This will be a much shorter post than my recent ones. I only spent about half an hour working on the banjo tonight, and now it will have to wait till Sunday when I will have time to apply the finish. In the winter, or whenever it’s too cold to finish in an unheated space I do all of my finishing on Sundays since that is my day off. I light a fire in the woodstove in the house (which we don’t use during the winter and has the pipes drained). around 7 or 8 AM, and by 11 it’s warm enough to start applying Tru Oil unless it’s extra cold outside. Then I apply a coat at 1, 3,5, and 7 PM, and I have 9 as a fallback time in case I miss an earlier one. This way I can get the finishing done in one day and minimize the amount of time I have to run the stove. Tonight I started by trimming the heel cap flush with the heel, using the disc and RO sanders and some hand carving with the little knife. I find it’s harder to carve burl wood because the grain is totally random, so I never know how hard to push or which way the knife will want to pull, but it’s a very small job so it didn’t take long.
The heel cap is much more symmetrical than it looks in the picture, I think it is something about the angle that makes it look rather grotesque. I didn’t notice when I was taking the picture. Then I put some #30 CA from Stew-Mac in the pockets in the burl wood on the peghead and rubbed some sanding dust into them. The pockets were very small, about the size of a pencil lead or less, and the burl is so random that the odd colored spots won’t stand out like they would on plain wood. Then I sanded the neck and rim and dowel stick, first with 120 where it was needed, then with 220, and finally 400, all by hand. I sanded off the extra filler on the peghead and put the banjo away in the cabinet where nothing should be able to fall on it to wait till Sunday.