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Apr 14, 2024 - 9:21:06 PM
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John Yerxa


91 posts since 9/13/2021

I'm sure most builders have figured out a similar solution, but I'm inordinately chuffed about this one, so thought I'd share.

For my first banjos I painstakingly measured each fret distance with a mm rule, marked them out with a scalpel, and used the homemade slot cutting jig pictured - but without the locating pin. After my cataract surgery my close-up vision was worse, so I needed something else. I know that Stew Mac and others have commercial versions of this, but they're expesive, especially with shipping to Oz.

Our community shed has recently acquired a CNC router, and one of the guys there is pretty skilled with it. I discussed the issue with him, and this is what we came up with. The guage is made from a nicely dressed piece of Coachwood I had, which is known for being stable. Spacing was set to within 2 or 3 hundredths of a mm ( I doubt my eyeball was getting within a half!) We set up the router to cut the locating slots slightly too narrow, then enlarged them 0.1 mm at a time. We set a zero slot so that I could clamp the blank down and cut off the nut end, ensuring good spacing and paralellness. I made the locating pin from 4mm brass rod.

Works a treat, once clamped in, cutting took about 15 minutes. Cost almost nothing. Plan is to do some other scale lengths on the other corners.

Edited by - John Yerxa on 04/14/2024 21:25:11

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