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Journey of building a block rim woodie

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Sep 10, 2019 - 4:17:14 PM
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949 posts since 4/13/2017

So over the past month or so, I've been working on building a block rim for a banjo. I am also building the neck, and am about to start on the resonator. This banjo is mostly cherry, but the fretboard and peghead overlay are walnut, and the top layer of the block rim is maple.

The first picture is the three tiers before I started shaping, the second picture the the three tiers stacked but not glued. I skipped pictures in between, but the third and fourth pictures are once the rim was shaped to 11" OD and 9.5 ID, with a 1/4" bead on top to serve as the "tone ring". The fifth picture shows the rim after coordinator rod holes have been drilled and the flange slot cut, and the other pictures are with the hardware and an unfinished neck beside the pot.

I am really proud of this. It's my first one. I would like to thank the folks here who have gave me plenty of advice and ideas (I used Dan Drabek's router table idea for shaping the rim). I would also like to thank a good friend of mine who also builds banjos for his advice and help. Most of all, I would like to thank my grandpa. If not for him, I wouldn't have access to a bandsaw, belt sander, and drill press, nor would the rim have gotten shaped. I tried to use the router table myself, and it nearly slung my rim across my porch. I soon became scared of the router table, and my grandpa did all of the shaping, just listening to my measurement and where to make the cuts.

PS: The head in the photos is just an old head I had laying around, and won't be on the finished banjo.


Sep 10, 2019 - 5:06:43 PM

128 posts since 3/16/2008

Congratulations! Looking great so far!

Sep 10, 2019 - 5:08:17 PM

436 posts since 4/13/2011

Congrats and it’s nice to hear that others have helped along the way! We’ve all benefitted from the help and patience of mentors.

Sep 11, 2019 - 6:36:04 AM

487 posts since 7/10/2012

Really nice work! That is a good looking lip on that woody tone ring :).

Sep 11, 2019 - 6:41:52 AM

60 posts since 6/2/2015

Great job - I too have a healthy fear of my router table (and have thrown a ring or two across the room). Developing skill on simpler applications and figuring out what jogs and support you need to make up for any deficits in skill are a big part of working with power tools I have found.

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