In January I did a series of posts detailing the construction of banjo #44, which is to be the prize in a free drawing on BanjoHangout coming soon. I got to thinking that I should make an armrest for it, so I did a little bit ago but didn’t get it posted till now. Step 1 was to find a suitable piece of wood, at least 1.5″ thick to make the side of the armrest and draw the outer curve on it using the handy template for 12″ banjos.
Once I cut the outside I drew a line about 1/4″ inside it, using my finger as a depth gauge to make a relatively uniform thickness.
Then I cut it off and sanded the inside smooth on the spindle sander, since it is less accessible once the top goes on.
Then I used the template again to draw the shape of the top on another piece of cherry.
I cut it out, sliced it to about 1/4″ thick and glued it onto the side. When I came back the next day I sanded the outside of the assembly smooth, and then used the tomato paste can to draw the curves. I then used a 1/4″ roundover bit in the router table to radius the edge where the top and side come together. This makes me nervous so I do it very carefully.
Then I took it back to the bandsaw and cut off the bulk of the waste at the corners, using a block of wood to support the armrest.
Then I used the spindle sander to clean up the inside curves on the sides and the inner edge of the top and the disc sander to smooth out everything else. I did a bit with a random orbit sander and then some hand sanding at the end to get everything smooth. Then I drilled a hole 3/8″ up from the bottom edge and used a countersink to make it match the screw. I took it out to the loft and applied the Tru Oil in 5 coats over the next 2 days.
Once the finishing was done I brought it back to the shop and made the bracket from 1/8″x1/2″ brass left over from making tension hoops. I bent it to match the curve of the rim, made a notch in each end to fit over each hook with the belt sander, drilled a hole in the middle and tapped it for an 8-32 screw. I cut the extra length off the screw and sanded the end smooth.
Then I mounted it on the banjo. It takes an hour or so to do the work of making an armrest, spread out over a few days.