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Jul 30, 2021 - 5:03:24 PM

Enfield1858

England

133 posts since 8/1/2020

Don - I've re-read your reply, where it says "I can . . . set a 8-9 inch wide board by 32 inches long in a clamp and take a 1/8 inch slice from the thickness";  I've now got that you meant 'take an 1/8" slice from the end.  Sorry, but that wasn't clear to me in your post.

As for cutting a slice from the end of a board with a backed saw - it would depend on the thickness of the board.  I've cut thick stuff before now with a tenon saw, where I didn't think even a fine tooth crosscut would do the job without tearing at the edge, but I'd agree it's not easy.  If I wanted to take that thin a slice off the end of a board, I'd use a fine rasp to bevel all four sides down to the finish line, then rasp away at the centre to level it off - but different players, different strokes, eh?

I did find a Japanese pull saw with a blade 6.3 thou thick - but it had a tenon-saw type back to it.

https://www.axminstertools.com/japanese-super-fine-saw-502226?utm_source=tag&utm_medium=affiliates&utm_content=1795&tagrid=40883366&glCountry=GB

But I guess we'll have to go our own ways.

With best regards,
Jack

Jul 30, 2021 - 6:36:24 PM

58627 posts since 12/14/2005

The Scruggs book, if I remember right, shows a hacksaw blade mounted in a block of wood as a fret saw.

Depending on what thickness of wire you choose, perhaps you could file a blade to the best possible thinliness.

Jul 30, 2021 - 9:38:48 PM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

Gold tone will sell you a neck , and then the ring from stew mac

I highly recommend buying a long neck gold tone complete banjo, and be done with it

you need a special tool to cut the neck right, a 12" drum sander with a jig to hold the neck

Aug 3, 2021 - 7:28:44 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

Gold tone will sell you a neck , and then the ring from stew mac

I highly recommend buying a long neck gold tone complete banjo, and be done with it

you need a special tool to cut the neck right, a 12" drum sander with a jig to hold the neck


Yeah, I thought about that. However, the pricing is still a bit high for me, so I decided to see how this project goes :-)

Aug 3, 2021 - 7:33:51 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

Thank you everyone for the advice so far. It has been extremely helpful.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to the inlays in the fretboard??? Helix made a good point, but I am curious to what some others here might like to suggest.

Thanks again,
Russ

Aug 3, 2021 - 8:25:39 AM

74 posts since 5/20/2020

you can buy myeloid inlays , ask and Iwill find them for you, AND

then have a laser-engraver or trophy shop to burn the shapes into your neck.

Building one is WAY MORE EXPENSIVE than simply buying this model -

guitarcenter.com/Used/Gold-Ton...113381.gc

Aug 7, 2021 - 12:22:44 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Buck the Banjo Player

you can buy myeloid inlays , ask and Iwill find them for you, AND

then have a laser-engraver or trophy shop to burn the shapes into your neck.

Building one is WAY MORE EXPENSIVE than simply buying this model -

guitarcenter.com/Used/Gold-Ton...113381.gc


You do make some good points. However, I argue that the quality may be just as good if the job is done right. While I might be "wasting" my time from a economist's perspective, they dont take into account the free time I have, and how I enjoy doing it from nearly complete scratch.

Aug 7, 2021 - 1:02:12 PM
like this

898 posts since 5/22/2021

Everyone,

So, a lot has happened in the past few weeks, so I'll post an update now.

I recently received a Foxfire 3 book kindly from Verne Marr @mbanza of Pendleton Oregon, and kindly a birch banjo pot, walnut siding, and some heads from @jacot23 Jason in Tennessee. Without both of them, I likely would not be able to finish this project!

Anyway, as I was inspired by the foxfire book (an excellent book which discussed old-time and new methods of quality banjo building, among other mountain traditions), I decided to make wooden banjo pegs/tuners out of some wood. Luckily enough, I was able to find a branch of a dead blueberry bush (the only one) in my backyard, and so I decided to carve a few pegs out of that. The wood was way nicer than I thought it would turn out to be! It has a nice finish and natural color to it, and was definitely worth the many hours I spent carving and gently sanding the first 2 pegs. I still have to drill holes into the tops, but here are a few photos from today (attached to bottom of post).

Other than that, I have decided to put a walnut "veneer" that Jason kindly sent me on the outside of the banjo pot (glued to it), and then make a "rim" for the banjo skin head to rest on. If all goes well, I will buy hooks and shoes (and maybe a tension ring if I cannot find something similar in my house) for the head online, and then I should be making a lot of progress. Lets hope for the best!

