I have to kinda agree with James. I"ve been following this thread out
of curiosity and the first thing I noticed was that not one of the
answers supplied (on MY server) had anything to do with the original
You could have stopped right here. Concise, to the point, answered
But you continued;
Worded in such a way as to denigrate and disparage James' efforts, and
totally OT. And to make it even worse, you went on to say;
I'm glad you and Susan had a good time. But James didnt ask about
steel drum bands, brake drums, or tuning brake drums, and he certainly
didnt evidence any interest in what you do for recreation. However,
since a brake drum played a large part in your enjoyment of your
Caribbean cruise, surely you can see how a washboard would be
important to James.
I saw nothing in any of the responses to merit any degree of
appreciation on James' part. I include this post in that catch all
since it has nothing to do with his question.
To be sure, there are a lot of fine people here and their posts
command respect. Unfortunately I saw none of that in this thread.
One step on the way to commanding that respect is to be gentle with
those who dont have your same level of knowledge.
One reason for asking questions of the NG is to remove or reduce the
luck element by relying on the expertise and experience of others, and
avoid having to reinvent the wheel.
You can chalk this up to my curmudgeon-ness or whatever, but I'm just
tired of seeing serious questions answered with stupid pissy off topic
answers that provide no enlightenment at all, and make me feel, while
reading news groups, that I'm sitting in an out-of-control 3rd grade
classroom while the teacher is out.
James wrote: There is not a soul in the world can tell me anything about
playing washboards are where to buy them that I don't already know. Thanks
for the advice but that wasn't my question. If anybody knows where I can buy
sheets of zinc,I would still like know.
I do not feel the least be apologetic about what I posted. It was an
attempt to be helpful, while, at the same time, I thought I was offering
interesting information to the rest of the group. Many of these threads
take on a life of their own, and go well beyond, and far afield from, the
Several people have told you of possible sources for sheet zinc, as well as
offering you what I consider useful information about the durability and
suitability of zinc for this purpose. A few others have described equipment
and techniques which may solve your problem. These are people who know
metals and machines.
I think your testiness is out of order.
Yep, I sure can, but I also don't recall anyone being critical of the man
playing the brake drum, who appeared to be doing his level best to entertain
those of us that chose to go ashore on the tenders from the ship. There was
no dock available on Granada, not at that time. Perhaps my point was a
little vague, but they (the band) were doing the best they could with what
they had at hand. Seems to me that those that had responded to this
thread were doing likewise. James is so uninformed that he can't tell
the difference between zinc and steel. These people, in good faith, sensed
that and were offering up suggestions that might help him avoid spending the
$15,000, more or less, it would cost for a die that most likely would not
solve his particular problem, which was my point. He had already
established the ground rules, that we need not be polite, so I was playing
his game, his way. He doesn't like it, perhaps you could change his
Then he should post his questions to a manufacturer of goods so he doesn't
get the hodge podge of responses so characteristic of this group. Being
rude because his specific question wasn't answered is hardly the way to
encourage others to try. Why would anyone with a brain look for diamonds
in a coal mine? Isn't that what anyone is doing in asking a group of
people, with wide and varied knowledge, a question? Shouldn't one expect to
get answers that have little to no value, along with perhaps one gem that is
the perfect answer to the question? The way I see it, many of these guys are
here for the social end of things, just talking to their "friends". Often
the subject is completely lost, but they enjoy conversation with one
another. Many times the answer to a specific question slowly evolves,
thanks to the conversation.
I'm to assume, then, that those asking the questions, expecting others to
spend their valuable time with no hopes of gain, to accept the attitude
James displayed when he didn't get the exact answer he wished to hear?
I've spent the vast majority of my life in manufacturing and I was not privy
to the knowledge of where zinc could be purchased in sheet form. Perhaps
someone might have the knowledge of where it could be readily obtained, but
judging by the responses, it gets down to a search. He's not capable of
that? Like I said, perhaps the responses he received were not what he
hoped for, perhaps even totally off topic, but he could, at least, show some
respect for the fact that folks were trying, and cared enough about their
fellow man to do what they could.
This entire thing draws a close parallel to something that just happened,
during the dark hours yesterday, here in Western Washington. An elderly
gentleman was driving the wrong way on the freeway and hit the barrier.
