Pete, welcome to the group. I believe I bought a copy of you book, "Scales and Arpeggios for the 5-string banjo" back in about 1978. That was quite a monumental work, on a scale of the Converse 1886 Analytical!
I may have the year wrong. It was sometime there in the late 70's/early 80's. I was a bluegrass fanatic back then, couldn't have cared less about clawhammer. Now my love of history has led me to spend most of my time with the ol' stroke style. A trifle ironic, I suppose. I didn't realize you played historic banjo, I always thought of you as a "modernist." It's great to have you here. We have a Minstrel Banjo Gathering coming up in June in Maryland. Join us us you can.
Peter, I can't remember off the top of my head what the optimum string gauge is for the "Briggs tuning," but we have had several discussions about it here, you might try searching "string gauge" or something. I order my gut strings from Bob Thornburg of Sierra View Music out in your home state, and he knows just the right gauge to send me.