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Progress on the cookie tin banjo

Posted by vintagewells on Sunday, March 25, 2007

I have been hard at work on the neck. I glued the fretboard in place and had a little bit of sideways  slippage as one of my balsa stops broke loose. It slipped less than 1/64 of an inch, so it isn't a disaster. This is one reason I am doing this project.... to work out a better method. I used school glue to glue the balsa in place. Previously I had used wood glue.  The school glue did not hold as well, so I won't use that again.

Once the fretboard was glued in place, it was time to rough cut the neck block on the band saw. This is HARD. The first cut was to remove the excess from the back of the peghead. I made this cut fairly generous so that I could sand the peghead to the proper thickness, having extra material to work with. Sometimes my saw wants to cut at a slight angle. The cut turned out parallel to the top of the peghead.

The second cut was for the length of the neck along the back. This went well, with only a few wobbles. For the next cuts which were to cut the excess off the sides along the fretboard. My daughter, Amber, who did the bandsawing on my first banjo, showed me how to tape the wood I just cut out back in place. This provides a stable base for the next cuts. As I sawed through the tape, it was necessary to stop the saw and retape behind the blade.

I cut just a bit outside the fretboard to have a little wiggle room. Even so, I managed to knick the side of the fretboard in one place. Oh wel, it's a spirit hole.

After this, I used the sander to remove the excess along the sides up to the fretboard. See photos.

Ears and a block for the heel were cut from scrap. These were glued and clamped in place and left clamped overnight. See photos.

While the glue was drying, I made an end bolt and a tailpiece. The end  bolt was made from a brass lamp finial and large wood screw. I cut the head off the screw and epoxied the end of the screw into the hole at the end of the finial. When the epoxy had setup, I drilled a hole through both the finial and bolt for the tailpiece bolt. See Photos. I love having a drill press!

For the tailpiece, I used a strip of wood I salvaged from an multi-wood cutting board. It is a lot like ebony in hardness and grain - Very dense. The wood is bright red orange when freshly cut but darkens within days.

The tailpiece is thinner where it will extend over the head. It is a bit narrower than I would like, but that was determined by the thickness of the cutting board. I am finishing it with tung oil and hope that will preserve the color.

This morning I unclamped the ears and heel block and proceeded to start rough shaping the neck. I use those cheap - 3 for a dollar Chinese rasps and metal files. They work well for me and I can easily afford them. The metal files are junk for metal, but do fine on wood. I also  pick up quality rasps at yard sales and the swap meet, but for fast work, the cheapos do a better job. At this point, I have done all the rough shaping. See  photos. When I get back to work, I will do the final shaping with sandpaper. The heel to cookie tin was completed by cutting grooves to accomodate the raised edges of the lid and the bottom. The nut to the truss rod was checked to make sure it wasn't glued into place and could be turned for adjustment. Seems to work just fine.

I have drawn up my peghead design and chosen the material for inlay.

I have not removed the paper from the fret board as it protects it as I work.

That's where I am. This is the last day of spring vacation, so progress won't be as fast in the next week or so.

I guess I didn't get my spring cleaning done....dang!

1 comment on “Progress on the cookie tin banjo”

fitch5string Says:
Sunday, March 25, 2007 @5:09:01 PM

Gotta love a women that can run a bandsaw !!

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