|Clint and the neck with the beautiful bird inlays|
|Monty's "Green Monster"|
Clint had worked at home this week to complete the embedding of his second mother-of-pearl barn swallow, so his neck inlay is nearly complete. He inlayed this bird in the recessed section of the neck below the ogee that we routed last week. It looks great.
|Dressing up the finished frets|
and sanding the peghead
|Ebony on the back of a|
Romero banjo peghead
While Monty was installing frets, Clint was experimenting with some ebony veneer that he had purchased. He wants to add ebony veneer to the underside of his peghead just as it is veneered on the top surface. The problem arises because the underside has a curve at one end where it meets the "thumbstop," a small crest in the shape of the neck. Clint tried using a heated bending iron that I use to bend dulcimer sides to bend his ebony. Unfortunately, the experiment failed. The wood is so dense and brittle that it splits, even when aided by heat and steam. We think the solution may be to dye some poplar black and use it as faux ebony.
I had discovered that when I stood my neck up on the end that we machined last weekend, it leaned to one side by a couple of degrees. That indicated that my circular cut was off-center relative to the center line of the neck. So while Clint and Monty were "doing their thing," I set up the same rig we used last week and I reshaped the base of my neck. While I was at it, I machined the notch that accommodates the tension hoop where it crosses the neck.
Later in the day, Clint and I got the sides of our necks cut to shape, and I got my frets installed. Monty is now in the stage of shaping the back of his neck and will be using Surform rasps and checking his work using a cross-section template that we found on the Internet, printed, and glued to a piece of plexiglass. We then cut the plexiglass to use as a gauge to check our neck shape.
|Monty with the surform tool and shape template|
These are starting to look like banjo necks!
|My neck and Monty's with frets installed|