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Apr 15, 2021 - 5:04:06 PM

ragalb

Canada

77 posts since 1/27/2021

I'm wondering if it's possible to make a rim (for a tackhead) by hand. I've made a mountain banjo have ideas to make a couple more gonna make a gourd but I also want to try my hand at a tackhead with a proper wooden rim eventually. I have only a drill and hand tools. Power tools are not an option (apartment living with roommates, neighbours, thin walls) plus I like doing it by hand.

My thought was cutting out circles with a coping saw and gluing them together. Kind of like on the mountain banjo I screwed together two 1/2 inch pieces with the 1 inch center hoop. Here I would instead do something like make 1/2 " wide circles of total 12" diameter and glue several of these together to achieve whatever depth maybe 2- 2.5"... Could this work or is there something I'm missing? Obviously it would be kind of tedious to construct but that's okay. I would really prefer to make my own rim than buy one, use a salad bowl, drum shell etc. If there's a better way that still doesn't necessitate power tools I am all ears.

Apr 15, 2021 - 5:43 PM
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1126 posts since 1/9/2012

You're talking tackhead and not masterclone. So, the issue is having something that will hold the head rather than compete for a blue ribbon. I made my first banjo as a teen. The rim was laminated maple veneer. Veneer is easy to bend after soaking in the tub. I glued it layer by layer inside a plywood form that had an 11" D circular cut-out. The clamps were homemade. I made the form on a band saw at school, but you might imagine something else. For a tack head, it needn't be exactly 11" nor exactly round. So, you could build up layers on the outside of an appropriately sized form. Building it outward, the "clamping" could be done with twine around and around -- easily tightened. I made mine some 57 years ago. The accompanying photos are current.




Apr 15, 2021 - 6:12:28 PM

ragalb

Canada

77 posts since 1/27/2021

That's a really interesting method! I hadn't considered that. If yours is still going after 50+ years that sounds good to me. I may have to try that. It does sound easier than my idea

Apr 16, 2021 - 3:19:42 AM
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Helix

USA

13963 posts since 8/30/2006

All the different types of rims still fit into something like 1.8 board feet.

A simple rim can be made from four 2x4"s formed into a square with four 90 degree reinforcing glue blocks. You lay it out on paper to get your 12". A simple handsaw is used to trim the corners off and round up your new rim. Then use a 50 grit belt sander belt like a shoe shine rag and get accuracy down to .001.

Many people here on the hangout have wide and various diversity in their professional lives beside playing or building the banjos.

A six piece rim uses a 120 degree glue block.
An eight piece uses a 135 degree glue block and is ideal proportionately in all sizes from 8" to 14+".
A ten piece rim in block form is approaching inflexibility of shorter pieces which is a very good thing.

Mr. Politzer has a nice empire standard type of rim, see some small characteristic delaminations. 57 years is good.
100 years is my personal goal.

A lammy is a horizontal buildup of layers.
A brick rim can use as many as 18 and more little bricks.
A brick rim is a vertical buildup of layers or tiers.

Then a block rim can have as few as 4 sides, but 8 is as strong as a masonry arch form holding up tons of granite, because that's what the 8-piece block rim is: a masonry form with the circle completed to make a sturdy, architectural type of banjo rim = Century Modern, something new.

I'll start another thread with some crude graphics showing different types of rims and how the grain run is used in each type of rim. They all make music. The Columbia and Stewart 2 tier block rims are still round more than a century later.

This should help you decide how best to construct with hand tools.

I did the same thing when I started, I was new to this and a quick study.
I learned all the hand processes first so I could work when there's a power failure. I even have a buck saw.

I like David's idea of using masonry twine as a strap clamp, works perfectly for years for me.


