Jan 27, 2013

Banjo Boys - Chapter 7

A satisfied Banjo Boy admiring his work
The Banjo Boys started out today's festivities with a hearty Banjo Boy Breakfast at Hardee's in Meridianville, Alabama.  Then we headed north to the Mead homestead to get down to serious work.  To start out, all three of us had different jobs going on.  First, Monty had to glue the pearl dots in the recesses he had already drilled in his fretboard.  He got these installed in just a few minutes.  Monty had also cut the profile of his peg head out using his band saw, but it still needed to be sanded smooth.  I set him up with the oscillating drum sander using the smallest diameter drum.

The neck joint shaper in action!!
Clint needed to cut the recesses into which his mother-of-pearl birds will be glued, so I set him up with my Dremel Mototool and the smallest router bit I owned.  Then I began the finishing touches on the jig that I hoped would enable us to cut a curved sloped surface on the end of the neck that presses against the outside surface of the banjo "pot."  I got it done in about an hour.  I had seen a site on which a banjo builder used a 10" radial arm saw to cut the sloped, concave area at the base of the neck.  It dawned on me that if I could build an adjustable jig to hold the neck, I could use the blade on my 10" table saw to do the same thing.  Here it is in action with one of the necks attached.  I've clamped a board across the table saw bed to act as a transverse fence.

Monty finished his head shaping and pearl inlaying in time to run his neck through the shaper and Clint's neck was ready as well.  All 3 necks will now fit snugly against the outer surface of the Buick Dynaflow turbine ring (a.k.a., the Pot).  The fit is perfect.

Clint's neck fits against the pot.
We had a brief lunch at Dad's Barbecue in Hazel Green, AL, and returned to the shop, where Monty resumed his sanding, this time on the fretboard, where he had installed his marker dots.  Clint and I began the set up that would enable us to create a small "cutaway" at the lower end of our fretboards.  This design is often used by clawhammer-style banjo players.  Using my router table with the inverted router mounted underneath, we built a guide template and managed to produce a couple of very beautiful ogee-shaped cutaways.
The Ogee cutout

On my recessed area of the lower neck, I plan to fasten another Buick emblem -- this one a Buick script used on the pre-1920's cars.  One of Clint's beautiful pearl barnswallows resides in his recessed area.

I think we were all pretty pleased with today's results...

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