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Aug 11, 2021 - 7:51:30 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Don Smith1959
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 


Yeah, that is amazing! The stain must have looked quite nice after you went through it. 130 year old maple really can have a beautiful natural finish to it.

 

Anyway, I wanted to provide an update today about my banjo build:

So, today I had trouble with the pot depth/height. This pot was sent to me by jacot23 of Tennessee, and is 3 inches in height, currently. Looking online and at other banjos, this seems a bit too deep for a banjo, especially a long-neck, which I am trying to build. 

So, does anyone know what height/depth is suitable for a long neck banjo pot??? I have looked at Pete Seeger's banjo photos, and it seems his is right about 2 inches in depth, with the nuts for the brackets going past the bottom rim, as shown in the photo below:

So, anyway, does anyone have any suggestions for the final banjo pot depth for this long neck I am trying to build??? Do you think 2 inches is suitable????

 

Anyway, thanks again everyone for the feedback, suggestions, and stories!!

Aug 11, 2021 - 9:57:49 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

Everyone,

I forgot to mention in my last post:

Most banjos appear to have a pot that is 2 3/8 inches in height. I think that is considered standard among most companies and builders.

Aug 11, 2021 - 10:48:58 AM

493 posts since 10/18/2020

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment

Everyone,

I forgot to mention in my last post:

Most banjos appear to have a pot that is 2 3/8 inches in height. I think that is considered standard among most companies and builders.


That question I cannot answer not really sure there is a standard when it comes to pot depth I am having a long neck banjo built but not sure of the depth of the pot 

Ken Levan plays a long neck and could probably answer that question

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 08/11/2021 10:50:03

Aug 11, 2021 - 12:54:39 PM

14138 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment

So, does anyone know what height/depth is suitable for a long neck banjo pot??? I have looked at Pete Seeger's banjo photos, and it seems his is right about 2 inches in depth, with the nuts for the brackets going past the bottom rim, as shown in the photo below:

So, anyway, does anyone have any suggestions for the final banjo pot depth for this long neck I am trying to build??? Do you think 2 inches is suitable????

 

Anyway, thanks again everyone for the feedback, suggestions, and stories!!


Do you want it to be the same size as the Vega one with the Orpheum neck that Pete Seeger is playing in the photo?  An old pot like that would have a height of 2.58" from the head to the heel cap.  The 50s-60s Pete Seeger PS-5s had a total pot depth of 2.5"

Of course, there were a lot of metal parts, and the tone ring extended 3/4" above the top of the rim, so the rim itself was 1.83" m/l.

Assuming you are going to make a total woodie with no tone ring, I would make the rim between 2.5" and 2.6".  I think two inches is too shallow and three inches is too deep.

Aug 11, 2021 - 2:14 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment

So, does anyone know what height/depth is suitable for a long neck banjo pot??? I have looked at Pete Seeger's banjo photos, and it seems his is right about 2 inches in depth, with the nuts for the brackets going past the bottom rim, as shown in the photo below:

So, anyway, does anyone have any suggestions for the final banjo pot depth for this long neck I am trying to build??? Do you think 2 inches is suitable????

 

Anyway, thanks again everyone for the feedback, suggestions, and stories!!


Do you want it to be the same size as the Vega one with the Orpheum neck that Pete Seeger is playing in the photo?  An old pot like that would have a height of 2.58" from the head to the heel cap.  The 50s-60s Pete Seeger PS-5s had a total pot depth of 2.5"

Of course, there were a lot of metal parts, and the tone ring extended 3/4" above the top of the rim, so the rim itself was 1.83" m/l.

Assuming you are going to make a total woodie with no tone ring, I would make the rim between 2.5" and 2.6".  I think two inches is too shallow and three inches is too deep.


Hi Ken,

Thanks very much for the response.

Yes, I was thinking I will probably make a banjo with no metal tone ring, but I am confused as to whether this (shown in photos at bottom), would count as a tone ring??? I was planning on making that sort of "beveled" edge on the Birch pot I received from jacot23. Those photos were taken of a sorta cheap, disassembled banjo pot (from overseas), and measured 2 and 3/8 Inches from the top of that "Rim" of wood to the bottom of the pot.

