Feb 17, 2013

Banjo Boys, Chapter 10

Clint and Dan Shady at our first Boy's Joint Breakfast
Dan demonstrates how to bend
the tension hoop
This morning, we had the first ever Gathering of the Banjo Boys and the Shady Boys (GBBSB).  Monty, Clint and I needed to bend the brass material that forms our tension hoops.  Dan Shady had offered to help us with this since he owns a slip roller, the tool we needed to use.  The other day when I was out at Dan's shop, I invited him to join us at Gibson's Barbecue for Saturday breakfast and asked Deron if he and Daniel could join us.  So this morning at 9:00 we met for breakfast.  Then we proceeded to Dan's place for the bending of the hoops.  

Dan's slip roller takes a straight length of brass bar stock (which Clint had found online) and bends it into a nearly perfect circle.  We need these hoops to put tension on the skin or plastic heads that will stretch across our Dynaflow banjo rims or "pots."  The rollers made short order of making these circles.  Our next step will be to tweak them using a soft mallet and a round anvil to make them into precise 11-5/8" circles and to cut off the excess length.  Then Dan will silver-solder the ends together to form the continuous hoop that we need.
The formed brass hoops

We proceeded to my shop where we continued our progress.  Monty had decided to make a second dowel rod from the scrap piece of maple that remained when he cut out the back profile of his neck.  He carefully measured and marked the outline and cut the blank out using the bandsaw.  Then he mounted the maple blank in the ShopSmith.  We had trouble getting the lathe function of my ShopSmith to work correctly, so we tried to print a downloaded version of the ShopSmith Mark V manual.  But then my printer decided it didn't want to print that document.  Rather than ruin his very nice piece of maple, he decided to wait until we figure out how to properly turn it using the ShopSmith. (Note: On Sunday morning, I was able to print the User's Manual.)

In the meantime, Clint was shaping and finishing the peghead on his neck.  It was very time consuming because of its intricacy and he took his time to avoid any mistakes.  I failed to get a picture of the finished product, but take my word for it, it looks terrific.  While this was going on, I was completing the shaping, sanding, and staining of the back side of my neck.  I used the tobacco brown dye that we had purchased, and I diluted it with denatured alcohol.  This allowed me to use it repeatedly until I got exactly the tone I was looking for.  I discovered that I had missed a couple small areas that I will have to sand further to get some scratch marks out of the wood.  Overall, however, I'm pleased with the results.
The sanded and stained neck
We had a special catered lunch today.  Mary Ann prepared a lovely platter of crackers and cheeses and a variety of cold cuts.  And we were even careful to keep the sawdust out of it.  Thanks, Honey.

Clint works on his peghead

Mary Ann and I are going to Nashville today to visit the Tennessee State Museum.  I plan to stop in Franklin to visit the Woodcraft Store and pick up some bandsaw blades.  If I'm successful, we may all get together tomorrow (Presedents' Day) for a little more banjo building.  Who knows?  We may even learn how to use the ShopSmith!

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