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Post new topic Who made these tone bars?
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Author Topic:  Who made these tone bars?
Steven Welborn


From:
Ojai,CA USA
Post  Posted 14 Mar 2019 11:33 am    
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I can't remember who I purchased this bar from. The rear end has a concavity with a slight taper around the edge. I'd like to order another slightly larger. These are great bars for slants.

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Cartwright Thompson


Post  Posted 14 Mar 2019 2:06 pm    
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Looks like one of Jim Burden’s “Bullet Bars”
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post  Posted 14 Mar 2019 2:42 pm    
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I thought so too. I went over to Jim's www.bulletbars.com website, but the bars are not shown there anymore. Just the computer stuff. As I remember, Jim was also involved with that too.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 14 Mar 2019 3:08 pm    
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This is my Bullet Bar. Looks like it to me except mine doesn't look as rounded over.
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Steven Welborn


From:
Ojai,CA USA
Post  Posted 14 Mar 2019 4:19 pm    
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I spoke with Jim today and he no longer makes tone bars. He said he had trouble finding quality steel, his equipment is wearing out, and taxes becoming too much of a burden.
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Steven Welborn


From:
Ojai,CA USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 12:00 pm    
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Can anybody recommend a machinist I can send a tone bar to have cut shorter and have the end machined like the bar shown above?
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Fred Justice


From:
Mesa, Arizona
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 12:24 pm    
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You know really, for the amount of time spent, money for material spent, verses what folks are willing to pay, there's just no money in making tone bars. Sad
Crying or Very sad
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Steven Welborn


From:
Ojai,CA USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 1:45 pm    
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...or money just ain't worth much these days. 1913 was a sad year. Sad
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 3:05 pm    
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Steven Welborn wrote:
Can anybody recommend a machinist I can send a tone bar to have cut shorter and have the end machined like the bar shown above?


The problem is, chrome is hard and once cut through the base metal (brass probably) will be exposed. Were your intentions to get the bar re-chromed? A seemingly simple request could turn into a very costly adventure.
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Steven Welborn


From:
Ojai,CA USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 3:20 pm    
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I think these bars are SS not chrome. I could be wrong. Well, I think Jim Burdens bars were SS. And the bar I'd like to have cut is not Jims but I think it's SS also. I remember buying a chrome bar once and it was more slippery to hold. it took some getting used to.
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David Venzke


From:
SE Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 6:11 pm    
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You might try contacting Wayne Johnson, he could make you one to your specifications I'm pretty sure.

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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post  Posted 15 Mar 2019 6:23 pm    
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Yes, Jim Burden's bars are stainless steel. I'm sorry to hear he is no longer building them. A great guy that would custom build to your specifications and sizing at most reasonable pricing.

I guess you have to charge big bucks these days to make it worthwhile, but that wasn't Jim's way.
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Cartwright Thompson


Post  Posted 16 Mar 2019 6:41 am    
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Get a Clinesmith bar. They’re fantastic and he makes a bunch of different sizes.
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Steven Welborn


From:
Ojai,CA USA
Post  Posted 16 Mar 2019 8:20 am    
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Guess I'll order a Clinesmith bar. I had some psychoresistance to the idea of thermoPLASTIC measuring up to steel in ones quest for "tone to the bone". No one wants to compromise any "bone" in their tone right? Guess that's not the case according to all the reviews. The back recess looks like it might function as well as the recess in Jim Burdens bars for slants.
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Ian Maclean


From:
Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 17 Mar 2019 9:54 am    
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FWIW, I made my own tone bar today in preparation for my first lesson on Monday. Prolly would have been easier to buy one but when a guy owns a fabrication shop with a full machining department what the heck! We are always running similar parts in one of the CNC lathes so I figured I would make a few. Happened to have 1" brass set up so I made a quick program for a .75 x 2.875 prolly not the best material but that's the least of my concerns at this stage in my game...

Any good machine shop should be able to make that bar for you.

Cheers!
Ian


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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 17 Mar 2019 1:01 pm    
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Ian, nice bar. If you want your bar to look like the one in the first picture of the post with the concave cavity in the butt end, take and center drill it, then take an 1/4" smaller drill than your O.D. In this case a 1/2" diameter drill and drill your cavity. It might chatter on you, but if you slow the speed way down and sort of let the drill dwell on the metal, you will get a nice finish like the picture. You can also bore it out on an angle, but that will require a bit more work.
Brass is a good choice. Plenty of weight and easy to work with. Mine looks the same as yours on the inside, but I put a polymer "sheath" on the outside. No CNC for me, all made by hand.


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Ian Maclean


From:
Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 17 Mar 2019 2:21 pm    
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Thanks!
Yea, I could work the other end on this machine as it does have a sub spindle but I just wanted to crank something out. I just parted it off and hit the back side on a manual lathe. If I was running a pile of them I would indeed work the back side.

Interesting results as I tried it straight off the machine and it does require polishing or a crazy finish to avoid noise on the strings from machining. This is more than likely the reason for the cost of most bars. The machining is dirt simple but it does need to have a smooth finish. Only real ways to do that would be polishing or plating. Plating is a expensive process to do well unless you are running lots of parts. The EPA has made quality hard plating a real SOB. We typically just substitute stainless steel and polish unless the volume of parts is super high. I am going to run one in stainless and put it a 2 step "mass finishing process" vibratory finishing with a super fine last operation. That should produce a good smooth finish.
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