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I just bought a 1923 Washburn Style A Tenor banjo. The Banjo is in awesome condition. It had to have been safely stored for 60+ years somewhere. I simply plan to disasemble, lightly go over it with polishing compound to remove the ;haze', and clean / polish / buff all of the chrome parts. Any thoughts on what kind of polish to use? I have the std automotive variety and a bench polishing wheel.

Main question: Is there a way to stretch the felt and re-glue? Also what glue works here?

 

Thanks!

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I would not polish anything on this instrument. Take it all apart and clean it, but polish? It is what it is, a 90 year old (almost)  dull and dirty banjo. It has certainly earned the tarnish dullness. Then there is the resale value damage in polishing it.The dirt you should take care of, and just reassemble. It is your instrument though, so do what you think is best my friend. Just my personal opinion though.
Thanks, I won't be trying to make it look 'new' just get rid of the tarnish and crud. The workmanship on this thing is amazing. All of the hand laid MOP inlay was never filled or coated with lacquer to cover the gaps. It just fits perfect.
  I would take a razerblade and cut the felt off were it meet's the bottom and top and put a new pice around the sides. Glue it on with thick supper glue.   Good luck  Bill..................
Thanks, I'll just cut glue it back together. Keeping it nearly original.
The regular hot melt glue gun kids use for crafts is a great tool for case lining repair.  I'd slice the felt piece and simply glue it back in position with a gap.  As to polishing the banjo - go for it if you'd like to clean it up.  Worrying about the resale value of the banjo would be my last consideration.  It's not now, and will never be, a $$$ collectible instrument.
Thanks!

Try Simichrome polish for the metal parts.  I think it's the 2nd best metal polish I've ever used. It's available at most jewelery stores and antique stores.  A little goes a very long way and a small tube lasts for months if used all the time.  It also makes frets dazzle.

The best metal polish I used was Ouattor (pronounced 'water'), but it's no longer available.  The only 2 products comparable to it are the cotton impregnated polish sold by the Wizard Polish folks and the similar Extreme metal polish sold by Stew-Mac (and also available MUCH cheaper at most major truck stops).  Neither is as good as Ouattor but they get you 90% there. It makes frets look like they're made out of Mercury.

I'd also recommend hand polishing and work slowly so you can check your work every few seconds.  Bench buffers can do more harm to vintage parts than good.  But, do as you wish(:. 

Best of luck with the project and if possible, could you post "after" pic's of your banjo?

Thanks for the tips. Sure I'll post the finished product.

I wouldn't cut the felt lining. Apply a little steam and you'll be able to stretch it back into place. (You can probably manage to hold it over a steaming tea kettle, although a clothing steamer would be easiest.) The steam might soften the original hide glue enough to stick. If not, use white glue and it won't matter if the felt is still damp. Clothes pins will work for clamps.

 

Steve

Thanks, I will give that a try/1
Be careful with polishing old used chrome parts : you can polish right through the chrome plating so quickly you wouldn't notice until you clean it.

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