Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

623
Banjo Lovers Online


Apr 3, 2021 - 12:02:51 PM

moiliryc

France

9 posts since 4/3/2021

Hi banjo Hangout !

A friend of mine gave me a 30's Clifford Essex Banjolin to see if I could make something out of it. It's a pretty nice instrument with its original hardware, signed skin head, case etc...

Unfortunately the heel is broken (the reason it was given to me). The crack is very clean but it won't come back exactly where it should, unless I put a lot of pressure, wich wakes me think there's something in the way. Also, I saw something shiny inside the crack and assumed it was a screw holding the dowel stick in place.

My plan was to remove the screw(s) and dowel, clean the mess, glue the crack and put everything back in. So I carefully drilled out the pearl dot on the heel cap, thinking it would hide the screw head... but found nothing :-s I had read somewhere on this forum that Clifford Essex banjos had screws under the heel-cap, but that may not be the case on banjolins.
Any idea on how to repair this little baby ? Anybody seen one one those ?

I’m writing from France where there are very few banjo specialists, and I hope my english is clear enough.

Thank you

Cyril


Apr 4, 2021 - 4:28:05 PM

wtalley

USA

288 posts since 7/2/2010

The actual dowel portion on a dowel stick is only about 1" (25mm) long. You should have removed the dot closest to the rim.

If the screw is not under that dot, heel caps are not that hard to remove. Just use a clothes iron set on the highest heat and hold it on the heel cap for about 10 minutes. You can use a piece of aluminum foil between the iron and heel cap to keep the iron clean. Use a sharp knife and stick it between the cap and the neck on the rim side and try to force the knife between the two pieces. If it doesn't go in easily, use more heat. Since this is your first time doing this, it may take a few tries until your successful. At the worse, you can just use a woodcarver's gouge to carve the heel cap off and then make a new one to replace it.

If you need more details, PM me.

Apr 5, 2021 - 2:34:14 AM

moiliryc

France

9 posts since 4/3/2021

Thank you William, I'm gonna try this.

I was worried I'd have to remove the heel cap, but happy to know there's indeed a screw hiding somewhere !

Apr 5, 2021 - 7:42:25 AM
likes this

3922 posts since 4/29/2012
Online Now

I'd use a strong magnet to confirm that there is actually a screw there before I attempted further surgery.

Jul 9, 2021 - 2:36:27 PM

moiliryc

France

9 posts since 4/3/2021

After a few months, finally got my hand on an old clothes iron (I have to confess I never iron my shirts).

The heel cap went right off after 15 minutes and -SUCCESS- there was indeed a screw between the two pearl inlays (unfortunately butchered in vain). Now it's almost ready to be glued back in place and I'm thinking of adding another screw to secure the gluing. Is that a good idea ?

Also all I've got is regular wood glue, any contraindications ? I hope I won't have to pop it off again.

Thanks William (and Andrew, though the magnet trick didn't work out)

Jul 10, 2021 - 6:28:51 AM

6645 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD

I'd use a strong magnet to confirm that there is actually a screw there before I attempted further surgery.


The only two heel screws I have seen were brass.

Jul 10, 2021 - 6:42:47 AM
likes this

9176 posts since 8/28/2013

An extra screw could actually make things worse. The less drilling, the less damage will be done to the neck heel.

Regular wood glue should be fine.

Sep 12, 2021 - 1:05:58 PM
likes this

moiliryc

France

9 posts since 4/3/2021

And here are some news of the instrument.

Once the heel glued, the action was crazy high and I got my luthier friend to make and adjustable height system and now it plays like a charm (probably much better than in it's original condition).

The sound is suprisingly rich and chimy for a banjolin.

thanks for your advises

Cyril


Sep 15, 2021 - 7:43:52 AM

banjopaolo

Italy

1518 posts since 11/6/2008

Nice sound Cyril! very good

Sep 15, 2021 - 9:08:10 AM

9176 posts since 8/28/2013

For what it's worth, I only count four strings on your banjolin, which actually makes this what is usually called a "Melody Banjo." Banjolin is a term for an eight string banjo with strings tuned in pairs.

Yours sounds much nicer than most of the true banjolins I've encountered, probably because technically, it isn't one.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.296875