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Cookie Tin Banjo Project

Posted by vintagewells on Friday, March 23, 2007

I have been wanting to make a cookie tin banjo for several months now. But it seems that when i started looking for a cookie tin suitable for a banjo, the banjo gods were hiding them from me. I looked in thrift shops, yard sales and the antique show. They're everywhere, right? No, not when you want a specific size. There were small heart shaped ones, square ones, rectangular ones, really large ones that hold a years supply of popcorn, but not one banjo tin!

Then I found one at an as is yard for $.50. So the project was on.  I have a picture of the tin and my 'plans' on my photo gallery.

I used some recycled wood cut from the back of the bookcase I have in my shop. I Had to fit the case against a wall that has a  pipe running up it. I don't know  what kind of wood it is. It is the color of a deep mahogany, but has a grain, is pretty soft and spllinterrs easily. But good enough for a cookit tin banjo. Stripped the layers of white and alvocado green off - well sort of. I ran out of stripper but proceeded to cut the sections for the neck block anyway. My photo gallery has photos of making a balsa wood neck to illustrate making a neck/peghead in which both have the grain straight. These I glued together. See Photo. On the center section, I cut a notch in the heel end for the dowel rod. Previously I have not had great accuracy in drilling out a dowel hole. I just don't have the equipment to do the job properly. This is my solution. To cut a notch that is tilted 3 degrees upward, so that when the dowel is glued in it will be parallel to oothe head.

At this point I finished stripping the wood, then sanded it flat. i have glued three pieces of sandpaper to a marble slab to make a stable, very flat sanding slab upon which I can sand a good flat surface.

I carved a groove in the center of center section for a truss rod. OK that is a bit of overkill for a cookie tin banjo, but I wanted to work out the technique before I tackled one using a good hardwood. good thing I did too, because my first attempt was a disaster. Wrong spacing with the nut too far down the neck.

I used threaded stock for the truss rod. After reading on the Hangout, about having the adjustment at the heel end, I wanted to try that. To make the stop, I cut down one of those threaded things they use to screw the legs on cheap particle board tables. It has a larger inside diameter than the diameter of the threaded stock, so the stock just slides in. It makes a nice stable stop.

At  the neck end, a nut was screwed on to the stock and the stock bent to lie parallel to the top of the peghead. See photos.

The three sections were then glued together to make the neck block. See Photo. I do this in two stages. Gluing one side to the center section and letting it set for an hour or so. Then I glue the remaining side and clamp it all together and let it set for 24 hours.

For the fingerboard, I selected a scrap of hobbyshop 1/4" plywood, to which i glued a piece of oak veneer. The grain of the plywood was running crosswise or parallel to the frets, so i used the veneer. I have a lot of oak veneer. I chose o section that has the grain intersecting to form a chevron pattern. I think it will make an interesting fretboad.

The heel was cut at a three degree angle on the band saw. Using a rasp, I cut it down to fit the curvature of the cookie tin.

At this point, I drew up full size patterns for the neck profile and the fretboard. Um, that's the way I kind of do things. I know, You should have the full size pattern first....

The patterns were glued onto the fretboard and sides of the neck block. I use glue sticks for this as it is easy to remove and washes right off with a damp sponge.The fretboard was cut out and the sides sanded to take out any saw marks and wobbles.

The top surface of the neck block and peghead were sanded flat.

In preparati

1 comment on “Cookie Tin Banjo Project”

u k sandra Says:
Saturday, March 24, 2007 @10:20:27 AM

Wow, I`m well impressed. i can`t wait to see it finished. You`ve made me want to go out and look for cookie tins.

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