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Apr 20, 2021 - 4:48:17 AM

issi

UK

14 posts since 11/7/2015

Hi, I have a new project...I now have a sturdier zither mandolin banjo which is in ok condition but is missing it's back. It's pot is nearly round (?!!) at 8" one way and 7 7/8" the other way - it may round-up once it's been strung for a while.

My questions are, oh wonderful people,
a) what wood and what thickness should I use for the back, please?
b) any tips on making one?
c) would the back be flat or curved? (the edges of the rim are a bit chamfered)
d) how would I attach it/glue it on - and if glue, what glue should I use?
e) the inside of these pots are black - is that just wood paint or something else?

I've attached a couple of pictures.
Many many thanks,
Isabel (in the UK)




Apr 20, 2021 - 5:48:46 AM

57150 posts since 12/14/2005

Could you find a wooden plate at a thrift shop?
How about an aluminium pie tin?
If you SCREW it on, it's easier to remove, when you need to make adjustments inside the banjo.
Four screws, with felt spacers.

Apr 20, 2021 - 7:51:09 AM

10893 posts since 4/23/2004

Because this is a Zither-type build, the back can be glued on without affecting the accessibility. The whole banjo is built from the front.

And, since it has no coordinator rod or dowel-stick, it needs the strength of a back to help keep everything in shape. OTOH, it is a mandolin-banjo and I would think seriously about adding a coordinator rod...which appears like it would be a fairly simple addition. Pesky things, mandolins, they have a lot of tension on them when tuned up.

If this were mine, I would probably look for a very nice piece of plywood, maybe 1/4" (6mm) thick and with lots of layers...marine grade, none of that stuff with OSB or MDF layers in it. If I wanted "pretty", I would add a pretty veneer layer on top of the plywood and probably a bit of edge banding just to hide the plywood layers. Mike's idea of a wooden plate is a good one, just depends on how decorative you want the back to be. I would be looking for strength, thus plywood.

Attach it with regular wood glue, Titebond is a standard brand. Screws or nails won't hurt but the glue will do fine without them. The black interior on these things is usually just black paint. Use something cheap, it won't hurt the instrument.

Good luck!

Edited by - trapdoor2 on 04/20/2021 07:52:42

Apr 20, 2021 - 8:02:29 AM

issi

UK

14 posts since 11/7/2015

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

Could you find a wooden plate at a thrift shop?
How about an aluminium pie tin?
If you SCREW it on, it's easier to remove, when you need to make adjustments inside the banjo.
Four screws, with felt spacers.


Thanks Mike :-)

Apr 20, 2021 - 8:04:01 AM

issi

UK

14 posts since 11/7/2015

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

Because this is a Zither-type build, the back can be glued on without affecting the accessibility. The whole banjo is built from the front.

And, since it has no coordinator rod or dowel-stick, it needs the strength of a back to help keep everything in shape. OTOH, it is a mandolin-banjo and I would think seriously about adding a coordinator rod...which appears like it would be a fairly simple addition. Pesky things, mandolins, they have a lot of tension on them when tuned up.

If this were mine, I would probably look for a very nice piece of plywood, maybe 1/4" (6mm) thick and with lots of layers...marine grade, none of that stuff with OSB or MDF layers in it. If I wanted "pretty", I would add a pretty veneer layer on top of the plywood and probably a bit of edge banding just to hide the plywood layers. Mike's idea of a wooden plate is a good one, just depends on how decorative you want the back to be. I would be looking for strength, thus plywood.

Attach it with regular wood glue, Titebond is a standard brand. Screws or nails won't hurt but the glue will do fine without them. The black interior on these things is usually just black paint. Use something cheap, it won't hurt the instrument.

Good luck!


Thanks Marc, that gives me lots to go on...I'll have to find out about installing a co-ordinator rod too. Thanks again.

Apr 20, 2021 - 8:14:01 AM
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10893 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by issi
quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

Because this is a Zither-type build, the back can be glued on without affecting the accessibility. The whole banjo is built from the front.

[snip]


Thanks Marc, that gives me lots to go on...I'll have to find out about installing a co-ordinator rod too. Thanks again.


Because this thing is so small and the rim is so thick, it may not be really necessary once you have a back on it. The good news is that a simple coordinator rod can be added later if you wish...and the back won't have to come off to do it.

Apr 20, 2021 - 8:32:08 AM
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57150 posts since 12/14/2005

If you leave four of the tuners empty, and string it as a uke, it will be a nicer sound.
In MY hum bull opinion.


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