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Return to the Cello

Posted by Yopparai on Wednesday, June 27, 2007

After a break, I have returned to the Cello banjo project. Boy, has the price of rosewood gone up. The cost for this order was twice what my last one cost. And to make matters worse, it looks more like zebra wood from all the light colored streaks.  On the bright side, I have considered using zebra wood in the past, so its all good.

I spent part of my break considering my options for tensioning the head. After seeing Haiku's monster banjo thread, I was considering making holes in the head at the hoop, tying fishing line around the hoop through the holes, and then mounting cheap guitar tuners inside the pot to apply tension. That idea still appeals to me, but Vintagewells (Lorna) posted something that really resonated with my cheap, recycling spirit. She stated that she had used bicycle spokes as tension hooks. Bicycle spokes - absolutely brilliant.

So it was off to the yard to snatch one of the kids' bikes!  Before anyone thinks horrible things about me, the bike I grabbed was one of their old retired bikes that had been abandoned on the ground under the trees with two flat tires. Honest. As I was loosening the nuts that hold the front tire on, the kids gathered around and asked "What cha doing, father?" I grinned my evilest grin and replied "I am building a banjo!" After a few moments you could see it sink in as the ramifications of what I said and the item I was harvesting parts from connected in their minds. This was the same man that had just the week before dug through their toy boxes breaking open toys that he thought might contain a piezo disk. Now that same man was disassembling a bicycle to build a banjo. Little did they know that their cause for concern would later become greater.

Well, it takes a while to remove all the spokes from a bicycle wheel. A lot of thoughts drifted through my head about how one might be able to used a bike wheel with spokes and hub attached in a banjo. I was also impressed with how few spokes it actually takes to keep the hub suspended in the middle of the rim. The kids were eager to get on father's good side and helped reunite the liberated spokes with their spoke nuts. Once I had all the spokes and hub parts tucked in baggies I looked at  what was left.


Click to Enlarge
After a considerable amount of scrubbing with steel wool, the wheel rim was a shiny chrome ring. Now what is it that that reminds me of? Hmm... something shiny and round...
Click to Enlarge Something that sometimes has no holes, and sometimes does have holes, like this one. Something one might find in a fine musical instrument. Maybe in something like a banjo... Ah HA! Someone cleverly used a tone ring as a bicycle wheel rim!
Click to Enlarge I pointed this out to the kids as I grabbed m

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