Apr 7, 2013

Banjo Boys, Chapter 16

Even though I've been out of town and the Banjo Boys haven't convened in a couple of weeks, there has been progress worth reporting.  Monty has proceed to apply his tung oil to finish the wood of his neck.  The results are beautiful:

Monty has also crafted his tension hooks out of spoons, and they are ready to install.  He very cleverly drilled and tapped holes in a tab that he bent in the end of each spoon.  This enables him to use screws going through the brackets, rather than threaded rods and nuts, to control the tension on his head.  We now have to wait for the head to arrive.  The original estimate was May.

The spoon-made hooks, ready to install
My rim with brackets (Courtesy of Monty)
I've done very little to my banjo since our last update, as I've been working in Texas.  Last weekend, I did shape my tension hoop and deliver it to Dan Shady.  I also attached the first 8 brackets to the rim, courtesy of Monty Love, who gave me these finished brackets when he decided to use 16 in lieu of 24 on his banjo.  I was in the process of making the remaining brackets when I broke a drill bit and didn't have a spare.  So I have yet to complete,  polish, and install my remaining brackets.

In the meantime, Clint has been proceeding as well.  Both Clint and I finally got around to shaping our tension hoops and took them to Dan Shady to get them silver soldered.  We picked them up on Friday.  Clint had decided to have his rim powder coated in a semi-gloss black finish.  He was notified on Friday that it was ready, and he picked it up.  It looks great:
That wasn't enough.  The pressure was too great.  The neck was finished, the rim was finished, the hardware was all ready, the tension hoop and flesh hoops were now available, and Clint had bought the goatskin to make a banjo head.  The temptation was too much.  So on Saturday, April 6, 2013, Clint followed the directions he had found on the internet, carefully soaked the leather, made the head and assembled his first banjo.  He has ordered strings, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet he'll buy some at a local music store before the mail-order ones arrive.  I don't think he'll be able to wait.  I know I couldn't if I had this beautiful instrument this close to being playable.

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