Until then, going to complete the tunings pegs, and start finishing the pot. I'll keep you all updated, and I will try to remember to take some more photos of the process!

Russ A.




Aug 7, 2021 - 9:45:55 PM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

Thank you for the update BeeEnvironment

I do hope you were not taking anything from previous replies as trying to discourage you
i know a lot of times what i type comes out as trying to discourage, i actually believe what you are doing is fantastic with what you have stated you are working with i believe anytime a youngster takes time to do something like you are doing its just another step in the growing up and learning process and more power to you i only wish you great success in what you are trying to accomplish

Aug 7, 2021 - 9:53:45 PM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment

Thank you everyone for the advice so far. It has been extremely helpful.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to the inlays in the fretboard??? Helix made a good point, but I am curious to what some others here might like to suggest.

Thanks again,
Russ


keep them simple, i have been contemplating this same question on my gourd banjo build what i have decided to do is I purchase some thin copper sheet metal from a store called hobby lobby that i will be cutting out some small stars or something just to make fret board markers and side markers the thin copper sheet i purchase was like $4.99 i believe and can be cut with a pair of scissors

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 08/07/2021 21:54:19

Aug 8, 2021 - 5:50:50 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959

Thank you for the update BeeEnvironment

I do hope you were not taking anything from previous replies as trying to discourage you
i know a lot of times what i type comes out as trying to discourage, i actually believe what you are doing is fantastic with what you have stated you are working with i believe anytime a youngster takes time to do something like you are doing its just another step in the growing up and learning process and more power to you i only wish you great success in what you are trying to accomplish


Hey Don,

No Problem. And don't be sorry, I am very grateful that you provided your life experience with banjos with me for my build. While I do have to be a bit more realistic in terms of hoping it would sound "good", I do hope, and believe, as you say, that it would help me with the entire learning process, and is another step in my life.

Many of my fellow peers and young adults in my age group nowadays don't appear to have much of an interest in nature or woodworking, or anything really related to nature. I blame that lack of curiosity of the iphones and laptops they have had since the age of 6 (at least for most of them), since it creates a almost false world in a regard, I guess.

Aug 8, 2021 - 5:52:42 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959
quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment

Thank you everyone for the advice so far. It has been extremely helpful.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to the inlays in the fretboard??? Helix made a good point, but I am curious to what some others here might like to suggest.

Thanks again,
Russ


keep them simple, i have been contemplating this same question on my gourd banjo build what i have decided to do is I purchase some thin copper sheet metal from a store called hobby lobby that i will be cutting out some small stars or something just to make fret board markers and side markers the thin copper sheet i purchase was like $4.99 i believe and can be cut with a pair of scissors


Yeah, that is not a bad idea. I was thinking that maybe I will go solo and just forget 'bout the inlays, but not sure. I have a feeling that anything would not really fit in with the white pine color, but again, not to sure. You did bring up a good idea I might just try though!

Aug 9, 2021 - 1:16:35 AM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959
quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment

Thank you everyone for the advice so far. It has been extremely helpful.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to the inlays in the fretboard??? Helix made a good point, but I am curious to what some others here might like to suggest.

Thanks again,
Russ


keep them simple, i have been contemplating this same question on my gourd banjo build what i have decided to do is I purchase some thin copper sheet metal from a store called hobby lobby that i will be cutting out some small stars or something just to make fret board markers and side markers the thin copper sheet i purchase was like $4.99 i believe and can be cut with a pair of scissors


Yeah, that is not a bad idea. I was thinking that maybe I will go solo and just forget 'bout the inlays, but not sure. I have a feeling that anything would not really fit in with the white pine color, but again, not to sure. You did bring up a good idea I might just try though!


i actually like banjos that do not have a ton of flash if you know what i mean but because i am not really an accomplished banjo player yet i have to still occasionally peek at where my fretting hand is located so i am at the very least incorporating side markers to look at because my gourd banjo is fretless
the copper sheet i purchase is actually thin enough to cut with house hold scissors but yet still thick enough to make things out of i think its like .010- .015 thick i actually used a leather hole punch to cut out some 4mm dots for side marker dots
One other suggestion you might want to consider on the pine if you have a torch one of those that goes on the small mapps gas bottles or small propane bottles use it on the pine neck and jut burn it lightly don't heat to the point it catches on fire just lightly blacken the whole pine neck and then sand with like 400 grit sand paper and then use a clear poly urethane or eve boiled linseed oil i prefer the poly urethane though then your neck will have a nice look and not just look plane white if you have some pieces of pine practice on them before you do your neck just so you get an idea of what it can look like.

