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Oct 15, 2021 - 12:53:56 PM
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1495 posts since 3/1/2012

An OMD ( Old, Moldy, and Decrepit) mt banjo just arrived, and it is REALLY OMD. I don’t think it can be made playable, even by trained long-suffering luthiers.
Main problem is a split clear thru the peghead at the 1st and 2nd peg holes.
Also, major split and/ or missing piece on the pot, ripped groundhog (probably) hide, and missing and loose wood where the tailpiece would attach.
Oh…something may have gnawed the top of the peghead…
All in all, a cool old banjo, but will be a wallhanger.




 

Edited by - IMBanjoJim on 10/15/2021 12:59:36

Oct 15, 2021 - 12:55:40 PM

1495 posts since 3/1/2012

More photos




 

Oct 15, 2021 - 1:35:26 PM

174 posts since 4/19/2011

I'll bet this banjo is another one from the collection of Qld picker from Brisbane.

But seriously. I really like this old banjo. I'd love to see it hanging on a wall in my house. It could be very, very old. I once picked up a home-made "mountain" dulcimer in similar condition.

Thanks for the post and pix. When one is as old as I am, ancient instruments are a joy to see, better to play of course.

Oct 15, 2021 - 1:39:41 PM
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1610 posts since 5/19/2018

Jim- I don’t know where you find these, but you do find them.

I would not discount this instrument as done for. I have seen way worse brought back to life with minimal effort.

The peghead looks to be an fairly easy fix. The correct luthiers hide glue, the right clamps and a little time should cover that. As for the pot, let the real craftsman weigh in on that, but I think it can be fairly easily done.

It should be able to sing again.

Very nice find. ... as always....

Oct 15, 2021 - 1:43:31 PM

Fish Head

Ireland

99 posts since 12/15/2017

Does anybody know when this style of banjo first started to be made?

Oct 15, 2021 - 2:14:26 PM

2376 posts since 9/25/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Jim- I don’t know where you find these, but you do find them.

I would not discount this instrument as done for. I have seen way worse brought back to life with minimal effort.

The peghead looks to be an fairly easy fix. The correct luthiers hide glue, the right clamps and a little time should cover that. As for the pot, let the real craftsman weigh in on that, but I think it can be fairly easily done.

It should be able to sing again.

Very nice find. ... as always....


Ditto, and it even looks like the hide is in tact which is a plus.  Any idea what kind of animal was sacrificed for this?  Groundhog, cat???

Oct 15, 2021 - 2:21:01 PM

1495 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Fish Head

Does anybody know when this style of banjo first started to be made?


That question is somewhat controversial. Earliest photo of one seems to be about 1912, but oral tradition says 1860s. I THINK this one is probably 1930s or '40s, but its just a guess. Could be older, could be a bit newer. 
This particular banjo was found in an antique store outside Memphis, Tennessee by the parents of the person who sold it to me.

Oct 15, 2021 - 3:55:15 PM
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rmcdow

USA

1035 posts since 11/8/2014

Looks restorable to me. Maybe a wedge of wood and a dovetail fastener next to the tailpiece part of the pot. What is the fretboard made of?

Oct 15, 2021 - 3:59:05 PM

752 posts since 5/22/2021

Well, I would not say it can be restored to exact perfect playing condition, but I think, with a lot of small tweaks, it can be made. Though, I would also be very careful with such an old instrument.

Oct 15, 2021 - 4:33:55 PM

1495 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by BeeEnvironment

Well, I would not say it can be restored to exact perfect playing condition, but I think, with a lot of small tweaks, it can be made. Though, I would also be very careful with such an old instrument.


We'll see what my two hollow-eyed, over-worked, and increasingly grumpy luthiers say...

I really should treat them better...

Oct 15, 2021 - 9:32:03 PM

1257 posts since 3/21/2013

i think it can be restored as well. I would honestly try to do that, with minimal woodglue please!!! deserves to at least have an attempt at being played again. These mountain banjos really surprised me, at least the one I got that I fixed up. best of luck and update the restore if you find someone crazy enough to do it ;)

Oct 16, 2021 - 8:39:59 AM
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9095 posts since 8/28/2013

It might be restorable to some sort of playing condition, but it will still look like something a gang of feral hogs got ahold of. Personally, I wouldn't deface any of my walls with this, so making it playable might be the only option. (Just don't ask me to play it!)

Oct 16, 2021 - 8:43:47 AM
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1495 posts since 3/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

It might be restorable to some sort of playing condition, but it will still look like something a gang of feral hogs got ahold of. Personally, I wouldn't deface any of my walls with this, so making it playable might be the only option. (Just don't ask me to play it!)


Ahhh...but you are not embracing the whole Old, Moldy, Decrepit (OMD) lifestyle.

Oct 16, 2021 - 5:15:35 PM
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9095 posts since 8/28/2013

At my age, I am embracing the old part, and on too many days, the decrepit part. However, molds make me cough and sneeze, so I have to avoid them.

Nov 6, 2021 - 4:30:39 PM
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1495 posts since 3/1/2012

Some progress on the Mt.. Banjo rebuild. Getting the old rusty screws out of the pot was a challenge. We had to drill out a few with a friend’s drill press. The middle wood ring was no good at all; being screwed in from both the top ring and the bottom ring, it had split in several places. Had to make a new middle ring.I was able to re-use the rusty piece of stovepipe, and put a new skin head over it. The pot is currently clamped tightly together, and will be screwed together and re-attached to the neck this week.




 

Nov 6, 2021 - 4:32:15 PM
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1495 posts since 3/1/2012

More photos




Nov 6, 2021 - 4:35:12 PM
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1495 posts since 3/1/2012

One more…


 

Nov 6, 2021 - 5:08:34 PM

9095 posts since 8/28/2013

It looks as if this banjo is coming along much better than I thought it would. I am quite certain you'll get it playing, and may even be able to make it look sort of okay.

As they say, when they made this, they threw away the mold. However, some of that stuff always grows back.  wink

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 11/06/2021 17:09:10

Nov 6, 2021 - 5:22:48 PM

752 posts since 5/22/2021

I hope it works out! Let us know how it sounds at the end!

Nov 18, 2021 - 6:46:14 PM
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1495 posts since 3/1/2012

Success!




Nov 19, 2021 - 5:19:17 AM

86 posts since 5/27/2008

"endeavor to persevere"
Chief Dan George

Nov 19, 2021 - 5:20:14 AM

86 posts since 5/27/2008

Very nice

Nov 19, 2021 - 7:37:23 AM

12704 posts since 1/15/2005

Great job!

Nov 19, 2021 - 9:42:19 PM

365 posts since 10/8/2018

quote:
Originally posted by IMBanjoJim

Success!


Impressive Sir! Looks totally playable now!

Nov 20, 2021 - 11:31:10 AM

1495 posts since 3/1/2012

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