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 Appropriate Finish on Added Heal Cap

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United States
123 posts
since 10/2/11

03/20/2017 12:12:58 View banjoracle's Classified Ads View banjoracle's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I have crafted a walnut heel cap 1/4in thick but have not installed it yet.  The reason for adding the heel cap is to extend the heel so I have more meat on the heel to install the lag bolts in the correct position for a proper fit to a banjo pot.  I am thinking of gluing the unfinished cap and then taping the finished part of the heel before staining and applying a protective clear coat. 

Is this the correct order of events or should I finish the heal cap first? 

Also, what sort of protective clear coat should I use on such a small part?

I have a lot of experience tinkering but haven't done any wood work on a banjo, so your informed advice is much appreciated.




United States
2692 posts since 5/12/10

03/20/2017 12:30:52View OldPappy's MP3 Archive View OldPappy's Photo Albums View OldPappy's Blog Reply with Quote

Stain will bleed under tape, and maybe even bleed under the finish applied on the heel.

I suppose you have a reason for wanting to stain it, but you will probably have to sand the edges for a final fit which would remove stain applied before installation.

A color contrast usually looks good for a heel cap.

As to finish, it is difficult to say without knowing what the finish is on the neck heel.

I don't use lacquer, but know some finishes do not get along well with lacquer, so if it is lacquer i would use spray on lacquer.

Otherwise I would probably use either Minwax wipe on poly, or Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil (I do not know if either of these will work with lacquer). 


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Ken LeVanPlayers Union Member

United States
9818 posts since 6/29/05

03/20/2017 13:27:07View Ken LeVan's MP3 Archive View Ken LeVan's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

If you are planning to install lag bolts in a Mastertone type heel, and are contemplating adding wood to the heel, I would highly reccomend cutting a groove and installing an "L" bolt for the bottom one before putting the heel cap on.

That's the way the PWs were done, and the "L' bolt won't tear out like the lags sometimes do. You can make one out of a 20d nail.


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United States
500 posts since 2/20/16

03/20/2017 14:55:35 Reply with Quote

French polish is easy to control in this situation.  Requires minimal sanding, goes on thin enough that it blends in with surrounding areas.  Practice on scrap first.

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