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 08/09/2021 01:29:41

Aug 9, 2021 - 4:41:37 AM
likes this

14138 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959One other suggestion you might want to consider on the pine if you have a torch one of those that goes on the small mapps gas bottles or small propane bottles use it on the pine neck and jut burn it lightly don't heat to the point it catches on fire just lightly blacken the whole pine neck and then sand with like 400 grit sand paper and then use a clear poly urethane or eve boiled linseed oil i prefer the poly urethane though then your neck will have a nice look and not just look plane white if you have some pieces of pine practice on them before you do your neck just so you get an idea of what it can look like.

The 18th century Pennsylvania rifle makers in Lancaster County would harden the maple stocks by dissolving iron filings in sulfuric acid and somehow applying it to the stocks. This would burn the wood, similarly to the mapp gas torch, but saturate to a point and darken it.

I don't know if muriatic acid (available in hardware stores) would work the same, but it's certainly a traditional finish

Aug 9, 2021 - 1:48:57 PM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959One other suggestion you might want to consider on the pine if you have a torch one of those that goes on the small mapps gas bottles or small propane bottles use it on the pine neck and jut burn it lightly don't heat to the point it catches on fire just lightly blacken the whole pine neck and then sand with like 400 grit sand paper and then use a clear poly urethane or eve boiled linseed oil i prefer the poly urethane though then your neck will have a nice look and not just look plane white if you have some pieces of pine practice on them before you do your neck just so you get an idea of what it can look like.

The 18th century Pennsylvania rifle makers in Lancaster County would harden the maple stocks by dissolving iron filings in sulfuric acid and somehow applying it to the stocks. This would burn the wood, similarly to the mapp gas torch, but saturate to a point and darken it.

I don't know if muriatic acid (available in hardware stores) would work the same, but it's certainly a traditional finish


I have never used the method you posted Ken, but I have used the method I told BeeEnvironment about many times, when I was building country style shelves alot of them i used pine to build and i did not like to leave them plane so i would burn them with a torch some areas i would burn pretty heavy and other areas lighter to give them that streaked look thats why i suggested the practice pieces so he could get a feel there is really no art to doing it, for me it was more about getting the look i wanted, i have used the method on several different species of wood not just pine, when my wife and I were living in Ohio the house we owned in Ohio which was built in 1889 had tons of Tiger Maple through out i completely sanded everything down to bare wood some of the tiger maple i used the torch burn method on and it came out beautiful when finished.

one other metod i have used and this one you want to do outdoors and with the piece of wood you are doing it on, on a concrete slab or a metal table, is to take gun powder lay your board flat and just run lines of gun powder in vareying patterns and then set the gun powder off (it can not explode when out in the open it just ignites) the burn from the gun powder burns the wood then you sand and finish

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 08/09/2021 14:06:22

Aug 9, 2021 - 1:57:39 PM

14138 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959One other suggestion you might want to consider on the pine if you have a torch one of those that goes on the small mapps gas bottles or small propane bottles use it on the pine neck and jut burn it lightly don't heat to the point it catches on fire just lightly blacken the whole pine neck and then sand with like 400 grit sand paper and then use a clear poly urethane or eve boiled linseed oil i prefer the poly urethane though then your neck will have a nice look and not just look plane white if you have some pieces of pine practice on them before you do your neck just so you get an idea of what it can look like.

The 18th century Pennsylvania rifle makers in Lancaster County would harden the maple stocks by dissolving iron filings in sulfuric acid and somehow applying it to the stocks. This would burn the wood, similarly to the mapp gas torch, but saturate to a point and darken it.

I don't know if muriatic acid (available in hardware stores) would work the same, but it's certainly a traditional finish


I have never used the method you posted Ken but I have used the method I told BeeEnvironment about many times when I was building country style shelves alot of them i used pine to build and i did not like to leave them plane so i would burn them with a torch some areas i would burn pretty heavy and other areas lighter to give them that streaked look thats why i suggested the practice pieces so he could get a feel there is really no art to doing it for me it was more about getting the look i wanted, i have used the method on several different species of wood not just pine, when my wife and I were living in Ohio the house we owned in Ohio which was built in 1889 had tons of Tiger Maple through out i completely sanded everything down to bare wood some of the tiger maple i used the torch burn method on and it came out beautiful when finished.


I'm sure that works fine.

I only suggested the acid method because the OP, BeeEnvironment, lives in Chester County PA, not far from where they made the Pennsylvania rifles, and he seems to be very much of a traditionalist, making the whole banjo by hand with hand tools, so I thought he'd be interested to know a local historical method that goes back 250 years (he may already know all about it).

