PureTimbre™ rim blanks are arguably the first innovation in banjo technology in a long time. The Fluted Beams company of Gig Harbor, Washington is currently the only company in North America licensed and equipped by Compwood® Systems of Denmark. This amazing technology allows wood to be bent in thicknesses previously unthinkable.
Initially Cold-Bend™ hardwood was used in architectural woodworking and furnituremaking. Several years ago drum manufacturers began creating high-end drum shells and more recently there has been a lot of interest in using the material in banjo rims.
I have posted an article detailing the results of my first test in an article lhere.
Advantages of a One-Ply Banjo Rim
There are several theoretical advantages to a one-ply banjo rim made from Cold-Bend™ hardwood. The most obvious is that the entire banjo rim would be from a single board. Compared to a three-ply rim the material would be more consistent. Fewer glue joings would reduce the unknown effects of small gaps and the acoustic properties of the glue itself.
A More Consistent Structure on a Cellular Level
The process which make this all possible creates a somewhat denser and more consistent structure in Cold-Bend™ hardwoods. Trees which grew in old-growth forests matured over time in competitive environments which caused slower growth and often tighter grain. The compression that Cold-Bend™ hardwood undergoes creates a somewhat denser material that is analogous to the tighter grain of old-growth wood.
Sunken timber was all the rage for several years, but there is a finite amount of this material available. In my own experience dealing with lumber from sunken timber, the supplier was often unable to supply top quality sapwood. Having a predictable supply of Cold-Bend™ hardwood is a more sensible choice for banjo makers.
Announcing a New Product Line
I am working with the Fluted Beams company to produce products designed from the ground up for use in open back banjos. The tests I made on the prototype rim blank they sent me leads me to beleive that these rims will be a superior choice for open-back banjos. I anticipate having these available in September 2010.
CLICK HERE FOR TEST RESULTS AND SOUND CLIPS