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Feb 2, 2024 - 12:42:39 PM
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2406 posts since 8/21/2007

Is anyone (else) making Corian banjo pots?

My good friend, Tom Gocze( lazlototh), who has forgotten more about cars in the last 10 minutes than I have known in a lifetime, approached me several weeks ago about building a banjo pot out of Corian. Heretofore, I had only worked with the material for fingerboards and peghead overlays, but had never attempted to thermoform it.
I'm wondering if I'm the only one doing this or this is a new, emerging, industry of which I am not aware.

By the way, Tom has a podcast radio show on Saturday morning's called Hot and Cold. It runs from 8am to 10am on WVOM in which he delves into a whole variety of interesting technical topics. You can call in and speak to Tom who will try and answer your questions about solar, automobile repair and maintenance, insulation for your home, and banjos, for those so inclined.




 

Edited by - dickinnorwich on 02/04/2024 10:44:39

Feb 2, 2024 - 3:14:05 PM

140 posts since 8/22/2023

Very interesting..What are the characteristics compared to wood? Do you use a tone ring? How do they sound? Is the material hard to work with?

Feb 2, 2024 - 4:06:47 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

6261 posts since 10/12/2009

Mr. Guggenheim ! Good to see you on the Hangout !

How exactly did you thermoform the Corian ? Are the flange  steps molded into it or did you lathe turn it ?

What's the weight of that rim, compared to a 3 ply or block maple rim ?

Feb 2, 2024 - 4:07:48 PM
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1099 posts since 10/31/2007

The pot assembly is lighter than most standard Gibson style pots with a tone ring. No tone ring is used with Corian.
We are still playing with the set up. They sound pretty good. Blake Gilpin has a video of a Paddock banjo on YouTube.
Paddock passed away a few years ago but made a handful of banjos with Corian pots. That is what got us going. I have two together right now. The third one is in the works.

The third one is closer to what I would consider more standard and less of an experiment in fabrication. We are on a learning curve. I had to make an oven to thermoform the Corian. Dick did the first ones in his kitchen oven which was not big enough. His wife is a wonderful lady!

The material is messier than wood but can be thermoformed. If you are not familiar with it, it is a stone-like counter material.
I will post a video soon.

Feb 2, 2024 - 4:10:10 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

509 posts since 3/24/2020

I recently read something about manufactured stone is about to be banned in this country.

Feb 2, 2024 - 4:19:34 PM

martyjoe

Ireland

509 posts since 3/24/2020

It would be interesting to try a block rim with it.

Feb 2, 2024 - 4:34:17 PM

DSmoke

USA

1429 posts since 11/30/2015

Before working on banjos I built (and still do) kitchens and bathrooms so I'm very familiar with the product. I fabricate many shower parts with it. I would not have expected this to produce a good tone based on my experience and feel of the material. It's easy to work with and feels "soft". I have a piece handy and just tapped on it, and now I'm intrigued, very intrigued.

Feb 2, 2024 - 6:37:43 PM

3388 posts since 2/18/2009

I use it for nuts and saddles and love it for those jobs. Does it smell pretty bad when you get it hot? Shaping it on the belt and disc sanders makes it smell somewhat, and it doesn't get as hot. Good for you for trying something different.

Feb 2, 2024 - 7:03:32 PM
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1887 posts since 2/21/2011

Feb 2, 2024 - 9:06:44 PM
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123 posts since 3/3/2008

I have plans to make Corian banjo bridges for testing... Not sure how it is going to sound. Density is higher than normal bridges.

Feb 2, 2024 - 10:29:51 PM

15071 posts since 6/2/2008

Great to see you, Dick!

Feb 3, 2024 - 4:33:02 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

17487 posts since 8/30/2006

Thanks for re-joining, Dick,

I've used Corian for nuts when starting out.

Right now I think you are the only one making rims of it, but not for long maybe.
Best wishes. ( ))==='= ::}

Feb 4, 2024 - 12:24:36 PM
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1072 posts since 2/17/2005

Well it is extremely amusing that anyone is posting a sound sample of my playing as a reference of anything! That said, I am really fond of these Paddock banjos - he had some wild ideas. I've had 3 of Paddock's corian rims and sold the one in the video. Tom and I have shared some pics because Charles built his rims for a standard Gibson flange but thinner than a standard mastertone rim with an integrated ring (one of the rims I have has straight holes drilled down in the bevel a la flathead ring). Anyway, they're not light but I would say lighter by a margin than a comparable wood rim with a flathead ring...I think they're extremely cool.

Feb 6, 2024 - 6:22:36 AM

Brett

USA

2618 posts since 11/29/2005

Sounds like a Banjo to me! Interesting idea!

Feb 6, 2024 - 6:46:03 AM

8204 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by martyjoe

I recently read something about manufactured stone is about to be banned in this country.


Yeah, mfg stone dust is pure poison and terrible for anyone working with it.  The fabrication factories were working very loose with PPE so the workers were filling their lungs with the dust.  It also coated their clothing which they wore home so that their family would be exposed as well. 

Feb 6, 2024 - 12:57:35 PM

2402 posts since 2/9/2007

How about a Megaphonic (Weymann) style pot made out of Corian?

Feb 6, 2024 - 2:45:40 PM

1099 posts since 10/31/2007

We are still learning how to manipulate conventional rims. Megaphonic is a little more out there. As it is, these are very loud. The weight is slightly less than a Gibson style rim with a tone ring. The extra weight of Megaphonic might be a deal breaker.

