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Feb 22, 2021 - 1:52:05 PM
27 posts since 4/24/2009

I have a tear in the very edge of the 150 yr old hide head at the junction of the flesh hoop. I heard it happen with tightening and can see light peaking in if I look just between the edge of the head and tension hoop.

I wonder if it’s still salvageable as it does not show on the velum that is stretched across the tone ring. But at some point I will probably need to tighten the head and BEFORE I do that and risk more tearing... wonder if there is anything I can fix it with??

Feb 22, 2021 - 2:31:05 PM
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2555 posts since 3/30/2008

A small tear or hole can be repaired if it is located on the head, in from the edge, but I've not had success w/ any tear on the bearing edge area. I consider that a goner, repairs will not hold & the area will get worse. Save the head for a banjo uke & get a new head for your 5 string.

Feb 22, 2021 - 3:26:38 PM


New Zealand

11115 posts since 6/29/2003

I agree with tdennis. I have replaced heaps of vellums because they split at the edge. Most of them have rusted through because the ring it bears on was steel. 150 years life isn't bad. Replace it and use the old one for something smaller. I do.

Feb 23, 2021 - 5:22:42 AM
Players Union Member



13770 posts since 8/30/2006

The neck and tuners are like tires on a car.

The rim is the motor and you need a new part to restore it.

This project had a zinc coated flesh hoop. I used lacquer to clear coat and waterproof the hoop.

Feb 23, 2021 - 12:20:28 PM

55 posts since 10/23/2016

Unfortunately, I also agree....It is very possible to repair small holes and tears in the face of a skin/vellum head with super-glue and a scrap of old banjo head, but I can't see how it could work on the edge /rim or around the flesh hoop; I'd have to see the actual tear to be sure.
Likely you'll need to replace he head. When you do, consider using plastic weed-whacker cord for the flesh hoop, instead of the original steel one. As Wayne mentioned above, often the damage is caused by the raw steel flesh hoop rusting and weakening the skin where it contacts it. I use a piece of squarish-profiled weed-trimmer cord, about 1/8" diameter. I join the two ends to make the necessary circle using heat-shrink tubing (the same stuff I use for sealing/protecting joints in pickup wiring). It works great, and won't rust!

Feb 23, 2021 - 12:37:44 PM



22267 posts since 7/6/2005

You can repair small tears and holes in a hide head using a small patch of similar maerial secured with hot animal hide glue. It will never be pretty and it may tear again.

Edited by - beegee on 02/23/2021 12:38:07

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