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May 26, 2022 - 8:27:02 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

I have a broken pip, and was in the process of repairing it. Unfortunately, the pip was glued in place. Part cracked off and I have resorted to drilling it. It appears to be bone as it's very hard, but how deep do these normally go? I've going very slowly to prevent drilling too deep, but just trying to get an idea of the normal depth of the hole.

I wish I had a small screw or something that I could tap into it and pull it, but the glue that they seemed to have used is quite strong, so I don't think that would work even if I had the screw.

May 26, 2022 - 9:55:48 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Well, I found the bottom finally. The pip doesn't sit tight though in the hole and wobbles a bit. I must have nicked the sides a little with the drill even though I thought I was careful.

What are some options? Could I just get a 9/64 brass rod, cut it, and then shape it to the size if the hole? Or, should I just drill to 9/64 and put that in?

May 26, 2022 - 1:49:31 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11443 posts since 6/29/2003

You could cut a match stick down the right height and put it in the bottom of the hole to prevent the pip from going lower. The pip could be secured with a small amount of craft glue. Just my 2c worth.

May 26, 2022 - 1:58:46 PM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

You could cut a match stick down the right height and put it in the bottom of the hole to prevent the pip from going lower. The pip could be secured with a small amount of craft glue. Just my 2c worth.


Thanks Wayne... I don't need to prop it up higher... it just tips a bit as the hole is slightly bigger.  Would craft glue be able to keep it from tipping when under tension though?  I really don't want to use super glue or anything like that if I can prevent it.

May 26, 2022 - 2:31:52 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11443 posts since 6/29/2003

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc
quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

You could cut a match stick down the right height and put it in the bottom of the hole to prevent the pip from going lower. The pip could be secured with a small amount of craft glue. Just my 2c worth.


Thanks Wayne... I don't need to prop it up higher... it just tips a bit as the hole is slightly bigger.  Would craft glue be able to keep it from tipping when under tension though?  I really don't want to use super glue or anything like that if I can prevent it.


I think that once the glue is dry it should probably be stable. 

May 26, 2022 - 3:29:30 PM

8035 posts since 1/7/2005

Epoxy is the best gap filler. Dye the epoxy like you would with any other inlay. Fill the hole and press the pip into place. wipe off any squeeze out with acetone on a rag or paper towel and let it set. Epoxy has a long working time, so you can adjust it as necessary. Once hardened, file the pip down to the proper height. And score the end to accept the 5th string.

DD

May 26, 2022 - 5:01:12 PM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Okay, thanks Dan. I was thinking of the liquid hide glue, but I was concerned that it would not be able to hold as well under the tension of the 5th string. I really didn't want to go the epoxy route, but it sounds like I have to.

I may have some small diameter brass rods lying around from a project. I'm not sure the diameter, so maybe I have one that will fit as well. I'd have to look though, and then cut to the right length. The pip I already have, so would be less work possibly as the brass I would still need to shape a bit and also score it for the 5th string.

May 26, 2022 - 6:16:57 PM
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154 posts since 5/27/2008

Fill with an ebony dowel shaped scrap and re-drill

May 27, 2022 - 2:29:47 AM

Bill H

USA

1912 posts since 11/7/2010

The way I make fifth string nuts is to cut a square-shaped sliver of bone and chuck it in my drill press, then use two files to shape it while spinning. Or you could use one file and a block of wood held on the back side to brace it while shaping. I shape the pip with a slight taper and fit it to the hole by trial and error until I have a good friction fit. A tapered shaft requires no glue to stay in place. Once fit into the hole, the bone may be trimmed to length with a fine back saw and the top polished with fine grit sandpaper--from120x to 600x in steps and slotted with a nut file.

May 27, 2022 - 4:18:22 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

notty pine , where would I find ebony dowel's or scraps?

Bill H , So bone from a steak or something? What type of file are you using when you turn this?

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May 27, 2022 - 4:39:22 AM

154 posts since 5/27/2008

Kd8tzc I've sent you a message

May 27, 2022 - 6:56:41 AM

Bill H

USA

1912 posts since 11/7/2010

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc

notty pine , where would I find ebony dowel's or scraps?

Bill H , So bone from a steak or something? What type of file are you using when you turn this?


I have a collection of deer antler and ham bones that I have bleached and dried for banjo work and various woodworking projects. I use a mill bastard file, medium coarse to fine. For length, you can also insert in the hole, mark the height and then place it back in the chuck and cut to length with a fine hacksaw.

May 27, 2022 - 7:04:39 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

okay... thanks.

I did check last night, and I do also have 1/8" and 9/64" brass rods that I used for some clock repairs that I did a few years back. The 9/64" one would be slightly big. but I could also do the same thing and taper it. It wouldn't look traditional, but then again, what is truly traditional with banjo's... I'm sure back in the day they used whatever they had available to fix something. Then when I get some bone or ebony to fill it with, I can do it the right way.

May 27, 2022 - 9:20:46 AM

8035 posts since 1/7/2005

Bone will last longer than ebony for nuts and pips. You can get bleached cow bone at your local pet store. Chucking a piece in your drill press works fine as a poor man's lathe.
DD

May 27, 2022 - 5:16:47 PM
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14590 posts since 6/29/2005

If the line of the 5th string across the pip is straight, looking down at it, bone will work, but if the string goes into the pip at a sideways angle, it will possibly break off one side of the pip (maybe that's why yours broke), I would use brass. (actually,I would use that anyway), and like 5/32" rod.

In terms of the depth of the hole,which was the question, the string should go through the slot in the pip and rest on the 5th fret.too shallow a hole,and the string will just sit in the pip, as if it was a nut, and miss the fret.

The top picture shows a brass one, the middle picture shows a bone one, and the bottom picture shows a black Corian one and illustrates what I mean by a "straight line".