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 08/09/2021 13:58:24

Aug 9, 2021 - 2:11:20 PM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

Ken LeVan the one you suggested i would be interested in learning myself i am always open to learning new methods even at 62 i believe you are never to old to learn something new

Aug 9, 2021 - 2:24:46 PM
likes this

14138 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959

Ken LeVan the one you suggested i would be interested in learning myself i am always open to learning new methods even at 62 i believe you are never to old to learn something new


I am seeing that there is a gunstock finish called "aquafortis" which is made with nitric acid and iron.  Now I am getting interested in trying it on banjo necks myself.

Aug 9, 2021 - 2:28:34 PM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

Thanks ken

Aug 9, 2021 - 2:39:10 PM
likes this

1661 posts since 7/2/2007

Never done it but I've read about it here and elsewhere. Supposedly you can make a "stain" with steel wool and vinegar. Apply it to wood and it darkens the grain. It is actually a reaction with the acid in vinegar and iron making iron oxide. The iron oxide in turn reacts with tannins in the wood causing the wood to turn blackish. Sometimes called "ebonizing". Sanding it back leaves the curly maple figure enhansed as in Kens rifle stock picture.

Never heard about it doing anything to harden the wood though. Some woods that don't have tannin naturally can be tricked into working by applying tea to the wood supplying the tannin. I think it enhances the effect on maple as well.

I don't think it will work on pine.

There is lots of info on this process on the www. Do a search for curly maple gun stock finishes. There have been numerous threads here on the same subject.

Aug 9, 2021 - 7:48:48 PM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959

Ken LeVan the one you suggested i would be interested in learning myself i am always open to learning new methods even at 62 i believe you are never to old to learn something new


I am seeing that there is a gunstock finish called "aquafortis" which is made with nitric acid and iron.  Now I am getting interested in trying it on banjo necks myself.


That would look pretty nice on a pot also Ken if you could get it to look like that black powder rifle you posted up

Aug 10, 2021 - 3:34:49 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959One other suggestion you might want to consider on the pine if you have a torch one of those that goes on the small mapps gas bottles or small propane bottles use it on the pine neck and jut burn it lightly don't heat to the point it catches on fire just lightly blacken the whole pine neck and then sand with like 400 grit sand paper and then use a clear poly urethane or eve boiled linseed oil i prefer the poly urethane though then your neck will have a nice look and not just look plane white if you have some pieces of pine practice on them before you do your neck just so you get an idea of what it can look like.

The 18th century Pennsylvania rifle makers in Lancaster County would harden the maple stocks by dissolving iron filings in sulfuric acid and somehow applying it to the stocks. This would burn the wood, similarly to the mapp gas torch, but saturate to a point and darken it.

I don't know if muriatic acid (available in hardware stores) would work the same, but it's certainly a traditional finish


I have never used the method you posted Ken but I have used the method I told BeeEnvironment about many times when I was building country style shelves alot of them i used pine to build and i did not like to leave them plane so i would burn them with a torch some areas i would burn pretty heavy and other areas lighter to give them that streaked look thats why i suggested the practice pieces so he could get a feel there is really no art to doing it for me it was more about getting the look i wanted, i have used the method on several different species of wood not just pine, when my wife and I were living in Ohio the house we owned in Ohio which was built in 1889 had tons of Tiger Maple through out i completely sanded everything down to bare wood some of the tiger maple i used the torch burn method on and it came out beautiful when finished.


I'm sure that works fine.

I only suggested the acid method because the OP, BeeEnvironment, lives in Chester County PA, not far from where they made the Pennsylvania rifles, and he seems to be very much of a traditionalist, making the whole banjo by hand with hand tools, so I thought he'd be interested to know a local historical method that goes back 250 years (he may already know all about it).


Hey, Ken and Don,

Sorry for not respinding sooner, I was away in Shippensburg PA for a few days at a family member's college and did not have access to my computer.

Yeah, I live right next to Lancaster County, and I often go there every week. I am fascinated with that history of rifle-making! I did not know about that, but I am glad that now I do! Their method did make a beautiful color and stain to that hardwood, probably oak, maple, or maybe cherry? Nowadays, because most of the forests in SE PA have no old-growth trees left, its hard to tell if they had as many cherries or maples back then as we have now (which is almost none, espeically with maples). 

 

@Don,

When you sanded down the house, just a question: did the wood already have staining on it? I've heard carpenters once used quite a bit of lead in stainings from the 1800s, but I am not entirely sure...

