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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Banjo Cabinet

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blockader - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:05:15

I'm sure i'm not the first person to have this idea but thought i'd stick it on here anyway. i like having my banjos out to see and play but was tired of dust getting in every little crevice and especially worrying about them getting knocked out of stands. so i got an ol' wooden gun cabinet and converted it into a banjo cabinet. not a lot of folks really use these for guns anymore so they can be had for pretty cheap on craigslist. they were popular in the 50's through the 80's so a lot of them are a bit outdated or, well, cheesy. at least when it comes to use for banjos. so it took me about 6 months to find one that didn't have big bucks stenciled on it or frosted glass etc. i could've had one sooner if i'd been willing to drive to atlanta but my '78 F-250 doesn't ride the interstates so well. the one i finally found was $75 on craigslist. there are also pre-1950 cases for much more money.

it was solid wood but for some reason they had used fake wood paneling for the back so i had to put a new back on obviously. i used hardwood veneer plywood. home depot was out of birch so i got the oak cause i wanted it done this weekend. the grain doesn't match so well but whatever. i stained it mahogony. i also added some lights and a red oak back brace that hooks can screw into for hanging instruments. the brace is the same thickness as the floor molding so the case sits flush with the wall at top and bottom. i will eventually screw it into studs in the wall as well, though its plenty sturdy as is unless theres an earthquake.

i still need to order some new hardware. also, if i had it to do over i think i would have just painted the wood panel backing black and saved $25 on the plywood. the whole project cost about $120 plus whatever the hardware costs ($15?).

the space on the right will accommodate my Romero next spring and there is space to hang another banjo to the right of my prust. theres also room to stick a few fiddles in there. hmmm.


Banjo Cabinet

Banjo Cabinet

yopasjim - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:10:35

GREAT idea!  I thought this was pretty cool!

shannonhearne - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:14:32


Your "banjo cabinet" looks good.

Thanks for the posting and photos.


earlsgranada - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:17:44

That's pretty cool! It's nice that there a light in there, too!

Great job!


piscesgrrl - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:27:20

What a great idea! This is much safer than a stand. I love how your banjos have become functional art in your house!

jbalch - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:31:16

Nice...Now it looks like you need more banjos to fill it upbig

lbartosh - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:41:53

Justin, thats one neat idea. So much better than china, books or niknaks.

SoggyBottom - Posted - 09/20/2011:  09:49:40

oooh I like that, I need one too ... also, looks like you need a couple more banjos to balance out the visual

Jim D - Posted - 09/20/2011:  10:10:38

Great "adaptive re-use"!

Just to get a feel for what's out there locally I did a couple of Craigslist searches on nearby cities. Zowie! I found bunches of glass front gun cabinets... most under $150.00... some way under.


Brian T - Posted - 09/20/2011:  10:25:45

You may claim not to be the first with this idea but you have set a rather high standard for those who follow.
I really like the accent lights and the new back: takes the gloom right out of the cabinet and shows off the banjos.
I wouldn't put fiddles in there: you never know what might happen when the lights are off.

Jason Wilkerson - Posted - 09/20/2011:  10:38:27

Great idea!  I remember seeing a picture from Jim Mill's seminar on pre-war banjos at his house, and I think he has something similar.  Great minds think alike, huh.

RatLer - Posted - 09/20/2011:  11:19:19

Very  ice looking cabinet. Great idea!!!

asmcsgac - Posted - 09/20/2011:  11:21:12


NINJO - Posted - 09/20/2011:  11:24:05

Very cool.

banjotef - Posted - 09/20/2011:  11:31:10

That looks great!   Old book cases work well, too!

trapdoor2 - Posted - 09/20/2011:  11:33:16

What a great thing to do. Now I'm going to have to find one for my Stewarts. These old gun cabinets show up in local auctions all the time...but now that I'll be looking for one, they'll all go into hiding. sad

Stewart (and many other makers of the period) had huge display cabinets especially made for exhibitions, etc. When I talked to Eli Kaufman back last year, he said that finding one of Stewart's original display cabinets would be the capper to his collection. You'd need a house with 12-foot ceilings, at least. big

Banjo-Man-Dan - Posted - 09/20/2011:  12:08:06

Wow!... very, very nice. I'm ready to start shopping for one. Thank you so much for the idea.

