The end is in sight for Corentin's Cherry 'Raven' banjo, just need to carve the neck profile and do lots of sanding before applying a finish later next week.
Made a good start on Joseph's Walnut mountain banjo, pot is pretty much ready for sanding. I'll glue the fingerboard and peghead overlay next week so it is ready to work on after Corentin's banjo is finished.
In between a few general luthiery jobs that have come into the shop the last two weeks, I've been getting on with Corentin's Cherry 'Raven' banjo, everything is glued except the heel cap and dowel stick.
I'm also trying to get the 'Ashborn' and a stock Cherry banjo finished before the kids finish school for Summer and all hell breaks loose!
I've had a lot of interest in the 'Ashborn' but no takers, the general feedback was that the friction pegs and lack of scoop were putting people off. So, I've cut an 'arc' shaped scoop leaving 17 playable frets, drilled for Gotoh tuners and added an Ebony rim cap. I'll be stretching a goat skin on it and initially stringing it up with steels.
The Cherry banjo has been sitting in a box 90% finished for the last 2-3 years, it was abandoned when I started carving the neck and discovered a knot that I had missed when gluing up, the customer didn't like it so I made a new one. The knot is just a visual thing, personally I think it looks pretty cool, the neck has remained perfectly stable over the years so it will make a nice banjo and will be priced very reasonably. It has a 12" Cherry block rim with Ebony cap and brass rod tone ring, neck is 2-piece Cherry, Ebony fingerboard, 26 3/16" scale, curvy scoop with 19 frets on the 1st string.
They will both end up on the 'banjos in stock' page at some point next month.
I have a run of Minstrel and Mountain banjo orders after these 3 are finished, which will be a nice change!
11" flamed Maple rim
Tubaphone tone ring
Goat skin head
Flamed Maple neck
24.75" scale radiused fingerboard
Evo gold fretwire
Rocklite rim cap, peghead overlay, fingerboard and heel cap
Grover sta-tite tuners
11" Ash block rim
1-Piece Ash neck
Goat skin head
Ebony violin pegs
Ebony tail piece
11" 2-ply bent Cherry rim
Round rod tone ring
24.75" scale Ebony fingerboard
Ebony peghead overlay with inlaid Brass Raven
Walnut rim and heel caps
Gotoh 5th tuner, Ebony violin tuners
Raw Brass hardware
Finished sanding all the rims today and stained Rainier's ready for oiling, radiused Tom's fingerboard, fretted, slotted peghead and made a start on carving the neck. Should be able to start oiling both banjos next week.
Since I had a customer drop out last week, I decided to do a little more work on a banjo I started last summer. I've changed the specs so many times but finally settled on one of my 2 layer Cherry rims, brass rod tone ring, Walnut neck, 24.75" scale and went for a super cool brass Raven inlaid in the peghead. Being a Norse mythology buff, I originally wanted both of Odin's Raven's, Hugin and Munin, after cutting out a different design I decided it looked too crowded so just went for one Raven. I will be inlaying a Raven into Corentin's banjo in a couple of months, so I guess this one is Hugin and Corentin will have Munin!
I took on an apprentice a few weeks back, my 6 year old son was off school with chicken pox, he wasn't too spotty, still full of beans and keen to help out in the workshop. He's been crazing me to build him a banjo for months, so I got him to draw some designs and helped him get started ona mountain banjo. He insisted on a battle axe peghead and the inlay has gone from pirates to skulls to vikings, he has now settled on a skeleton viking! He gets bored easily so not sure when we'll get it finished but I'm letting him do as much of the work as possible.
Just been left up 'shit creek' by a customer who thoughtfully let me know he could no longer afford the banjo he commissioned 3-4 weeks prior to the finish date!
I'll be putting this on the back burner for the time being so I can concentrate on banjos for paying customers, unless someone would like to take over the commission. The 1st two photos show where it's at, the last photo shows what it will end up looking like, except with Ebony instead of Rosewood and 18 hooks instead of 10. There is also the chance to add things like a scoop, fingerboard markers, geared tuners etc. If anyone is interested give me a shout, it can be completed within 4 weeks.
Should Have Rainier's tackhead ready for oiling by the end of next week, Tom's Tubaphone shouldn't be too far behind.
Just to prove I haven't been slacking too much, here's what I've been working on:
John's 'Ashborn' pot is ready for sticking on the lathe and the neck is all glued ready to start work on.
Tom's flamed Maple rim is glued ready for fitting the Tubaphone tone ring and Rocklite rim cap.
Should have the truss rod and Rocklite fingerboard/peghead overlays glued on sometime next week. I haven't played a Tubaphone banjo for around 10 years, so I'm looking forward to finishing this one.
Rainier's Ash block rim is also heading for the lathe next week, should get the neck roughed out too.
Check out Steve's banjo!
11" Cherry block rim
Ebony rim cap
Goat skin head-stained
2-piece Cherry neck
Ebony peghead overlay
MOP stars, dots, man in moon, trout inlays
Been a productive week, finished 3 of the 4 banjos I've been working on and should have the fourth (Steve's tackhead) completed by mid week, hopefully I'll be able to make a start on Tom's Tubaphone and John's Ashborn at the end part of the week.
Ebony 25.5" scale fingerboard
2-piece Cherry neck
12" Cherry block rim with Walnut trim
Goat skin head
Unbleached bone nut
1-piece Ash neck stained dark brown
2-layer 11" steam bent Ash rim stained dark brown
Goat skin head stained brown
26" scale length
Ebony tailpiece, nut and pip
Planetary tuners and friction 5th
1-Piece Walnut neck
Indian Rosewood fingerboard 24.75" scale
Rosewood peghead overlay
Maple fingerboard dots
Vintage spun pot
Goat skin head
This banjo will be for sale shortly, let me know if you are interested!
Been a long week carving, scraping and sanding and my poor old arthritic fingers are feeling the pain!
Finally got the first coat of oil on all 4 banjos except Steve's neck, which needs a little more sanding before cutting and inlaying the Trout and moon.
All being well, I should be able to start putting them together by the end of next week!