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New Banjo Neck

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Project by HankLP posted 04-22-2020 12:25 AM 464 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was never satisfied with the neck on first banjo I built about three years ago. It was too narrow, and the string spacing was too close. The new neck corrected those issues with a 3/8” string spacing across the neck. While everything was broken down I made a Myrtle wood arm rest to match the headstock overlay. The headstock inlay is a bit funky, but I salvaged what I could from the original neck. The fretboard is made of ebony which I found for $15 per pound. The neck is Jatoba, with a Myrtle center piece.

Pic 1: I’ve had bad luck gluing down fretboards so dowls for alignment pins were located in the fretboard dots.
Pic 2: Thought the marble reference stone would make a good flat gluing surface and it did (the sand paper does not extend under the glueup).
Pic 3: All fretted up and attached to the pot.
Pic 4: Inlay from the original neck… basically an Inlay of an Inlay.
Pic 5: Someone suggested dressing up the neck joint so I added this swoop where the neck joins the headstock. I believe it also strengthens the weak spot where the neck joins the headstock.
Pic 6: Always a bit nervous when drilling and tapping an expensive brass tension hoop.

The original banjo build and the segmented construction of the banjo pot can be seen in my project posted in August 2017.





7 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24922 posts in 3904 days


#1 posted 04-22-2020 01:07 AM

Nice work on that new neck!!

Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View mel52's profile

mel52

1508 posts in 1064 days


#2 posted 04-22-2020 03:01 AM

The whole project is sharp looking. Great job !!! Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View DMiller's profile

DMiller

537 posts in 1272 days


#3 posted 04-22-2020 04:40 AM

That looks awesome! I have hopes to build a banjo in the near future as I just finished my guitar build. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you purchase the hardware for the pot? Thanks!

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

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

526 posts in 185 days


#4 posted 04-22-2020 03:12 PM

Nice work! Time for a hoedown. I use alignment pins when glueing down fretboards. 1/32” or 1/16” holes drilled in a couple of fret slots. I leave out two frets to do this as I usually fret the board before attaching. The steel pins (finishing nails) are easy to pull after and then the last two frets installed. Looking forward to seeing your next build.

-- Darrel

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

130 posts in 1301 days


#5 posted 04-22-2020 07:57 PM

DALE, I built the pot using Segmented – also known as block – construction similar to what bowl turners do. Pots are also sold by the hardware suppliers below. I found hardware at a number of places. Look at Smakula, Elderly Instruments, Stewart McDonald, Luthier’s Merchantile, and Rickard Banjos for the good stuff. There is also Golden Gate and Tyler Mountain on Amazon. Remember, Wood is cheap, the hardware is not.

BTW Your guitar looks pretty cool. I look forward to building one in the future.

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

130 posts in 1301 days


#6 posted 04-22-2020 08:05 PM

Darrel, Thanks for the tip on pining with finishing nails. One problem I had in the past was moisture from the glue causing the fretboard to curl up. Do you wrap the fretboard to the neck when you glue it down? My frailing is not up to speed for a hoedown yet.

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

526 posts in 185 days


#7 posted 04-22-2020 08:14 PM



Darrel, Thanks for the tip on pining with finishing nails. One problem I had in the past was moisture from the glue causing the fretboard to curl up. Do you wrap the fretboard to the neck when you glue it down? My frailing is not up to speed for a hoedown yet.

- HankLP


I have cauls built using 3/4” plywood cut to the shape of the fretboard. I use a 12” radius on my boards so have bamboo skewers glued on to each side of the plywood so that even pressure is applied to the sides and middle when clamping. Holes drilled in the plywood match up with the alignment pins. I glue the board on before carving the neck so it makes clamping easy to a flat underside. Some people definitely wrap with surgical tubing, sliced inner tube, rope and the like. Epoxy isn’t used a lot on guitars but it works a treat for fretboards as it doesn’t cause the movement you experienced. It is also reversible using an old clothes iron in my case and a spatula/knife as the G2 I use releases around 160F which is only a little higher than Titebond Original. Lots of different ways to do it.

-- Darrel

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