Also, just want to make sure I am not getting anything wrong: do you mean that Pete's banjo pot was 2.58 inches from the top of the metal ring on the head down to the bottom of the pot? Do you mean that, after we subtract the 3/4 inches of the Metal tone ring, the WOOD part would then be 1.83 inches? Also, just one last question: when you recommend to do between 2.5 inches and 2.6, would you mean to do that with the metal head and ring ON, or just the wooden height of the pot??

Sorry if my questions might seem a bit confusing. I just want to make sure that I don't get anything wrong. Please feel free to let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Russ A.


Aug 11, 2021 - 4:43:58 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15037 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

2-3/4” All of mine are 3” total, except Bullwhip #001 which is is 3.5” w 8 hooks

Banjo case makers get into the discussion here 3” is about the limit

A thin rim like the suggested drum shell gives a bigger chamber, adaptive

Archtop gives a snappier sound from the same board feet, smaller chamber

Rims with Fresnel ledges inside give three different sized chambers

Megaphonic is a cone shaped concept
Thin Skirt is bell-shaped

Warning: safety cones approaching, event horizon is imminent: Study up on rims, there is much wiggle room here, much fertile subjectivity. Ideas and solutions emerge that might not "fit in".

longnecks were  the ugly ducklings, now we're a flock of swans
I mention and promote use of tap tone or knock note, call me, I’ll show you over the phone - however, some others disagree, but I'll go ask the users group

Take a look at Home Depot for some simple Birch plywood.  A handsaw makes 3" strips  a seven or eight ply rim was used by Vega

im an RK dealer and have access to banjo hardware, or make your own  I keep old heads/tuners for "students."

Mike Gregory already mentioned squaring up the top and bottom of the rim with flat sandpaper on glass

stay on the path and keep your own trust

 

 

 

 






 


Edited by - Helix on 08/11/2021 16:48:49

Aug 11, 2021 - 6:07:04 PM

14138 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment
 

Hi Ken,

Thanks very much for the response.

Yes, I was thinking I will probably make a banjo with no metal tone ring, but I am confused as to whether this (shown in photos at bottom), would count as a tone ring??? I was planning on making that sort of "beveled" edge on the Birch pot I received from jacot23. Those photos were taken of a sorta cheap, disassembled banjo pot (from overseas), and measured 2 and 3/8 Inches from the top of that "Rim" of wood to the bottom of the pot.

Also, just want to make sure I am not getting anything wrong: do you mean that Pete's banjo pot was 2.58 inches from the top of the metal ring on the head down to the bottom of the pot? Do you mean that, after we subtract the 3/4 inches of the Metal tone ring, the WOOD part would then be 1.83 inches? Also, just one last question: when you recommend to do between 2.5 inches and 2.6, would you mean to do that with the metal head and ring ON, or just the wooden height of the pot??

Sorry if my questions might seem a bit confusing. I just want to make sure that I don't get anything wrong. Please feel free to let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Russ A.


Russ,

Here is a dimensioned drawing of an old Tu-Ba-Phone Pot like the one Pete Seeger has in your photo. This may clear up some questions about dimensions of the vintage ones.  Of course, these old pots are somewhat complex:

In answer to your question—generally, a simple beveled rim isn't thought of as having a "tone ring", but the pot you show in the pictures that you got from jacot23 should work just fine, and birch is a very good wood for a banjo rim.

Edited by - Ken LeVan on 08/11/2021 18:09:07

Aug 11, 2021 - 6:56:56 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15037 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

A donated rim!! Duh

here's Fred Starner's longneck   Signed by Pete 




 

Edited by - Helix on 08/11/2021 18:59:53

Aug 11, 2021 - 7:48:31 PM

PaulRF

Australia

3272 posts since 2/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by wizofos

I have been reading this thread and have some thoughts.
1. you need tools. Suggest you start checking craigslist and your local newspaper for farm auctions. I have picked up any number of tools that are a bit corroded and rusty but with a little work with some emory paper and a wire brush then a sharpening stone you can have a tool that is better than some of the junk that is being sold new today. Sometimes the auctioneer will give you things that are left over that no one bid on. Watch out that you don't get auction fever and let someone bid you up more than it is worth to you.
2. Make friends with an old/retired carpenter or wood worker. Don't be surprised what you can learn from an old man who only wants company.

