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Building Banjos Still

Posted by snowbirdbanjo on Friday, June 25, 2021

I'm still building banjos, I just don't make it to BHO as often as I'd like. I spend most of my time in the shop (or out working on the farm) away from the computer. So while I'm thinking of it, I thought I'd post a few items here to catch you all up. 

Currently, I have 12 banjo necks I'm working on. One of those necks is a Tenor that was commissioned to exchange a gold tone 5 string neck. You read that right. Going from a 5 string to a 4 string. Anyway, it's almost done and I don't have a picture of it yet. You can get a quick glimpse of it at my Instagram account where I took an earlier video. 

Right now, I'm cutting my ogee design into the necks. This is a detail I add for my own enjoyment. Feels like I'm doing art or something

The shaping has become slightly quicker, though I still need to come up with a good solution for shaping the heels as that process is still very time consuming and hard to replicate exactly. I have also attempted to avoid the overspray problems I have had in the past by taking the spraying process out to a temporary tent which, when I purchased, I thought was a typical "farmers market style" tent. Rather, I got the cheapest possible quality that actually can stand up of its own 4 feet. I'm not sure how long it will last, but it is allowing me to do my spraying outside rather than taking up the tiny valuable space in my shop. 


I recently made a feature on my website that allowed folks to "build a banjo" that really helped me with organizing custom orders. During the first few weeks, I got a lot of orders some came through with the down payment, others elected to wait. Either way, I had already began the neck building process and was well underway with inlay, and I was getting more orders in which required me to modify the existing necks, or the customer would have to wait till the next batch. Well, this created a ton of extra work with "undoing" work and my stress level had reached its maximum point with the addition of springtime and summer duties outside. So, I decided to modify my order taking to a window that opens and closes. During the open period, any order made, will be built in that current batch. If however, there is an order after the window open period, I will build them in the next batch. I believe I have clearly stated this to avoid frustration on everyone's part. 

As time goes on, I'm sure I'll get faster. Even now, I've never built 12 necks in one year, so that's pretty good for me. My kids are showing interest in working in the shop, and at some point, I may have some help soon. 

 



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