Open Back Banjo

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Project by HankLP posted 08-17-2017 04:42 AM 1433 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Fun Project. Turned out well, and quite playable which is most important. The dark wood is Jatoba, and the light wood is Maple. Jatoba is quite hard so I used that for the fingerboard as well. What I discovered about building a banjo is that the hardware is much more expensive than the wood. The work phases shown the pictures are: 1) building and gluing up the segmented rings, 2) Using a circle jig on the bandsaw to trim the outside diameter of the ring. 3) Turning the OD and ID on the lathe, and 4) using a jig with sanding block to shape the neck joint. I have a couple extra neck blocks ready to go, so I might be working on no. 2 soon.

The blue painter’s tape on the front of the work bench was used to lay out the bracket holes. After laying out the hole pattern on the tape, the tape was wrapped around the rim for the horizontal drilling of 20 holes. I was concerned that the tape might stretch a bit, but it held its shape very well. I put the tape back on the work bench and will leave it there for a while.

9 comments so far

View mikeacg's profile


1044 posts in 1513 days

#1 posted 08-17-2017 12:44 PM

I am so envious! Did you design or use a plan? Where did you get the hardware? I want to build one!!!


-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View woodworm's profile


14472 posts in 4046 days

#2 posted 08-17-2017 03:06 PM

Nicely built banjo….

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3322 days

#3 posted 08-17-2017 03:41 PM

This band saw turned out beautifully. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View HankLP's profile


102 posts in 958 days

#4 posted 08-17-2017 05:55 PM

Thanks for the comments. I didn’t use a plan, but many resources on-line and in books were helpful.

1) The book BanjoCraft by Robert Browder was very helpful and inexpensive on Amazon
2) has good info on segmented ring construction
3) Bluestem Strings –

1) Stewart Macdonald
2) Tyler Mountain
3) First Quality Music
4) Rikard Banjo

View DMiller's profile


490 posts in 929 days

#5 posted 08-17-2017 07:31 PM

Looks great! As an avid guitarist, and a wanna-be-banjist, I may have to try to build one! Looks great!

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

View BanjoBen's profile


103 posts in 1356 days

#6 posted 08-17-2017 08:03 PM

Very cool!

View HankLP's profile


102 posts in 958 days

#7 posted 08-18-2017 12:50 AM

Looks great! As an avid guitarist, and a wanna-be-banjist, I may have to try to build one! Looks great!

- DMiller

I’m a guitar picker myself, but frailing a banjo is fun all by itself

View Woodknack's profile


12877 posts in 2836 days

#8 posted 08-18-2017 06:06 PM

View slapdash's profile


108 posts in 2680 days

#9 posted 08-19-2017 07:11 AM

That is cool.

-- I'm not creative, I'm just bad at copying

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