I just found a crack just below the volute on my Wildwood Paragon banjo. It's not opened up yet but it's there on both side. This banjo is made with quarter-sawn walnut (I think that's right) and is absolutely stunning in looks and sound.
What is the best way to get this stabilized? Is it possible to get this repaired or will it require a replacement neck? Given that it's a 2 piece walnut neck with abalone inlays I'm afraid of what it might cost so a repair would be best for my budget right now.
It does not appear that it has had a lick of any sort, but this banjo was stored in its case in another state for a long time. Could opening it up in a very dry (we are in a drought) environment cause something like this?
That's a nice banjo, so I would recommend having a well seasoned repairman execute the work. I've seen too many of these jobs botched by shade-tree fix-it men.
Cracks of this type are usually caused by stress or shock. Even if the instrument was cased, a big enough jolt could have caused the crack, possibly when it was being transported. It may even have gotten banged around in storage.
I often see guitar, mandolin, and violin bodies crack due to extremes of humidity, but I have not seen a neck crack for those reasons.
We are now officially in a state of severe drought in the mid-south. We had high temperatures and almost no rain in September, and not much rain in August. Today, it was 97 degrees. I hope we get a break soon.
It looks like a pretty clear impact crack, like when a banjo in case falls over. A good repair should be able to make that almost invisible. I remember Saga shipping me a J.D. Crowe banjo and finding a similar crack when I unboxed the case. This is the reason extreme care must be taken in shipping a banjo. The headstock needs to be fully supported fore and aft.
Thanks so much for the advice and input. I'm checking to see about getting a pro repair, it's a great banjo. We are terribly dry in AL and stinking hot as well. With all the talk about climate change and global warming, it's interesting that we are breaking temp records all across the state. The funny thing is that yesterday broke a temp record in northwest AL at 99F but the previous record was set in 1903.