He was on a long overpass. Three people, traveling in the opposite lanes,
saw the accident happen and immediately
stopped their cars and went to lend assistance. In jumping over the
barrier to what they thought was the other side, they didn't realize they
were on two bridges separated by a gap, so as a result all three of them
fell some 30'. Two of them, women, were badly injured, one with a broken
back. Each was "fortunate" to fall into wild berry vines, breaking their
fall. Sadly, the same could not be said for the third person, a man on his
way home to celebrate the Christmas Holiday with his family. He gave his
all trying to be helpful, his reward was death. No good deed goes
I don't see how jumping off the overpass was going to help the elderly
gentleman, for it had nothing to do with saving him, but the effort put
forth by these people, albeit very poorly directed, reminds me a great deal
of those that offered their advice for James, which you seem to find off
topic. Everyone, at the moment, was doing the best they could. For
that, they do not deserve caustic remarks handed to them.
And being rude to those that are trying certainly will require considerable
luck if there is any hope of a solution.
I've posted advice here long enough to know that the best advice tendered is
going to have, at the least, one detractor, someone who chooses to argue, if
for no other reason, the advice does not agree with the reader's personal
opinion, be it based on knowledge or guesstimate. How do you sort out the
good from the bad when you already don't know?
Oftentimes those asking questions are not really looking for answers, they
are posting to boast, hoping to find others that agree with their great
creations, to get a pat on the head for their cleverness. For someone to
post a better method is not hoped for. They have already reinvented the
wheel and seem to like it with nine sides.
LP (if that's who you are), is it mandatory that you read this group? If
not, why do you persist? It has been my experience that one rarely gets
answers that stay on topic, but there is something to gain even then. I'm
overly impressed with the level of intelligence displayed by the vast
majority of these folks and learn something from them, even when they have
drifted way off topic.
Harold, the guy that signs his name.
Let me make a couple of suggestions, based mostly on my review of the
other posts, as well as my own knowledge of metal. I deliberately held
off posting initially, which was good, since some of the suggestions
made were better than my first thought.
1. The washboards are almost certainly made of zinc coated steel, not
zinc. Zinc is too expensive and exotic, while zinc coated steel is a
very common material. The zinc prevents the steel from rusting, even if
there is a pinhole in the zinc coating. A magnet can prove that they
are steel. You should probably pick up an inexpensive ($20) Micrometer
to measure the thickness of the metal.
2. Given that you want to experiment with various size ripples, I think
that the best suggestion would be to use a press brake with a very
simple die, and put in the ripples one ripple at a time. I could
imagine an upper die which was a round rod, and a lower die made of two
round rods, with a press brake you could make the ripple as deep or
shallow as you choose, and by doing one ripple at a time, you could get
any spacing that you want.
What you need is a sheet metal shop willing to work with you.
Realistically, you should probably try to strike a time and material
deal, and have them do it while you watch. Shop time could cost perhaps
$100 an hour. Call around and find a sheet metal shop with a press brake
willing to take on small jobs. If you walk in with a washboard, they
may look at you funny, but they will know what you want. A picture is
worth a thousand words, but a physical model is worth 10,000 words.
Alternately, you could buy a hydraulic press for a few hundred dollars,
and get a local blacksmith or machine shop to make you a simple die. If
the first die does not quite do what you want, the second die will
probably do the trick, you could bring in the output of the press brake,
explain what you need to be different, they could probably make a simple
die change to get the desired result. Metal suppliers could cut you
rectangular pieces of metal to play with, they are generally happy to
shear stock in addition to sell it, for a nominal fee. Then you could
experiment in your garage or basement until you were happy with the result.
I assume that you could find someone to do the woodworking, most musical
instruments are made of wood, so you should have connections there.
Once you settle on a design, other types of dies would be better for
production. At that point, you would be best off dealing with shops
with experience with sheet metal forming and manufacturing.
You did not say where you were located, maybe someone could make a
specific suggestion if they knew where you were. You need somebody who
knows something about metal to work with you.
tired of seeing serious questions answered with stupid pissy off topic
Usenet _is_ rough. Along with getting advice that you find helpful,
you have to put up with criticism, off-topic posts, personal anecdotes
& sometimes, information that is flat-out incorrect. Oh, the humanity!
If the OP found Harold's post unhelpful, maybe Harold will refund
Don't know where you live, but Zinc was in very common use in the late
1800s and early 1900s. Canner rings (jar lids) were solid zinc. They
were made and used by the thousands in that time period.
Zinc washboards were used by the hundreds - and yes, they did wear
out. Concrete laundry tubs were sold with zink washboards cast right
into them. Galvanized steel would have disintegrated in a very short
time, while the zinc lasted for decades.
For the "dainties" zinc and glass were used. Galvanized boards may
have been used by the poor - but fine"dainties" were at serious risk
of damage with galvanized boards. Laundry tubs were galvanized, but
they did not get the wear a washboard got.
Not 100% sure, but I THINK some of the zinc boards were cast.