Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Banjo #6

Neck: Black Walnut, Maple, Cherry, and Wenge with Ebony peghead veneer and fingerboard. Tunnelled drone string, and extra low string. 20 1/2" scale length. Brass position markers. Mini s-shaped frailing scoop. Modified raw brass mandolin tuners. Brass and resin filled cracks.

Originally this was quite an experimental neck, so I used some fairly scrappy walnut wood. When I discovered some non-structural cracks, caused by the way it had been dried, I was already well towards falling in love with the idea of this short scale, extra string design so I decided to continue on and fill them with brass dust and epoxy, which is a thing I'd been wanting to try out anyway.

Pot: 12" Maple Keller drum shell, Rickard Dobson tone-ring, hand-painted Renaissance head, hand-made drilled raw brass tension hoop and tailpiece.

All wood finished by heat impregnating with pure beeswax.

Tuned: gCDGcd

Tuned gGDGcd (Original tune by O Bäckström)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#6 Nearly There!

All together for the first time.

#6 More progress (& setbacks)

Unfortunately shaping revealed that the Black walnut wasn't dried very well and has split. More fortunately it isn't structural at all and I have solution that I've been meaning to try anyway.
Shaping has also revealed (note the passive description, obviously it wasn't my mistake) that the tuners are too short for the slots.

My two solutions are above. Brass dust and thin glue to fill the cracks, a little like the gold in Japanese Wabi Sabi pottery, and modified ferrules (modified with black milliput) to stabilise and bridge the gap in the slots.

Friday, October 9, 2015

#6 Progress

Rough cutting tunnel into fingerboard for drone string with rotary tool and small carbide bit.

The other side of the groove. Messy, but hidden. You can see the two carbon fibre strips in the centre here too. I've tried to sand them down a little so there is room for the walnut to contract later (it's quite damp in the shed and flat at the moment). You can also see that the headstock isn't planed flat yet - I did do it before the glue-up.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Drilled Tension Hoop

I had hoped to make drilled tension hoops the last two times, but didn't quite dare, and also thought that the 1/8" thick brass might not be thick enough. This time I'm using 3/16" thick brass and it seems to have worked well. The 3/16" brass was much harder to get a perfect bend in though, and was much harder to silver-solder too. Still some work to do to get it perfectly round.

Silver Soldering

This time I decided to fit the cross dowel horizontally because I was worried that otherwise the extra lamination could split when the bolt is tightened.

I silver-soldered a brass square onto the cross-dowel to keep it from turning away from the bolt.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Modified tuners

Modified (cut down and re-drilled) raw brass mandolin tuners for 6-string slotted headstock.