3. Here are some links that might be helpful.  Read to the bottom of each.

http://web.archive.org/web/20160222152519/http://www.bluestemstrings.com/pageBanjoConstructionTips1.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20160222152519/http://www.bluestemstrings.com

http://web.archive.org/web/20160328213135/http://www.bluestemstrings.com/pageBanjoDesign.html#25

http://web.archive.org/web/20160328200041/http://www.bluestemstrings.com/pageBanjo.html

Suggest you take a look on my BHO home page photos for pictures of a Rudy's (Randy Cordle a BHO member) through rim neck connection.  This is the tradition way to connect a neck to a rim for gourd banjos but works great for any modern design.  

https://www.banjohangout.org/archive/305109

If you have a banjo you can get neck design and measurements off of that neck just extent the neck but leave it as wide as the regular neck at the nut.

You can get some nice hardwood on Craigslist. Someone is always getting rid of an old dresser or dining room table. Take off the top some sanding and glue up and you have an aged hardwood neck. 

Good Luck, have fun.

Glen

 


Glad that someone mentioned Rudy.  He would have some helpful plans that would be a great help to the op.

Paul

Aug 11, 2021 - 8:29:29 PM
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42 posts since 11/3/2013

This has been a very interesting thread. I too am building a couple banjos for the first time, not a long neck though. This year is the 100 year anniversary of the family purchasing the land I call home, so Last year I ripped down a birch and maple thinking I'd build one of each. Learned birch dries nice and straight, but maple curls, cups and twist big time!! Fortunately I had dried a lot of wood, so I have enough for 2 birch and a maple after using a plane jig and drum sander. Just glued my necks up and will put away until after winter, recommended by another to see if any changes with the dry Minnesota winters. I was told its all about patience and if that's an issue, take up a fast pace hobby like golf or fishing. I had carve gun stocks in the past and it was always very relaxing enjoying a cigar and carving wood. Another guy told me any time I find myself asking "should I ......", step away have a cigar and come back to it the next day. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Good luck on yours!

Aug 12, 2021 - 5:47:15 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15037 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

Good luck on yours as well, we're always interested.

Aug 12, 2021 - 6:24:24 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment
 

Hi Ken,

Thanks very much for the response.

Yes, I was thinking I will probably make a banjo with no metal tone ring, but I am confused as to whether this (shown in photos at bottom), would count as a tone ring??? I was planning on making that sort of "beveled" edge on the Birch pot I received from jacot23. Those photos were taken of a sorta cheap, disassembled banjo pot (from overseas), and measured 2 and 3/8 Inches from the top of that "Rim" of wood to the bottom of the pot.

Also, just want to make sure I am not getting anything wrong: do you mean that Pete's banjo pot was 2.58 inches from the top of the metal ring on the head down to the bottom of the pot? Do you mean that, after we subtract the 3/4 inches of the Metal tone ring, the WOOD part would then be 1.83 inches? Also, just one last question: when you recommend to do between 2.5 inches and 2.6, would you mean to do that with the metal head and ring ON, or just the wooden height of the pot??

Sorry if my questions might seem a bit confusing. I just want to make sure that I don't get anything wrong. Please feel free to let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Russ A.


Russ,

Here is a dimensioned drawing of an old Tu-Ba-Phone Pot like the one Pete Seeger has in your photo. This may clear up some questions about dimensions of the vintage ones.  Of course, these old pots are somewhat complex:

In answer to your question—generally, a simple beveled rim isn't thought of as having a "tone ring", but the pot you show in the pictures that you got from jacot23 should work just fine, and birch is a very good wood for a banjo rim.

 

 


Hi Ken,

Thanks for all the helpful info on the tu-ba-phone pot. I see that it did have a lot of complex metal parts that all worked together in harmony! 

Also, I hope I did not get anyone too confused, but that Pot I showed in those 2 photos were some old photos of a cheap disassemble banjo pot that was made overseas. It was taken apart by a family member a while back. It is not the birch pot that Jacot23 sent me in the the mail. 

Sorry for any confusion. Here are the photos of the birch pot that Jason sent me from Tennessee (included also is a photo of the walnut veneer he also sent me, which I would try to glue onto the pot after I calculate dimensions.

Also, Ken, so just one last question before I have to run off to go food shopping with family: with the birch pot I show in the photos, do you still think I should cut it from 3 inches in total height (with no beveled edge at the moment), to 2.5 inches in total height? (That would be from the top of the rim of the edge, to the bottom of the pot)? I included a photo of a drawing I tried to do my best on. Sorry if it is a bit ugly. I am not that good of a drawer.

