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Sep 22, 2023 - 7:18:42 AM
Players Union Member



17294 posts since 8/30/2006

Lets start with the photos and graphics of the Helix type rim and the use of a 45 degree slant down away from the tone ring.

Most all other tones rings are lined up latitudinally like walking up and putting them on the side of the tree parallel to the grain run.

The Helix type rim allows the tone ring to be lined up with the bottom of the tree directly contacting the signal from the wood or Bamboo flooring as the case may be.  Vertical grain does not work here.  I used the 45 degree slant for strength like those oldtime forts for the U.S. Cavalry in the cowboy movies I saw when growing up.  

This means that the Bamboo and other hardwoods are struck with a miniature log stamp hammer every time you pluck a banjo note. This allows the molecules in the grain fibers to line up faster and remember thus vintaging and keeping the signal as a memory in the rim. I can take my 14 year old bamboo to the jam or open stage and compete without using a resonator. No kidding.

The use of brass flatbar rolled into both tone rings and tension hoops allows the construction of a double tone ring using the tension hoop as a sandwiching member with the head bead in between. You can see this with the picture of Jackrabbit #001 with the slanted grain of the flooring.

Yes it is possible to make banjo rims that are substantial out of single plank flooring.

This Helix (TM) type rim was unknown to this or any other banjo community before I came on the hangout in 2006. The flaming and general hostility caused me to withdraw for a year, get my trademark and come back with civil discourse. I got a lot of attention and made six thousand
6K dollars in ten days. I gave $4000 of these dollars back to the monkey wrenchers and went ahead and built banjos with Bamboo flooring rims made from Vertical flooring only. The Horizontal flooring doesn't have the same properties.

The 90 yr. old cabinetmakers I made friends with by playing banjo for them enlightened me about there being a name for this type of construction. It is called a "build up." They especially enjoyed my use of 135 degree "scabs" or "glueblocks." They had never thought of making an entire circle of 8 pieces with this concept.

4 pc. & 6 piece type of "build up" rims are possible. The 4-piece rim should be the "Merit Badge" banjo rim because it can be made from sinple and strong 2 x 4's with only 4 Ninety degree glueblocks Just like most common chair seat. The glueblock enters into the banjo rim circle and becomes part of the rim, so does the 6 pc. rim

Only with the 8 piece Helix type rim does the glueblock always stay out of the way no matter what size rim is made. No matter meaning
8", 10" , 11" 12" 14" or 16" and on up into much larger sizes like Celtic drums that are very shallow.

I got the idea to make this type of rim from seeing my neighbor's buried wagon wheel in the landscaping. The siege engines in used in the movies "Lord of the Rings and the Kingdom of Heaven" are ancient examples of more ancient uses of straight planks to make round ox cart wheels, not any other type of joining method.
Other latitudinal grain type of brick rims are called "Layups" are not used in any construction by the Cabinetmakers because they are structurally weaker. 
Bamboo flooring lends itself perfectly to this type of construction. Just each piece gets stood up vertically.  The slant is for strength because vertical grain is not conducive to any strength in any type of brick or block rim.  Nor is horizontal.

The next blocks I build with be two layer planks utilizing the tube and plate dimensions of bluegrass blocks. So they will be semi-lammies, but still a buildup.

Layups are the types of rims being made by many people torrified or otherwise. These use latitudinal grain only just the same as regular lammies. Nothing spectacular except the marketing. 

The Helix is a truly innovative build up. No banjo maker here in Arizona, nor on the hangout had ever seen such a thing because I assume they don't hang out with cabinetmakers who all knew that a build up is superior in strength and longevity.

All of the Bamboo longnecks are called Antelope Jacks and are numbered in sequence with the regular Jackrabbits
No one seems to care there are four subspecies of Anetlope Jackrabbit, not no stupid Jackelope.  Big Bunny as seen by Lewis and Clark on the North American 

Savannah from Council Bluffs, Iowa.  They are unique to North  America and should be cherished and protected instead of shot for fleeting sport.  

Edited by - Helix on 09/22/2023 07:35:25

Sep 28, 2023 - 3:26:19 AM
Players Union Member



17294 posts since 8/30/2006

The silence is not what people think. I'll be showing some newer work sooner than later.
Bamboo flooring is very good for rims and people have been playing mine since 2009. I just kept quiet about it.

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