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Sep 27, 2020 - 1:12:40 PM
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7811 posts since 1/7/2005

More banjo jewelry. This one is a little late in coming, so I'm not adding it to the original thread.

Every bit of the armrest save the hex screw, was made from bits and scraps of leftover metals and wood from my scrap bin.

Metals are: 14 gauge Nickel silver plate, silver soldered to 14 gauge bronze plate. 

Inlaid materials are: Coco Bolo, Ebony, boxwood, MOP

The rest clamps to a pair of bracket hooks in standard fashion. The same wrench fits the tailpiece, bracket nuts and rim bolts. 

Edited by - Dan Drabek on 09/27/2020 13:18:51

Sep 27, 2020 - 4:56:23 PM

4540 posts since 9/7/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Dan Drabek

More banjo jewelry. This one is a little late in coming, so I'm not adding it to the original thread.

Every bit of the armrest save the hex screw, was made from bits and scraps of leftover metals and wood from my scrap bin.

Metals are: 14 gauge Nickel silver plate, silver soldered to 14 gauge bronze plate. 

Inlaid materials are: Coco Bolo, Ebony, boxwood, MOP

The rest clamps to a pair of bracket hooks in standard fashion. The same wrench fits the tailpiece, bracket nuts and rim bolts. 


A true "Arm" rest!  I love it!

Sep 27, 2020 - 5:08:49 PM
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7811 posts since 1/7/2005

Thanks Marvin. You know what it takes.

DD

Sep 28, 2020 - 5:15:11 AM

13207 posts since 6/29/2005

I have been waiting for this and knew it would be good, but couldn't guess what you were going to do—it's fantastic!

Somehow, I never guessed it would actually be an arm—I love it.

I think the attachment bracket is beautiful, and not something you would usually think of lavishing a lot of artistic time on, but you have really done that well.

Your method of making the nickel-silver framework with wood and MOP inlay is something you have developed on several banjos, and is always a pleasure to see.  If I am reading this correctly, the arm is cocobolo, with a boxwood stripe and ebony "elbow".

I notice that Rescue Pearl now sells little sheets of stone material in the same thicknesses as MOP blanks, in a wide variety of colors, which I think would lend itself to that technique.  I bought some for an upcoming project and will give it a try as inlay material—she says you can cut it with a jeweler's saw.

Anyway, this whole banjo is really a piece of art (as all of your banjos are). The humor of this one is especially captivating.

Ken

Sep 28, 2020 - 9:50:49 AM

7811 posts since 1/7/2005

Thanks Ken.

I had some fun with this banjo, and it would be fun to see future owners looking it over--thinking what's with this tailpiece, or what's this armrest--and then the lightbulb comes on.

I used boxwood ( I'm pretty sure, that's what it is, but, I could be mistaken) I used it on the hand and the trim next to the ebony. I wanted woods that could stand a lot of contact with sweaty hands, etc. Thus the cocobolo, ebony and boxwood. When finished, I rubbed the wood with some mineral oil, and the boxwood came up darker than I expected, and I lost some contrast. Oh well.

Rescue Pearl has a pretty nice selection of non-shell material for inlaty. There are plenty of stones, like turquoise, and opal that aren't much harder than MOP and would hold up well as inlays. I've also bought fossilized Mammoth ivory from her in the past, but I don't see it on her web site any more. But it's available from places that specialize in knife making supplies. Lots of possibilities for use on nuts and inlay besides MOP, wood and bone.

Edited by - Dan Drabek on 09/28/2020 09:52:35

Sep 28, 2020 - 10:07:17 AM

conic

England

816 posts since 2/15/2014

well done Dan, I'm always impressed by the high standard of workmanship from the members on here.

Sep 28, 2020 - 1:46:38 PM

13207 posts since 6/29/2005

Dan,

I think this banjo really opens a new door—that being lighthearted humor.  We really need that in this era of polarization.

If you look back through art history, or at least the history of applied art, humor hasn't been used to good advantage—art isn't usually allowed to be funny, and I think we need more of this today,  and I'm talking about humor in good spirit, as you have done.  As D.K. Chesterton said "it's easy to be heavy, hard to be light".  I think you have really achieved lightness here.

Granted, these are cleverly aimed at those of us who know about banjos, but that's the audience, and you have reached us!  Banjos aren't that deadly serious unless you make them so.

A one-time very funny person of the past, who also plays the banjo—Steve Martin, has gone into the "This is really serious stuff and I am not a comedian" mode—we have a fiddler who can play all kinds of classical stuff during the endless Orange Blossom Special, which I thought was supposed to be funny, not an insult, and I'll admit that when I first found out he had a bluegrass band in Brevard NC called the "Steep Canyon Rangers" I misheard it as the "Steve Canyon Rangers"—much funnier, but it's not supposed to be funny (even though it is).

Keep making banjos, Dan!

Sep 28, 2020 - 2:28:21 PM

7811 posts since 1/7/2005

Hi Ken,

There has been some pretty light hearted banjo designs over the years, though they aren't exactly common. Kevin Enoch's "Creature from the Black Lagoon" banjo comes to mind.
And some of the vintage stuff from the early 20th century are pretty wacky. I think banjo pickers tend to appreciate the bizarre. Note how every other bluegrass group does standup comedy between tunes. :->
DD

Oct 2, 2020 - 7:54:19 AM

13207 posts since 6/29/2005

Thinking about that armrest and other details on the banjo, I got to thinking about cloissone and champleve, and I don't think I have ever seen either technique used on banjos.

I could see cloisonne inlays, peghead designs etc., and, of course, armrests. I wonder why nobody has done that (at least I've never seen it)?

Ken

Oct 2, 2020 - 8:56:34 AM

7811 posts since 1/7/2005

Hi Ken. I think cloissone would look just fine on a banjo. Traditionally, banjos have tended to be more highly ornamented than guitars, though ornamentation leans toward monochromatic color schemes. The long accepted methods include pearl inlay, fancy binding, engraving, gold plating and heel carving.
Metal inlay, while common on vintage firearms, is not very common on banjos. Hand engraving is the decoration of choice on metal parts, while inlaid metal is uncommon. In fact, aside from engraving, most extraneous metal items like tailpieces and armrests tend to be more mechanical than decorative. I've enjoyed exploring alternatives over the years on this forum. While playing with etching, metal into pearl, and pearl into metal, I've had fun in areas that are largely unexplored. Variety is the spice of life. I do, however, try to maintain a traditional look on my banjos. And I know you do too. It helps make the instrument easy to fall in live with. I have no interest in high tech when it comes to banjos.
DD

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