Anyway, thanks again Ken,

Russ


Aug 12, 2021 - 6:26:12 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

A donated rim!! Duh

here's Fred Starner's longneck   Signed by Pete 


Helix, 

That's a beautiful long neck! So many signatures also...

Aug 12, 2021 - 6:28:19 AM
likes this

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by knowsnothing

This has been a very interesting thread. I too am building a couple banjos for the first time, not a long neck though. This year is the 100 year anniversary of the family purchasing the land I call home, so Last year I ripped down a birch and maple thinking I'd build one of each. Learned birch dries nice and straight, but maple curls, cups and twist big time!! Fortunately I had dried a lot of wood, so I have enough for 2 birch and a maple after using a plane jig and drum sander. Just glued my necks up and will put away until after winter, recommended by another to see if any changes with the dry Minnesota winters. I was told its all about patience and if that's an issue, take up a fast pace hobby like golf or fishing. I had carve gun stocks in the past and it was always very relaxing enjoying a cigar and carving wood. Another guy told me any time I find myself asking "should I ......", step away have a cigar and come back to it the next day. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Good luck on yours!


Thanks for the advice! I hope the best of luck on your banjo builds also! I always wanted a good quality long-neck banjo, but could never afford one. Even if this project does not turn out so well, I have learned a lot in woodworking, and banjo building I thought I never would learn!

Russ

Aug 12, 2021 - 6:46:34 AM
Players Union Member

wizofos

USA

6217 posts since 8/19/2012

On the subject of rim depth. As I recall David Politzer did an in depth study of how rim depth affected sound. He did it in a lab with a professional musician and lab quality instruments.  As I recall  Deering built them several identical instruments with different rim depths.
You can find his rather technical paper on his web site.  Check out around 2013  then he did an update around 2016.  He has some audio files attached to one of them.

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~politzer/

Seems to me that part of the reason for rims less than 3" is that they are not comfortable.

If you are really interested in Pete Seeger's instrument there is one on display at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.  Pete donated it to the school.

Edited by - wizofos on 08/12/2021 06:47:36

Aug 12, 2021 - 11:19:11 AM

58627 posts since 12/14/2005

As mentioned ^^^
I once made an acoustic bass guitar, using the full witdth of the board, wider than the plans called for.
UNcomfortable as heck on the forearm.
First salad bowl banjo I made, did not cut the bowl shallower.
Same deal.
Before sawing any WOOD, slice up a few cardboard boxes, and glue them to the dimension you MIGHT want, stick a mockup of a neck on there, and see if your arm wants another elbow, between your wrist and your original.


Aug 13, 2021 - 11:13:12 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by wizofos

On the subject of rim depth. As I recall David Politzer did an in depth study of how rim depth affected sound. He did it in a lab with a professional musician and lab quality instruments.  As I recall  Deering built them several identical instruments with different rim depths.
You can find his rather technical paper on his web site.  Check out around 2013  then he did an update around 2016.  He has some audio files attached to one of them.

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~politzer/

Seems to me that part of the reason for rims less than 3" is that they are not comfortable.

If you are really interested in Pete Seeger's instrument there is one on display at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.  Pete donated it to the school.


Thanks for the resources!!! Interesting stuff there! I don't live near Chicago, but I have heard that the school often sells long-necks for good prices.

Aug 13, 2021 - 11:16:53 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by mike gregory

As mentioned ^^^
I once made an acoustic bass guitar, using the full witdth of the board, wider than the plans called for.
UNcomfortable as heck on the forearm.
First salad bowl banjo I made, did not cut the bowl shallower.
Same deal.
Before sawing any WOOD, slice up a few cardboard boxes, and glue them to the dimension you MIGHT want, stick a mockup of a neck on there, and see if your arm wants another elbow, between your wrist and your original.


Thanks for the advice! Your banjo really turned out well! That cardboard Idea I might give a go, so, as you said, I can plan it out "correctly".

Aug 13, 2021 - 3:36:20 PM

58627 posts since 12/14/2005

The late great Lorna Woods MADE banjos out of corrugated cardboard, reinforced with teriyaki skewers.

Aug 13, 2021 - 5:55:20 PM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

15037 posts since 8/30/2006
Online Now

I concur and follow with a grand Hurrah for Lorna.

She encouraged people, it's easy. 

