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My Squared Eel Project reaches the halfway point.

Monday, May 5, 2014



 

I opened my Squared Eel care package from Mike Gregory and carefully laid out the pieces. I am so excited. I've been without a banjo since I hocked two of them and an ovation guitar to pay the electric bill in 2010 when we got into a serious financial crisis.

I have decided to record my assembly process with my camera and put together a comprehensive set of instructions for putting together this noble instrument. I'm doing a couple of, shall we say, "Deluxe" features on this baby. Turns out the neck is long enough to make a longneck banjo out of her - my instrument of choice.

Mike included what appears to be the metal strips out of old windshield wiper blades to use as frets if it suits me. It probably will. I need frets to keep me in tune.

What I've done differently with this one:

  1. Set it up as a longneck banjo
  2. Screwed the pot together, countersunk the screws and covered them with wooden buttons.
  3. Routed some of the edges except on top of the fretboard.
  4. I used hide glue instead of Elmer's
  5. I downloaded WFret and printed out the fret template to my Squared Eel's unique dimensions
  6. I am using red oak veneer to cover the fretboard
  7. I am using a 3 liter pop bottle for the head instead of a 2 liter. I'll trim the extra after I stretch it and fasten it down with decorative brass tacks.
  8. I will be staining it a light oak or cherry (whichever can of stain I can find - I still haven't unpacked my shop stuff since we moved). I'll varnish it with a high gloss polyurethane (since I'm fresh out of spar varnish (which I prefer)
  9. I've ordered a nut and a bridge rather than make my own. Still thinking about how to do the tailpiece - I've found some very creative ideas on the Internet.
  10. I plan to inlay a design into the headstock - probably an Ichthys which I had on my first banjo.

Anyway, I've got the wooden parts altogether and am ready to add the nut when it gets here and the fretboard, then stain and varnish. With any luck I'll attach the head, the bridge and tailpiece and string her up next weekend.

Wish me luck!

Tom
 

*Note: I only thought I was halfway. Looks like 3 weekends instead of 2.

 

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twayneking has 206 friends. View entire friends list.

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J-Walk
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Nancy
Nancy
schlange
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Dead Wood
Dead Wood
frailin
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Sean ONeel
Sean ONeel
BanjoDiva
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www.twayneking.blogspot.com

Playing Since: 1973
Experience Level: Novice

twayneking has made 7 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 

Interests:
[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Freelance Writer, nonprofit consultant & grant writer

Gender: Male
Age: 66

My Instruments:
Squared Eel custom banjo, Goya classical guitar

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Clancy Brothers, Earl Scruggs, Steve Martin, Connie Dover, Emmy Lou and anyone, Willie Nelson and anyone, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Gordon Lightfoot, Alison Kraus, Nickel Creek, Joe Bethancourt

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Visible to: Public
Created 6/26/2007
Last Visit 8/21/2020

I grew up in the small Seventh-day Adventist college town of Keene, Texas where I graduated in 1976 with a degree in English-Communications. I married a Scots-Irish-Indian woman from Monroe, Louisiana and raised three children and some cats and dogs, birds and fish. I’ve taught school, taught swimming, canoeing and sailing, knot tying, camping and astronomy for kids. I’ve water skied on canoe paddles, assorted bits of lumber and my elbows. I have a couple of canoes and a catamaran, 3 guitars, two banjos, a dulcimer, a mandolin, a fiddle, 2 recorders, a penny whistle, fife, a bag of harmonicas, a bodhrain, pair of bones and a jaw harp or two – all of which I play badly. I’ve helped start up 6 nonprofit organizations in 25 years and raised millions of dollars none of which ever managed to stick to my bank account. I’ve won awards for documentary screen-writing, published poetry and short stories and a book on how to organize a charity golf tournament. I was appointed to a two year term on the Public Transportation Advisory Committee for the Great State of Texas by the Governor and I work as an advocate for seniors, people with disabilities and low income families. I’m a Reagan conservative, which puzzles my fellow advocates, who think I should spontaneously combust from the sheer incongruity. On the other hand, I’ve taught them to speak Republican which has improved their rate of success with the state legislature. I am currently raising funds to expand Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge here in East Texas. My advocacy work includes children’s issues, expanding public transportation, creating barrier free housing and promoting community wide accessibility standards that allow transportation challenged Texans to fully participate in their communities. I have three grandchildren, a son and daughter-in-law, my beautiful daughter and her new husband and we live on beautiful Lake Palestine near Tyler, Texas. My middle son, an amazing young man, passed away more than a year ago while finishing his senior year at UT Tyler. He was going to be a teacher. Since I wrote this, we moved away from the lake, lost almost everything and moved to Puyallup, Washington to live with my wife's sister and brother-in-law. In the midst of a recession and massive unemployment, it seemed to be the thing to do. We've cut our expenses drastically and I'm able to work on finishing up the books I have been working on.

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