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 05/27/2022 17:22:09

May 27, 2022 - 6:09:07 PM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Thanks Ken. I have a bunch of 9/64" brass rod, which is just a hair smaller than 5/32", would that be good enough? How should I fasten it into the neck? Just use the tension from the string? My only concern there might be the pip falling out when restringing. I also would assume I would need to drill a clean hole the size of the rod as well. Sounds like I need to take it all apart again and take the neck off. There goes another set of strings.

Also, my fret does not go in front of the pip... no idea why, but that's the way it was designed. See the picture attached. Possibly that is a different project (making the fret go all the way across). I'm not sure how hard that would be though, so for now, just getting it with a pip would be good.

Lastly, what did you cut the brass pip with?  That looks a bit wide, but maybe that's just due to it being close in.  I'm not sure of my little jewelers saw blades will cut brass. 

Thanks for all your help... maybe one of these days I can save up some money and buy a really nice banjo like the ones you make.

 

May 27, 2022 - 7:07:11 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15584 posts since 8/30/2006

Yes, use the 9/64" brass.

I always use a metal pip these days

May 27, 2022 - 9:18:15 PM

2406 posts since 2/7/2008

I was just at my local music shop and saw a Gold Tone with that pip arrangement and thought it was rather elegant.

No need to waste a set of strings. Put a capo on the 6th fret, the loosen the strings until you can get the loops free. The capo will keep the strings captive. Then reverse the process at re-assembly time.

May 28, 2022 - 5:13:40 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

Thanks Quickstep192 , you think that arrangement is elegant in what way?

I don't think the capo on the 6th fret would work though as I need to get this on the drill press to make the large hole and the 5th string would still be in the way. I could Capo strings 1 - 4 I guess at the 4th fret, but I'd still more than likely lose the 5th string as I have never had luck with strings that have already been installed getting them to stay on the tuner once removed (due to the string having been trimmed). I wonder if that's why some people never trim their strings.

I guess I could try and freehand the drill and not use a drill press. I could then leave it all together and then just loosen the 5th string to pull it aside. I'm not sure how smart that would be though to freehand the drill. Regardless, I need to get the neck level regardless if I use the drill press or freehand. That might be harder in the drill press though.

May 28, 2022 - 6:08:34 AM

2406 posts since 2/7/2008

On the banjo I saw, the fret is stopped short of the edge and the end of the fret near the pip was radiused to match the diameter of the pip. It looked very thoughtful.

I like pips that are a little bit off the beaten path.


 

May 28, 2022 - 6:28:04 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192

On the banjo I saw, the fret is stopped short of the edge and the end of the fret near the pip was radiused to match the diameter of the pip. It looked very thoughtful.

I like pips that are a little bit off the beaten path.


That's a beautiful neck on your banjo... what kind of wood is it?  What kind of banjo with the tunneled 5th?

May 28, 2022 - 6:36:20 AM
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2406 posts since 2/7/2008

quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc
quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192

On the banjo I saw, the fret is stopped short of the edge and the end of the fret near the pip was radiused to match the diameter of the pip. It looked very thoughtful.

I like pips that are a little bit off the beaten path.


That's a beautiful neck on your banjo... what kind of wood is it?  What kind of banjo with the tunneled 5th?


The fingerboard is curly maple. It's a scrap I picked up at the lumberyard. It's my "silent" practice banjo that I made from Randy Cordle's Working Man's Banjo plans. I used a mesh drum head so it makes virtually no sound - just enough for the player to hear. 

May 28, 2022 - 6:41:56 AM

kd8tzc

USA

309 posts since 4/11/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192
quote:
Originally posted by kd8tzc
quote:
Originally posted by Quickstep192

On the banjo I saw, the fret is stopped short of the edge and the end of the fret near the pip was radiused to match the diameter of the pip. It looked very thoughtful.

I like pips that are a little bit off the beaten path.


That's a beautiful neck on your banjo... what kind of wood is it?  What kind of banjo with the tunneled 5th?


The fingerboard is curly maple. It's a scrap I picked up at the lumberyard. It's my "silent" practice banjo that I made from Randy Cordle's Working Man's Banjo plans. I used a mesh drum head so it makes virtually no sound - just enough for the player to hear. 


I'd love to see a picture of that some day... send me a PM if you could.  That's a beautiful piece of wood for a scrap.

May 28, 2022 - 8:41:19 AM

31 posts since 8/13/2021

I'm somewhat of a scrounge for bits and pieces, finding violin bows or tuning pegs, discarded fretboards at flea markets or yard sales, are always a good source for hardwood scraps on other projects. Just a thought.. kb

May 28, 2022 - 7:40:41 PM
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1844 posts since 2/9/2007

I've turned bone and corian pips in an electric hand-drill chuck. Drill in one hand, file in the other. It is a little easier if the drill is clamped to the workbench. I turn a cylinder to fit the hole in the FB, and then usually turn the piece around, clamping the cylindrical end in the chuck, and shaping down the rest into some kind of a finial or knob of slightly larger diameter which will become the exposed portion of the pip. The pip then bears down on the surface of the fingerboard, with the shaft cut short enough that it doesn't reach the bottom of the hole. If the hole is right up against the fret, I'll file one side of the knob off, or maybe put a notch on the under side so the pip hangs over the fret a bit. The string holds the pip in place. The tiniest bit of wood glue will be more than enough to make sure it stays there when the string is off.

May 28, 2022 - 8:59:58 PM

2406 posts since 2/7/2008

After thinking about this for a bit, I think I'd try to return the hole to 1/8" so a standard pip could be used in the future.

If you could scrounge a piece of 1/8" HDPE rod, you could epoxy that in the hole, then remove it after the epoxy cured, leaving a nice 1/8" hole.

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