtures.

Vertical flooring stands 15 laminations on their side which gives it construction strength abilities. I only use vertical bamboo flooring for rims, necks, bridges, HO scale slot cars, inlays, shims, phonograph needles, so far. It is sustainable and grows again next year to feed Pandas. I have made trivets, cup holders, candle holders, and other useful household items like cheese cutter handles.

I know you are just looking into bridges, I don't mean to lecture. It was great to go get that photo with the horizontal Jatoba top.
I make Cherry bridges to soften a harsh Maple rim. I use Maple bridges to push Cherry rims a little further open.

I like to speak of trees as male and female, I'm not joking that much, I think they use each others' names by way of a root and fungus internet underground. 

An elder of mine here on the hangout answered me this way:   " The curly grain is for her strength."  What about the quilting?

"Quilting?   That's her stretch marks."  

This banjo work has reconnected me to growing and living things.

Safety.   If you are turning or sanding bamboo, use at least a mask if not a respirator.  Cystic Fibrosis is caused by little irritants that can't be repelled by your healthy self.  Want to play banjo?  Cover up.  My elder mentor thought he was going to make an (h)Jatoba neck with that cute little Safe-T-Planer that fits in the drill press.  The jagged sawdust permanently activated his asthma and almost put an end to his maverick banjo inventiveness. 

"fines" are tiny hardwood jagged particles that land on your eyelashes, and just like growing Habanero peppers, those are not metal pieces in your eye, or your hairs on your hands, or hairs in other "places."  I keep Saline and special eyedrops handy, Safety goggles and earphones are highly recommended.

I haven't encountered splinters with the flooring.  I cut the tongue in groove strips off and make cable bridges for the Incas, oops last night in your dreams. 


Yikes! Sounds unpleasant. Think I'll leave that well alone. I've made bridges for 3 banjos out of a well-dried apple tree pruning that worked really well. Really loud but quite rounded tone.

Edited by - gentrixuk on 11/27/2020 06:17:11

Nov 27, 2020 - 6:44:55 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13252 posts since 8/30/2006

People trade Lilac, Dogwood, Persimmon, Crabapple and other exotic trees and shrubs that become woody.

Use what you want, I love Apple , it is fine sounding wood.

Take dust precautions for any type of woodworking you are doing.

Other people here have ears to hear, so thanks for letting me contribute. Yikes is the wrong answer.

Nov 27, 2020 - 9:29:12 AM
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6755 posts since 12/5/2007

Here are a few vertical grain bridges that I built out of engineered bamboo flooring samples that I got from Lumber Liquidators.  They turned out fine and, as far as I know, 12 years later, they are still doing fine.


Nov 27, 2020 - 10:55:08 AM
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2224 posts since 1/16/2010

I’ve got a really good Purcell vertical grain bridge. They’re not as common, but been around a long time.

Nov 28, 2020 - 1:55:49 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13252 posts since 8/30/2006

martyjoe I was hoping Xnavyguy would chime in. I still have one of his bamboo bridges like the one in the front of the 2nd photo.

I love it when new things look a century old.

Hey, Jerry nice to hear you.

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