Edited by - Helix on 04/16/2021 03:23:01

Apr 16, 2021 - 3:19:44 AM
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4568 posts since 9/7/2009

I made some of my first mini banjos the way you described, but they are not tack head, and the rim is only 6 and 1/2". I used 1/2" hard rock maple, and glued each layer cross grained. Here are some pictures. You could always glue a veneer to the inside and/or outside to cover up the  or strengthen the laminations, but the stripped pattern of the maple looked really nice once the finish was applied. There are more pictures on my home page.

Note: some of these pictures are using 1/2" maple, and the others using 1/4" maple... two different banjos.


Edited by - BNJOMAKR on 04/16/2021 03:26:30

Apr 16, 2021 - 3:27:22 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13963 posts since 8/30/2006

Good work Marvin
Working simple is hard.

Apr 16, 2021 - 5:30:42 AM
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1737 posts since 6/2/2010

The easiest and cheapest rim for a tackhead banjo is a wooden salad bowl from a thrift store. They usually cost between $2 - $5.

Apr 16, 2021 - 5:39:16 AM

Fathand

Canada

11739 posts since 2/7/2008

Tackheads are or were often made using a cheesebox, grain measure or shaker bentwood box. Google pics of these items to get the idea.

Like a gourd banjo, the rim of a tackhead does not need a lot of strength because the neck is attached to the dowel is attached to the tailpiece. They do not need to be perfectly round either. 1/4" thick would be plenty.  Oak is one of the easier woods to bend, is strong and looks good.

I found this that might help. https://www.canadianwoodworking.com/plans-projects/shaker-bentwood-box

Apr 16, 2021 - 5:43:20 AM

Fathand

Canada

11739 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by BNJOMAKR

I made some of my first mini banjos the way you described, but they are not tack head, and the rim is only 6 and 1/2". I used 1/2" hard rock maple, and glued each layer cross grained. Here are some pictures. You could always glue a veneer to the inside and/or outside to cover up the  or strengthen the laminations, but the stripped pattern of the maple looked really nice once the finish was applied. There are more pictures on my home page.


This is a variation of the method in the Scruggs book which uses multiple strips instead of wide boards to create a similar rim.

Apr 16, 2021 - 5:54:38 AM

lapsteel

Canada

525 posts since 8/13/2015

Irving Sloane’s book shows how he made a plywood doughnut from veneers.

Apr 16, 2021 - 6:52:01 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13963 posts since 8/30/2006

Read up He says he doesn't want to use a salad bowl, otherwise he would have croutons.

Apr 16, 2021 - 9:00:36 AM
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Helix

USA

13963 posts since 8/30/2006

3 coils of 1” rope can be cast in resin, forms are easy

Pen blanks can be bought and glued up into rim pieces of such as Cocobolo

Ticonderoga #2 pencils can be ordered with just the bare wood

Their hexagonal shape is stable like honeycomb
So unpainted pencils can be glued together to make banjo rim pieces

Graphite assisted Cedar is hard to do otherwise

Oops

Apr 16, 2021 - 11:02:55 AM

ragalb

Canada

77 posts since 1/27/2021

quote:
Originally posted by BNJOMAKR

I made some of my first mini banjos the way you described, but they are not tack head, and the rim is only 6 and 1/2". I used 1/2" hard rock maple, and glued each layer cross grained. Here are some pictures. You could always glue a veneer to the inside and/or outside to cover up the  or strengthen the laminations, but the stripped pattern of the maple looked really nice once the finish was applied. There are more pictures on my home page.

Note: some of these pictures are using 1/2" maple, and the others using 1/4" maple... two different banjos.


Those look really great. It's nice to see that it can work this way. Yes I like the striped look too

Apr 16, 2021 - 11:11:28 AM

ragalb

Canada

77 posts since 1/27/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

All the different types of rims still fit into something like 1.8 board feet.

A simple rim can be made from four 2x4"s formed into a square with four 90 degree reinforcing glue blocks. You lay it out on paper to get your 12". A simple handsaw is used to trim the corners off and round up your new rim. Then use a 50 grit belt sander belt like a shoe shine rag and get accuracy down to .001.

