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Apr 7, 2021 - 2:25:43 PM

ragalb

Canada

66 posts since 1/27/2021

I want to try making a scroll style peghead on my next banjo like on the old Boucher minstrel banjos. This is for a mountain banjo in my case. I'm wondering how much angle to put on the peghead. On my first banjo I did a figure 8 style with a 15 degree angle. The scroll style seems to usually be in plane with the fingerboard from what I can tell. Never seen one in person unfortunately. How much angle can I add without it looking off? 15 seems like it would look really off. 10 degrees, 5 degrees? What have you guys done if you've made scroll pegheads?

Apr 7, 2021 - 3:15:40 PM
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3036 posts since 2/18/2009

Traditionally they were flat or nearly, as far as I know. I have only made a few, but I have made them all at least a bit angled if I recall correctly. I think the ones I have made were in the 5+ degree range but I didn't measure the angle in degrees, I just took a guess and drew it. The last one was determined partly by the greatest angle that I could make in a piece of 8/4 cherry without having to glue more wood onto the back. I drew it that way and the customer said it seemed okay so I went ahead with it. Here are a couple of pictures:




Apr 7, 2021 - 3:59:38 PM

ragalb

Canada

66 posts since 1/27/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Hoyt

Traditionally they were flat or nearly, as far as I know. I have only made a few, but I have made them all at least a bit angled if I recall correctly. I think the ones I have made were in the 5+ degree range but I didn't measure the angle in degrees, I just took a guess and drew it. The last one was determined partly by the greatest angle that I could make in a piece of 8/4 cherry without having to glue more wood onto the back. I drew it that way and the customer said it seemed okay so I went ahead with it. Here are a couple of pictures:


That's an absolutely gorgeous banjo. My mouth is watering all of a sudden. Maybe I'll aim for 5-8 degrees and see what looks good. You haven't had issues with strings popping out of the nut then I suppose? 

I'm wondering also for the little bit that pops out for the 5th peg how thick you make it. I guess a 1/2 inch or so like on the peghead would work but I'll ask anyways to be sure. 

Apr 7, 2021 - 5:01:43 PM
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52 posts since 8/31/2015

I have a Bell Boucher style and I just checked- it is 10°, but I'm not sure if he stayed true to the originals.

I also just remembered- one of the first gourd banjos I made had about a 2.5° angle. The strings wanted to come out of the slots, so I fashioned an ebony string retainer, kind of like on a floyd rose equipped guitar :)

Edited by - TreyDBanjoKS on 04/07/2021 17:14:02

Apr 7, 2021 - 7:22:21 PM
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3036 posts since 2/18/2009

I'm sorry, I don't recall how thick the 5th string tuner area is. I would think 1/2" would be fine. The banjo in the pictures is the only Boucher style banjo I've made, and most of the design came from information on Randy Cordle's bluestemstrings.com. The site is no longer active, but the Boucher templates and most of the rest of the site can be accessed through the Wayback Machine. There were some alterations made to suit the customer's preferences, and some things like the shoe shape were because I didn't think I had the skills to make them as shown.

Apr 9, 2021 - 7:43:28 AM

118 posts since 12/6/2019

I'm working on my second gourd banjo for a friend. He wanted walnut and I only have 4/4 thickness walnut, so I did a stacked heel, and rather than gluing on a block for an angled peghead, I kept the peghead in line with the fingerboard. I'm hoping that a taller nut with deep slots will correct any issues with the strings popping out. Will let you know how it goes!




Apr 9, 2021 - 7:59:54 AM
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6081 posts since 9/21/2007

For exact measurements the one to reach out to would be George Wunderlich.

I seem to recall learning from George and the exhibit on Baltimore banjos ( banjonews.com/2014-11/the_balt...ibit.html ) plus handling originals that they were built at the lowest cost possible. The necks were made using furniture grade lumber (often popular or maple) in 1" thick boards. The heel was stacked.

The taper was as much as you could get out of a 1" piece of lumber.

The theory is that Boucher banjos were built buy many different people or shops with some variation.

Edited by - Joel Hooks on 04/09/2021 08:00:58

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