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Does anyone have any experience of Stainer-Hewett banjos.  I've always found these banjos interesting due to their unique design.  This one has come into my possession - it is in good condition but very mucky/tarnished so thinking of the best way to clean it.  Gently clean off the dirt and try a small amount of Simichrome? I think I will try a calfskin head (am taking it to a luthier) and nylon strings.  Any advice appreciated.  

I seem to have forgotten how to post a discussion with photos so am using 'reply to discussion' to add text, oh dear.

I don’t have any experience with that make, but I would like to warn you against using any kind of “polish” including simichrome.  They are all abrasive and each use removes more plating.  Banjos are not shiny auto wheels.  It is also okay for the. To look their age.

I like to just clean things.  Take all the metal parts and wash them in the sink with mild dish soap then dry them off.  Avoid any cleaners with ammonia as that is bad for the plating.

Then put it back together.  Soft damp cloth for the woodwork then renaissance wax.  Call it a banjo.

That head has got to go.

Joel, what is wrong with the present head?

Carrie, it looks like it already has a skin head. If it's goat instead of calf it'll still sound good. 

Joel Hooks said:

I don’t have any experience with that make, but I would like to warn you against using any kind of “polish” including simichrome.  They are all abrasive and each use removes more plating.  Banjos are not shiny auto wheels.  It is also okay for the. To look their age.

I like to just clean things.  Take all the metal parts and wash them in the sink with mild dish soap then dry them off.  Avoid any cleaners with ammonia as that is bad for the plating.

Then put it back together.  Soft damp cloth for the woodwork then renaissance wax.  Call it a banjo.

That head has got to go.

Thanks for the advice re cleaning Joel - you are right, the head definitely needs replacing (it's a nasty thin plastic thing).  It will be interesting to get this set-up.  Some info from Vintage Banjo maker: The "Hewett Patent Banjo"-with its all-metal hoop, extremely thin square-topped brackets for pulling down a flange-type bezel, and all-metal pegs with a built- in locking device was advertised as being "individually made by its inventor T. Hewett" by the Stainer Manufacturing  Co., of 92 St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C.' 

Here is a photo of the back of the tuners and one of Seth Weeks Quartet with Stainer-Hewett banjo.   

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In one photo it looks plastic. But in the photo of the pot it looks like a trimmed vellum. 

carrie horgan said:

Thanks for the advice re cleaning Joel - you are right, the head definitely needs replacing (it's a nasty thin plastic thing).  It will be interesting to get this set-up.  Some info from Vintage Banjo maker: The "Hewett Patent Banjo"-with its all-metal hoop, extremely thin square-topped brackets for pulling down a flange-type bezel, and all-metal pegs with a built- in locking device was advertised as being "individually made by its inventor T. Hewett" by the Stainer Manufacturing  Co., of 92 St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C.' 

Here is a photo of the back of the tuners and one of Seth Weeks Quartet with Stainer-Hewett banjo.   

Ah yes, difficult to tell from photos - I think I replace with a calfskin vellum as it should sound better with the all-metal pot. 

Jody Stecher said:

In one photo it looks plastic. But in the photo of the pot it looks like a trimmed vellum. 

carrie horgan said:

Thanks for the advice re cleaning Joel - you are right, the head definitely needs replacing (it's a nasty thin plastic thing).  It will be interesting to get this set-up.  Some info from Vintage Banjo maker: The "Hewett Patent Banjo"-with its all-metal hoop, extremely thin square-topped brackets for pulling down a flange-type bezel, and all-metal pegs with a built- in locking device was advertised as being "individually made by its inventor T. Hewett" by the Stainer Manufacturing  Co., of 92 St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C.' 

Here is a photo of the back of the tuners and one of Seth Weeks Quartet with Stainer-Hewett banjo.   

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