Many people here on the hangout have wide and various diversity in their professional lives beside playing or building the banjos.

A six piece rim uses a 120 degree glue block.
An eight piece uses a 135 degree glue block and is ideal proportionately in all sizes from 8" to 14+".
A ten piece rim in block form is approaching inflexibility of shorter pieces which is a very good thing.

Mr. Politzer has a nice empire standard type of rim, see some small characteristic delaminations. 57 years is good.
100 years is my personal goal.

A lammy is a horizontal buildup of layers.
A brick rim can use as many as 18 and more little bricks.
A brick rim is a vertical buildup of layers or tiers.

Then a block rim can have as few as 4 sides, but 8 is as strong as a masonry arch form holding up tons of granite, because that's what the 8-piece block rim is: a masonry form with the circle completed to make a sturdy, architectural type of banjo rim = Century Modern, something new.

I'll start another thread with some crude graphics showing different types of rims and how the grain run is used in each type of rim. They all make music. The Columbia and Stewart 2 tier block rims are still round more than a century later.

This should help you decide how best to construct with hand tools.

I did the same thing when I started, I was new to this and a quick study.
I learned all the hand processes first so I could work when there's a power failure. I even have a buck saw.

I like David's idea of using masonry twine as a strap clamp, works perfectly for years for me.

Thank you for the detailed reply. To be sure I've understood correctly, is this what you mean by the first example with the 2x4s?                                                                                                                                                                                    


 

Apr 16, 2021 - 2:14:17 PM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13963 posts since 8/30/2006

Exactly

Apr 17, 2021 - 8:07:19 AM
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Players Union Member

wizofos

USA

5941 posts since 8/19/2012

You might consider using a 12x12 piece of 2x12 lumber then cut out the center. This would give you a 1 1/2 " deep rim. 2 pieces of 1x2 glued together would work as well. More if you want a thicker rim

I saw a guitar maker in Mexico use strips of truck inner tube wrapped around a guitar body instead of clamps to glue a guitar back on to the sides. You might consider that instead of clamps. You can generally get old truck inner tubes at a tire shop that fixes truck tires. You can also get a ratcheting band clamp from Harbor Freight for $7 US.

Apr 17, 2021 - 9:56:23 AM

1126 posts since 1/9/2012

The "delamination" of the rim I pictured (far above) were there at the outset. Nothing has moved since. They were a consequence of adding layers inside and using primitive, homemade clamps.

Apr 17, 2021 - 4:17:33 PM
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conic

England

887 posts since 2/15/2014

this craftsman cam make a good one

Apr 17, 2021 - 6:07:36 PM
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QldPicker

Australia

311 posts since 4/17/2020

Amazing skills.
PPE, safe work practices, and working environment might not pass muster though!laugh

Apr 18, 2021 - 3:41:42 AM
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2308 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by lapsteel

Irving Sloane’s book shows how he made a plywood doughnut from veneers.



Yes, and in my version of Sloane's book, he  also mentions using a brake drum as a form. If you're not too fussy about getting an exact  size, brake drums can be had for cheap.  

Apr 18, 2021 - 5:28:16 AM

lapsteel

Canada

525 posts since 8/13/2015

I made my form from layers of 3/4 inch plywood glued and screwed together. I lined it with an old bicycle tire tube.

Apr 18, 2021 - 5:41:20 AM
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lapsteel

Canada

525 posts since 8/13/2015

Here’s a photo:


 

Apr 24, 2021 - 7:46:45 AM
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2562 posts since 6/19/2008

As far as thrift store rims go, I've had much more luck with aluminum pots and frying pans than I've had with wooden salad bowls. The bowls tend to split when you drive in the tacks - or as the head shrinks. I substitute sheet metal screws for tacks when I use a frying pan. You need to drill pilot holes for the screws. Using a washer on each screw prevents it from twisting up the rawhide.


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