One question: Are you using a humidifier in the cabinet and if so, which one?

Paul R - Posted - 09/20/2011:  13:28:28

Good stuff! Like a china cabinet, but more practical (if you're a banjo player - the Mrs. bought a china cabinet this past spring). You even have space below for picks, capos, straps, and a stash of banjo books and DVDs. Neat!

picKen - Posted - 09/20/2011:  13:30:12

Man, that's awesome!  Great idea!  Really like the lighting.  Only prob is if it's like a gun cabinet, it looks even better full.  Hope you got some more jos.  If not, now u got  a good reason to buy more! He He He

Deaf Lester Crawdad - Posted - 09/20/2011:  13:55:57

Living in California, the first word that crossed my mind was "EARTHQUAKE!"

And they just had one on the east coast, you know...


blockader - Posted - 09/20/2011:  14:15:14

wow, glad folks like it! it was very easy to do and anyone with modest handiness and simple tools ought to have no problem. the lights are under cabinet lights sold in 3-packs at home depot for $20. you could also use florescent strip lights but the light they put off isn't quite as warm looking. i can't wait to see what other folks come up with.

to answer some questions:

thanks for all the concern but more banjos are on the way! one is loaned out right now and i'm due for a romero early next spring sometime. knowing i didn't want a dusty romero or a romero sitting in a case is really what gave me the idea for the cabinet.

dan, i am not using a humidifier right now but will be putting one in before i crank up the wood stove in few months as it really dries out the house. so i could use any recommendations on a humidifier too.

brian, but i was really looking forward to some fidjo babies.

pete, "i will eventually screw it into studs in the wall as well, though its plenty sturdy as is unless theres an earthquake." exactly what i was thinking!


Edited by - blockader on 09/20/2011 14:16:49

bricklifter - Posted - 09/20/2011:  17:55:26

Sharp, plus it looks like it is out of direct sunlight so the instrument surfaces will not fade.  Hopefully the lights dont makemuch heat



JMalmsteen - Posted - 09/21/2011:  04:53:30

That is nice!!! You are creative. What a great use for an old gun cabinet. I'm sure the wives would appreciate this. It looks great.

DJMorgan - Posted - 09/21/2011:  17:23:09

Nice job.

blockader - Posted - 09/21/2011:  17:37:15

many thanks! bricklifter, the lights put off a little heat if you hold your hand directly beneath them but didn't appreciably heat the cabinet up over the course of a few hours when i left them on to test it. the lights are really for occasional use rather than being on all the time, anyway. i am way to cheap to leave lights on even for the sake of making banjos pretty. of course, i could always install a computer fan with a thermostat on the ceiling of the cabinet that would automatically come on if the temp rose. might be overkill.

jmalsteen, my wife is ecstatic that a banjo no longer commands a permanent spot on the love seat. we'll see if that lasts.


BanjoJohnny - Posted - 10/02/2011:  12:14:10


Originally posted by blockader"i will eventually screw it into studs in the wall as well, though its plenty sturdy as is unless theres an earthquake." exactly what i was thinking!


When I lived in So. California, I bought earthquake straps that attach to the furniture with Velcro and the strap bolts into the studs behind the furniture so you don't see it. All desk, china hutch, etc. were don't this way and they sure were stable. We didn't have anything fall over and they were tested several times.

Edited by - BanjoJohnny on 10/02/2011 12:16:27

paulaschumm - Posted - 10/03/2011:  03:02:34

Blockader, what a great idea! I love what you did with it.


BPDye - Posted - 10/03/2011:  20:20:40

Beautiful and a great idea.   I think I will try one.


blockader - Posted - 10/08/2011:  08:36:33

theres a few nice ones around N. Georgia right now, for anyone in that area thats interested.  - $25!!!!


p.s. a friend who is looking for one pointed out that if the glass has a big buck etching you can just get a new piece of glass cut. last time i had a piece of thin, flat glass cut it was about $50 for 3x4 feet

Edited by - blockader on 10/08/2011 08:45:46

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