Edited by - Helix on 08/13/2021 17:55:53

Aug 14, 2021 - 5:27:09 AM
likes this

14138 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment
 

Hi Ken,

Thanks for all the helpful info on the tu-ba-phone pot. I see that it did have a lot of complex metal parts that all worked together in harmony! 

Also, I hope I did not get anyone too confused, but that Pot I showed in those 2 photos were some old photos of a cheap disassemble banjo pot that was made overseas. It was taken apart by a family member a while back. It is not the birch pot that Jacot23 sent me in the the mail. 

Sorry for any confusion. Here are the photos of the birch pot that Jason sent me from Tennessee (included also is a photo of the walnut veneer he also sent me, which I would try to glue onto the pot after I calculate dimensions.

Also, Ken, so just one last question before I have to run off to go food shopping with family: with the birch pot I show in the photos, do you still think I should cut it from 3 inches in total height (with no beveled edge at the moment), to 2.5 inches in total height? (That would be from the top of the rim of the edge, to the bottom of the pot)? I included a photo of a drawing I tried to do my best on. Sorry if it is a bit ugly. I am not that good of a drawer.

Anyway, thanks again Ken,

Russ


Russ,

Sorry for the slow response—our power and internet has been knocked out by a storm for what seems like a long time.

I don't think you should cut that rim down—it's a pretty thin rim and I would keep it as-is. If it was really heavy, I'd suggest cutting it down.

If you use it at the three inch height and find it too deep, you can always cut it down then, but if you cut it down first, you can't make it higher again

There is always a lot of experimentation involved in building a banjo from scratch as you are, and it's a learning experience. A rule in design development is that you usually have to go through three iterations to get it right.

If the Covid ever stops rearing its ugly head, you are welcome to come up here—I have a number of prototypes of various banjo designs, one of which doesn't actually have a rim, and you could see a bunch of banjos of varying rim thicknesses and heights, including a Pete Seeger and a pre-war Gibson Granada (as well as a lot of trees in the Loyalsock State Forest).

In the mean time, what you are doing is great, and inspiring—a lot of us are following it and are eager to see how it comes out—keep up the good work!

Ken

Aug 14, 2021 - 8:09:24 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment
 

Hi Ken,

Thanks for all the helpful info on the tu-ba-phone pot. I see that it did have a lot of complex metal parts that all worked together in harmony! 

Also, I hope I did not get anyone too confused, but that Pot I showed in those 2 photos were some old photos of a cheap disassemble banjo pot that was made overseas. It was taken apart by a family member a while back. It is not the birch pot that Jacot23 sent me in the the mail. 

Sorry for any confusion. Here are the photos of the birch pot that Jason sent me from Tennessee (included also is a photo of the walnut veneer he also sent me, which I would try to glue onto the pot after I calculate dimensions.

Also, Ken, so just one last question before I have to run off to go food shopping with family: with the birch pot I show in the photos, do you still think I should cut it from 3 inches in total height (with no beveled edge at the moment), to 2.5 inches in total height? (That would be from the top of the rim of the edge, to the bottom of the pot)? I included a photo of a drawing I tried to do my best on. Sorry if it is a bit ugly. I am not that good of a drawer.

Anyway, thanks again Ken,

Russ


Russ,

Sorry for the slow response—our power and internet has been knocked out by a storm for what seems like a long time.

I don't think you should cut that rim down—it's a pretty thin rim and I would keep it as-is. If it was really heavy, I'd suggest cutting it down.

If you use it at the three inch height and find it too deep, you can always cut it down then, but if you cut it down first, you can't make it higher again

There is always a lot of experimentation involved in building a banjo from scratch as you are, and it's a learning experience. A rule in design development is that you usually have to go through three iterations to get it right.

If the Covid ever stops rearing its ugly head, you are welcome to come up here—I have a number of prototypes of various banjo designs, one of which doesn't actually have a rim, and you could see a bunch of banjos of varying rim thicknesses and heights, including a Pete Seeger and a pre-war Gibson Granada (as well as a lot of trees in the Loyalsock State Forest).

In the mean time, what you are doing is great, and inspiring—a lot of us are following it and are eager to see how it comes out—keep up the good work!

