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Cookie Tin Banjo Update

Posted by vintagewells on Saturday, March 31, 2007

With the ears glued in place, I sanded the top and back of the peghead. I managed to sand into the neck wood at the base of the thumb stop with the disk sander, taking a circular chunk out. OOPS!  My remedy for this blunder was to sand a matching curve on the other side. VOILA! It may have been a mistake, but it made a nice decoration where the veneer meets the neck.  See Photo.

For both the front and back I chose the veneer pattern to flare out from the neck. For the front, I first cut out the space for the inlay before gluing. It's just easier for me to do it that way. I used snipped off straight pins to secure the veneer in place while I clamped the veneer in place for drying. They were driven into the area that would be removed when the peghead is cut.

(I just learned a valuable lesson here.... I wanted to check on the photos and in doing so lost my blog entry. After retyping it, I posted it, and am now editing it. )

I rough shaped the peghead on the bandsaw, then finished up with rasps, files and sandpaper. I chose to place the tuners below the inlay, which is rather large.

I cut a hole for the dowel, using Mike Gregory's directions. First measuring the neck to rim placement, I marked the square and drilled a hole through the center of the square. Then cut to the corners from the center. I partially folded the flaps to the inside and then inserted the dowel, pushing it through until it hit the opposite side of the tin. As it was pushed through the  flaps bent back to fit. The neck end of the dowel rod was fitted into the heel and the neck to rim fit was checked. Some sanding was necessary on both ends to adjust the fit. When everything fit nicely, the dowel was glued into the heel. A hole was drilled into the tin and dowel for the end bolt.

I measured the scale length as 25".For the fret spacing, I used an online fret calculator. A paper pattern was drawn up, using 10 spaces/inch graph paper and an accurate ruler. This was glued to the fretboard with a glue stick. The frets were cut, scoring first with an exacto knife. Then a thin file, and finally a thin hobby saw.

Before setting the frets, I wanted to install the position markers. I decided to use ebony as the fretboard is light colored. Now to make those pesky little dots, takes forever if done one at a time. Some of them tend to fly off into the land of lost dots. I'm sure there are enough there to do a fretboard or two....but I'll never find them.

Not wanting to spend all my time looking for dropped dots, I came up with the following: I cut a piece of ebony 1/4" X1/4" X 3". This i rounded off to make a small dowel rod, which i cut in two. I driled holes in the end of a piece of scrap wood and inserted the dowels. I then marked cutting lines on the side of the block. With the bandsaw, I cut partway through the dowel/block. Then cut the slices free. In the photos, you can see how this is done. It made nice pairs of dots, set neatly into little holders. When I needed one, I just broke away the holder. None dropped or missing.

Installing the frets.....big lesson learned here... it is not going well. I used the same tools as I have used sucessfully before, and the same fretwire. But, the frets were not setting in properly, and were falling out.

My reasoning on this problem is that I used a high grade hobby plywood, upon which I glued the veneer. In doing this aligned the grain of the veneer to run down the neck. In the top layer of plywood, however, the grain is running across the neck. This was done so that the grain in the core of the plywood would run down the neck.

To bite in and hold the frets should be set cross grain. But in this case, the part that bites in, is running with the grain and doesn't  work. So I am resorting to gluing them in and clamping them down tight. To advoid damaging the back of the neck I cut a sturdy c

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