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Oct 21, 2021 - 10:03:24 AM
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8 posts since 9/7/2021

I’m building a banjo building 101 banjo with some minor changes due to equipment limitations. I’m about ready to finish the neck and I was wondering why the dowel has a taper? Does anybody know why I can’t leave the dowel 1 1/2 inches without the taper?

Oct 21, 2021 - 11:09:46 AM
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AldenS

Canada

155 posts since 10/23/2017

Two things:

1) 1.5" is unusually thick for a dowel stick, even at the thick end. A dowel stick that is 1.5" thick at the tailpiece end where it meets the inside of the rim will either need to be carved at the end to accommodate the curvature of the rim or have a flat bottomed hole chiseled into the rim for the end to sit in. This isn't really an issue with a dowel that tapers down to 1/2" or 5/8".

2) The taper isn't necessary so long as the rest of the design is adjusted accordingly. In particular, some designs (e.g. Vega style) taper more on one face than the other, which impacts the height of the end bolt on the rim. For the same reason, you'll also want to make sure that not tapering doesn't affect the angle at which the round end of the dowel enters the neck, or account for that if so. So long as you are sure of your measurements/calculations with regard to neck angle and where the end bolt will be then there's no need to taper.

Edited by - AldenS on 10/21/2021 11:18:54

Oct 21, 2021 - 12:16:33 PM

mbanza

USA

2403 posts since 9/16/2007

The reason dowel sticks are tapered is that they look far better than those that don't taper. Visualize the difference between tapered chair legs and un-tapered ones.

Oct 21, 2021 - 12:32:24 PM

Richard Elmes

England

28 posts since 11/1/2016

Partly I guess because it passes through the the rim square hole a lot easier

Oct 22, 2021 - 1:58:45 PM

14020 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Elmes

Partly I guess because it passes through the the rim square hole a lot easier


That's a good point—even a normal dowel hole weakens the rim a lot, a 1 1/2" one would not be good.

Oct 22, 2021 - 6:32:51 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14793 posts since 8/30/2006

And the Harmony Bakelites used the round dowel all the way back

Square also makes it easier to keep the fingerboard level

Oct 22, 2021 - 7:33:51 PM

PaulRF

Australia

3256 posts since 2/1/2012
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quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Elmes

Partly I guess because it passes through the the rim square hole a lot easier


That's a good point—even a normal dowel hole weakens the rim a lot, a 1 1/2" one would not be good.


Does the Rudy rod help this?

Paul

Oct 22, 2021 - 8:22:05 PM

PaulRF

Australia

3256 posts since 2/1/2012
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quote:
Originally posted by Helix

And the Harmony Bakelites used the round dowel all the way back

Square also makes it easier to keep the fingerboard level


Always thought of dowel being used in ply rims but didn't know about the bakelikes.  Are they popular with block rims as well?

Pau

Oct 23, 2021 - 4:16:40 AM
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14020 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by PaulRF
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Elmes

Partly I guess because it passes through the the rim square hole a lot easier


That's a good point—even a normal dowel hole weakens the rim a lot, a 1 1/2" one would not be good.


Does the Rudy rod help this?

Paul


A Rudy rod type arrangement or normal rim rods help this a lot because they only need one or two 1/4" holes to attach the neck.

Oct 23, 2021 - 5:05:34 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14793 posts since 8/30/2006

I have just finished building a longneck for a Harmony Bakelite, he had the resonator, so I had to locate a conduit wall hanger to attach to the round dowel to mount the rez.

 Are they popular with block rims as well?  I'm not sure I understand,  I'm not fond of dowels, tapered or otherwise.

The Rudy Rod is a good and workable re-adaptation, that's what he does best.  I wish he would get over it. 

Oct 23, 2021 - 5:34:49 AM
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14020 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by PaulRF
quote:
Originally posted by Helix

And the Harmony Bakelites used the round dowel all the way back

Square also makes it easier to keep the fingerboard level


Always thought of dowel being used in ply rims but didn't know about the bakelikes.  Are they popular with block rims as well?

Pau


I don't think dowel sticks are "popular" at all any more except in the case of real traditionalists and historic restorations. They are very difficult to adjust in any way, stressing the part of the rim weakened by the square hole, and the builder decides what the bridge height is going to be, which after that is tough to change by the player—you read about it all the time on this forum.

I know nothing about the strength characteristics of bakeklite rims, so can't comment on that.

As for block rims, dowel sticks come from an earlier era than block rims, so most builders today who use block rims, use some other method of attaching the neck, but there are some who still make them (I made them for a while with finger-jointed rims), so I would say there is a popularity there with some people.

One thing is that they are not popular with bluegrass people who greatly prefer rim rods, regardless of the way the rim is constructed.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 10/23/2021 05:36:43

Oct 31, 2021 - 7:18:57 AM

JonnyDoom

Norway

14 posts since 10/28/2021

I'm starting a banjo building 101 banjo myself. If love to know how it's going ??

Edited by - JonnyDoom on 10/31/2021 07:19:23

Nov 3, 2021 - 8:11:42 AM

8 posts since 9/7/2021

This is my second build, I had to modify plans to fit my available tools and wood.


Nov 3, 2021 - 8:35:26 AM
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2176 posts since 2/12/2009

I always thought that historically wood was always shaved of excess unnecessary bulk to reduce weight wherever possible, chair legs, spokes and much fine furniture, it also looks more elegant as a bonus.

Nov 3, 2021 - 12:43:45 PM

8 posts since 9/7/2021

Here’s my idea for dowel .


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