Ken


Ken,

No problem! I was carving some more tuning pegs yesterday out of a piece of old hemlock wood, which was quite fun. I am glad you have power back! I actually like when the power goes out around here, because then everyone has nothing to do but talk to each other, which usually does not happen here when power is on (most of my peers usually just text and not talk much otherwise) :-)

Yeah, the birch pot is not all that heavy, because as you said, it is pretty thin. Thanks for recommending on keeping it at 3 inches in depth! As you say, I can cut it down afterwords, but one concern I have is that, with the tools I have, it might be hard for me to cut it down once I put on all the hooks, veneer, metal hoop, etc... I probably may try that by this afternoon though.

I would very much enjoy visiting your banjo shop up in Sullivan County! I sent you an email about a possible trip I might take with family in September, but unfortunately the plans fell through, as the 3.5 hour, 3 day trip would be too much for a few older family members who we really wanted to show the beautiful scenery and forests/waterfalls (as well as those trees in Loyalsock SF!). Hopefully I'll get back up there again!

Thanks for the compliments! I hope to continue this build and try my best to try to finish it before my school starts on August 30th (about 2 weeks), so I'll be sure to try to get this done before schoolwork takes my life over!

As for the next day or so, I am hoping to get the rest of the tuning pegs finished (2 made of blueberry, and rest out of Hemlock), and super-glue the walnut Veneer onto the outside of the birch pot. I will try my best to take nice photos of the process. Then, after gluing, I will bevel the edge of the top, and sand down the edges so it is smooth. Then add the hooks, shoes, etc....

Anyway, thanks for all the help and advice everyone!

Aug 14, 2021 - 1:07:09 PM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

Hey everyone,

Per Ken's advice, today I glued on the walnut Veneer to the birch pot. I used a super strong wood glue (which I also used for some of the frets), and I also used clothes-pins and a few plastic clamps to hold the bend-ish veneer onto the pot to glue. Its about drying up now, and I will take more photos when that's done. Note that I am also planning on sanding any glue that got onto the pot and veneer when it's done drying.

Actually, those wide plastic clamps were sides of a old pants-hanger. Just broke off the ends of some cheap extra ones to use. Working pretty well for now, as far as I can tell.
Here are a few photos from today:


Edited by - BeeEnvironment on 08/14/2021 13:08:20

Aug 20, 2021 - 7:23:28 AM

898 posts since 5/22/2021

Everyone,

A lot has happened the past week, and so I will provide an update.

Sorry If I seem like I am very brief with the exact details. I had a draft I was typing describing the process, but then I accidentally clicked the wrong key and deleted it all ????????

Anyway, since last week when I glued the veneer on, I made 2 new tuning pegs out of hemlock. If anyone wants to know why I chose hemlock instead of blueberry, feel free to ask me. That took about a day.

After that, I proceeded to cut the bulging veneer at where the walnut met, and carefully filled in the gap with smaller extra pieces of veneer jacot23 sent to me from Tennessee. Sorry, I was unable to take any photos of this process during those few days. However, the process was real simple really. All I did was cut the bulging veneer where it met, and then inlaid the cut area with newer veneer.

After filling in the gap, I then cut ANOTHER piece of new walnut veneer to overlay the filling I somewhat crudely (but carefully, and thoughtfully) inserted. I then sanded it down to the best of my capability.

Just to warn you, it does look a tad bit crude, but I honestly and strongly believe it should not impact the playing ability of the banjo in the end (hopefully :-)). It may impact the aesthetic look, but I am not too worried about that :-)

Attached are photos of this.

Now, a major event happened when I glued the veneer onto the pot. I miscalculated the diameter of the pot after I added the veneer, and later found out it was TOO WIDE to fit almost any banjo drum head onto the pot. Now, I could not remove the veneer, since it was basically iron-firm to the pot, and so I really did not know what to do.

Then, an Idea popped into my head. In order for the banjo head to fit onto the pot, all I have to do is shave away, with a knife/file/planer, the depth of the banjo head till the point that it will fit snugly. So, I decided to do just that, and I am quite pleased with the result so far. Anyway, I attached some photos showing what I mean.

Finally, I was also able to carve out the peghead to a nice shape (well, at least to me). That took some time and planning, but I am also quite happy with the result, even though it is a bit small and the pegs are a bit off-center, as a result of a drill that was not really meant to be used for white pine wood.

So, if anyone has any feedback, questions, recommendations, etc..., please feel free to ask/tell!

Russ

Photos:


Aug 20, 2021 - 8:01:31 AM

14138 posts since 6/29/2005

you might consider putting violin rosin on the tuner shafts to stop them from backsliding when you tune it up.

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