Feb 6, 2024 - 3:45:22 PM
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3388 posts since 2/18/2009

Just for the record, Corian is not a manufactured stone product. It is a manufactured plastic product and can be cut with woodworking saws. It is probably not terribly healthy to breathe the dust but I don't think it has the same type of problems as stone, which are caused by silica dust to the best of my limited knowledge.

Feb 6, 2024 - 3:47:15 PM
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2402 posts since 2/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by lazlototh

We are still learning how to manipulate conventional rims. Megaphonic is a little more out there. As it is, these are very loud. The weight is slightly less than a Gibson style rim with a tone ring. The extra weight of Megaphonic might be a deal breaker.


It wouldn't have that big ole cast flange, though, and you could fit it with a super light pop-on resonator like the molded MOTS ones I've seen on a few (pre-Mastertone) Gibsons.    Really, I was mostly thinking about eliminating the metal flange and/or bracket shoes.  I just think the Megaphonic is an especially cool variety of that sort of design (and nobody's making them), but something more like a plastic Harmony (or Ashborn?) could be made lighter, and ought to sound great, too... 

Yeah, that all is getting a bit out there...

Feb 6, 2024 - 3:52:08 PM

1099 posts since 10/31/2007

Corian is composed of one third transparent acrylic resin (polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA) and two thirds natural minerals. The principal among these latter is aluminum trihydrate, a white powder derived from bauxite, the mineral from which aluminium is extracted.

Feb 8, 2024 - 1:32:34 AM
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15071 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by dickinnorwich
... had never attempted to thermoform it.

I'm wondering if I'm the only one doing this or this is a new, emerging, industry of which I am not aware.


Turns out someone is already bending Corian into rims -- for drums! 
https://spaundrums.com/products/corian-7x14-white

Feb 9, 2024 - 5:58:28 AM
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112 posts since 7/15/2008

In south west Denver there was a counter top shop called, Ralph's, owned by Ralph Haney. It was the home of a jam that ran for about 30 years. Ralph passed away about 2000, or a little later.
Ralph built an entire banjo of Corian. I never handled it, but was told "it weighed a ton". Supposedly sounded pretty good too. Mostly white, it reminded me of some of those minstrel banjos I've seen.

Feb 9, 2024 - 6:45:41 AM

RB3

USA

1984 posts since 4/12/2004

You might want to consider getting a registered trademark for "Coriantone".

Feb 9, 2024 - 8:02:24 AM

1099 posts since 10/31/2007

Been thinking about the neck but we are all rather sensitive to the weight of banjos. The pot is about the same as "regular" Gibson style banjos. The neck would put it over the top. Would make a great weapon, though. And it would be waterproof and cleaning up spaghetti sauce spills would be a breeze!
Hope to finish #4 this weekend. Might get a video up as well.

Feb 12, 2024 - 12:04:16 AM
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martyjoe

Ireland

509 posts since 3/24/2020

There is a supplier in Dublin that has a product called Hannex. It is pretty much the same as Corian from what I can gather. As soon as I have some free time I’ll run in and get some. I’m particularly interested in seeing how it performs as a stretcher band.

Feb 12, 2024 - 6:43:57 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

17487 posts since 8/30/2006

Your rims and Spaun Drums all have parallel sides. I have seen home built "block" or "brick rims that were unique because the sides were open at every other brick and doweled from above with 1/4" doweling but they still have parallel sides and 3/4" thickness. They didn't need a resonator.

When I looked at the Spaun drums, I saw innovations that are not used currently in banjo rims.

I once built a 16" HeliX type snare from Cherry. The customer wanted 7" depth and 5/8" sides with no bottom.
When I contacted the drum manufacturer, they were hostile and suspicious just like owls in a barn like the Sufi Story about an Eagle landing stating that he "sat on the wrist of a KING." The Owls replied, "Look out, he might steal our food."
I couldn't get them to share their stretcher band dimensions with me and I was assured they did NO dimensioning. OK then.
Seems to me that banjo people are a lot more inventive, innovative and curious. No aluminum drums???

Next: Connecticut and Maryland both have Secretaries of State and one can obtain a trademark once you have done a search of their website(s) . (TM) is not (R), but mine was just renewed in 2017 for the 2nd decade.
However the word Corian is probably a registered brand name. Then make new words.

When I registered my name, the Arizona website was crammed with the word Helix, but NOT HeliX Banjo Rims (TM)2007, so it became a slam to register and certify.

Please share the rim and ply thicknesses. because:

The Corian doesn't need to be like the Weymann with too intensive labor for too many pieces, but "Weymann-like" would be nice.

I have a HeliX type rim that tapers to 1/2" from 3/4" at the top, The glueblocks are also tapered and give a telltale point to the "look" of the inside of the rim. The customer wanted Mahogany and Ash in alternating blocks - like "top down" in a hardtop world."  Megaphonic.
I produced the rim on a standard 48" wood lathe by hand.

IMO shape is everything. Look at the different types of banjo rims as compared to drum shells.

However I always use a respirator and collection when stripping the Aluminum Oxide finish off Lumber Liquidators flooring like Jatoba and Hickory, but not any laminated flooring they have, like Rosewood is veneer.

From the Spaun examples many of their concepts could be incorporated and borrowed.

A Corian neck seems redundant.

An extruded aluminum neck that is hollow would solve the weight problem. A corian fingerboard should fit the spec.

As Weldors in the shipyards in Oregon, we all used respiration to protect from asbestos and other particles, please protect yourselves, vapors are also toxic.
Our shower walls are acrylics with Marbling, too bad you can't get the marbled effect in banjo rims.
Colored acrylic rims are being used by Gold Tone and others. Their AC series is a new formula.

Great thread, keep going.


Edited by - Helix on 02/12/2024 06:53:50

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