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euphqueen
04-11-2015, 02:55 PM
Hey everyone,
I am researching a banjo-ukulele, circa 1925-28, that is part of a collection in the museum where I work. My specialty is paper in musical instruments, but this is something I have never seen before. The head on this instrument is made very much like paper, but microscopic analysis tells us that the fibers are actually acetate. It is not fiberskyn or any other kind of paper I have ever seen. It is very fiberous, the individual fibers are visible, and it is very soft. Has anyone ever seen anything like this?

Thanks!
Chesley

tangimango
04-11-2015, 04:02 PM
no pictures hard to tell


Hey everyone,
I am researching a banjo-ukulele, circa 1925-28, that is part of a collection in the museum where I work. My specialty is paper in musical instruments, but this is something I have never seen before. The head on this instrument is made very much like paper, but microscopic analysis tells us that the fibers are actually acetate. It is not fiberskyn or any other kind of paper I have ever seen. It is very fiberous, the individual fibers are visible, and it is very soft. Has anyone ever seen anything like this?

Thanks!
Chesley

euphqueen
04-11-2015, 04:29 PM
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Here are several photos, including the microscope images.

sequoia
04-11-2015, 06:37 PM
Fiberglass. Odd, but that is what it looks like... Funny, but I don't think it was invented that far back.

Timbuck
04-11-2015, 09:27 PM
Maybe it's this stuff I Googled ....Paper Vellum ?

Modern imitation or "paper vellum" is made from plasticized cotton. Usually translucent, paper vellum in various sizes is often used in applications where tracing is required, such as architectural plans. Like natural vellum, the synthetic is more dimensionally stable than a linen or paper sheet, which is frequently critical in the development of large scaled drawings and plans such as blueprints. It was also extremely important in that reproduction technology for dissemination of the plans as, like a high quality natural vellum, it could be produced in a thin enough sheet to be virtually transparent to strong light enabling a source drawing to be used directly in the reproduction of field-used drawings.
I also came across this thread from 2011 refering to a paper head. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?40377-Question-about-banjolele-head-replacement-(with-pics!) And also I found FIBRESKYN :) http://www.andybanjo.com/trolleyed/13/23/26/87/130/index.htm

Sven
04-12-2015, 02:39 AM
I did a search for acetate fiber and it was invented in 1924. The pics look as if it's non-woven like the fabrics often used in construction or gardening. Do you have any idea of how old the skin is?

ksquine
04-13-2015, 03:20 AM
I did a search for acetate fiber and it was invented in 1924. The pics look as if it's non-woven like the fabrics often used in construction or gardening. Do you have any idea of how old the skin is?

I thought that too. Something like Tyvek material. It might be a more modern banjo skin....it looks very new and clean so I would guess it was re-skinned

Ron B
04-13-2015, 05:08 AM
There was a company here in New England called Pellon that manufactured non-woven fabrics. Not sure how long ago they were in business though. They were definitely operating in the early 70's.

Habanera Hal
04-13-2015, 07:04 AM
While I can't say for sure what it is without holding a piece of it, I'm pretty sure it is not Pellon. Pellon is primarily used as an interlining in apparel, and probably would not hold the tension neccesary for a drum or banjo head without pulling apart, plus the tone would be terrible. Tyvek or Vellum is a more interesting and probable material, though again, I'd have to hold it to be more accurate. It has almost certainly been reskinned.

BTW, I went to the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences and worked in the commercial and contract textile industry for 35 years.

Gyozu
04-14-2015, 02:53 PM
I acquired and installed a nonwoven Nomex sheet material as a banjo head from a member over at Banjo Hangout. It was very similar to this. i could find no macro photos of the material, but maybe you might check a bit further.

http://www.yellowstone-jewelry.com/Banjos/Yellowstone%20banjo%20head/Yellowstone%20Banjo%20Head.htm