Aug 10, 2021 - 3:39:03 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959

Ken LeVan the one you suggested i would be interested in learning myself i am always open to learning new methods even at 62 i believe you are never to old to learn something new


I am seeing that there is a gunstock finish called "aquafortis" which is made with nitric acid and iron.  Now I am getting interested in trying it on banjo necks myself.


That does seem like a good idea! However, I guess it would work only mainly on hardwoods, right, and not EWP? It does seem like a beautiful finish, so if you do use it, Ken, on one of your banjos, please let us know how it works out for you!

Aug 10, 2021 - 3:41:28 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by RBuddy

Never done it but I've read about it here and elsewhere. Supposedly you can make a "stain" with steel wool and vinegar. Apply it to wood and it darkens the grain. It is actually a reaction with the acid in vinegar and iron making iron oxide. The iron oxide in turn reacts with tannins in the wood causing the wood to turn blackish. Sometimes called "ebonizing". Sanding it back leaves the curly maple figure enhansed as in Kens rifle stock picture.

Never heard about it doing anything to harden the wood though. Some woods that don't have tannin naturally can be tricked into working by applying tea to the wood supplying the tannin. I think it enhances the effect on maple as well.

I don't think it will work on pine.

There is lots of info on this process on the www. Do a search for curly maple gun stock finishes. There have been numerous threads here on the same subject.


Hmm, yeah, I think I might also try that. I have a lot of extra pieces of white pine that I cut from the first branch, so, mainly because the availability of materials, I will try it on a spare piece within the next day, and let everyone know how it goes. Maybe it will work! I would not get surprised if it does not though :-)

Aug 10, 2021 - 4:23:03 PM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959One other suggestion you might want to consider on the pine if you have a torch one of those that goes on the small mapps gas bottles or small propane bottles use it on the pine neck and jut burn it lightly don't heat to the point it catches on fire just lightly blacken the whole pine neck and then sand with like 400 grit sand paper and then use a clear poly urethane or eve boiled linseed oil i prefer the poly urethane though then your neck will have a nice look and not just look plane white if you have some pieces of pine practice on them before you do your neck just so you get an idea of what it can look like.

The 18th century Pennsylvania rifle makers in Lancaster County would harden the maple stocks by dissolving iron filings in sulfuric acid and somehow applying it to the stocks. This would burn the wood, similarly to the mapp gas torch, but saturate to a point and darken it.

I don't know if muriatic acid (available in hardware stores) would work the same, but it's certainly a traditional finish


I have never used the method you posted Ken but I have used the method I told BeeEnvironment about many times when I was building country style shelves alot of them i used pine to build and i did not like to leave them plane so i would burn them with a torch some areas i would burn pretty heavy and other areas lighter to give them that streaked look thats why i suggested the practice pieces so he could get a feel there is really no art to doing it for me it was more about getting the look i wanted, i have used the method on several different species of wood not just pine, when my wife and I were living in Ohio the house we owned in Ohio which was built in 1889 had tons of Tiger Maple through out i completely sanded everything down to bare wood some of the tiger maple i used the torch burn method on and it came out beautiful when finished.


I'm sure that works fine.

I only suggested the acid method because the OP, BeeEnvironment, lives in Chester County PA, not far from where they made the Pennsylvania rifles, and he seems to be very much of a traditionalist, making the whole banjo by hand with hand tools, so I thought he'd be interested to know a local historical method that goes back 250 years (he may already know all about it).


Hey, Ken and Don,

Sorry for not respinding sooner, I was away in Shippensburg PA for a few days at a family member's college and did not have access to my computer.

Yeah, I live right next to Lancaster County, and I often go there every week. I am fascinated with that history of rifle-making! I did not know about that, but I am glad that now I do! Their method did make a beautiful color and stain to that hardwood, probably oak, maple, or maybe cherry? Nowadays, because most of the forests in SE PA have no old-growth trees left, its hard to tell if they had as many cherries or maples back then as we have now (which is almost none, espeically with maples). 

 

@Don,

When you sanded down the house, just a question: did the wood already have staining on it? I've heard carpenters once used quite a bit of lead in stainings from the 1800s, but I am not entirely sure...


When I restored that house I stripped everything down to bare wood it took me 4 years 

I did slot of research before I started there was a lot of use of lead lead in the stains and paint, the other thing I found out homes in that area where we lived they used something mixed with pigs blog to do a lot of the staining of wood also I do not know if that is true but I did read it in several things and also heard it from several old timers in that area, they did some strange things back then and it would not surprise me to find out it was fact, I know what ever it was it was a pain in the butt to strip off once I got it cleaned up I realized only then that all they base boars and windows trims was 130 year old tiger maple because like I said the house was built in 1889 the floors were all solid oak on true

2 x 12 beams 

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