Summer banjos and such

I had been meaning to continue with monthly reports showing what I’ve been doing in the shop, but over the summer I let myself fall behind.  I’ll get back to doing things in a more timely way now that fall is here.

In June I started by building a custom fiddle with walnut ribs and neck and a curly maple back.


Then I made a neck and pot for someone who was building a tenor banjo and wanted the parts partially done so he could apply the finishing touches:


And a rim for another customer:


Early in July I completed banjo #79, one of my regular 12″ walnut banjos, shown on the Banjos page.

In mid-July I finished #80, an internal resonator walnut banjo similar to #66 that was made for the BHO giveaway.  This banjo has a John Balch goatskin head.  I had heard a lot of good things about Mr. Balch and his work and the head was even nicer than I had expected.


Later in July I made this washtub bass for a customer, based on the information on Dennis Havlena’s web page.  The customer wanted flush frets, so I used jatoba inserts on an ash fingerboard.  Most of the rest of the wood was cherry.  The height-adjustable toilet plunger foot was also an idea of the customer’s.


In August I made two C scale banjos for people who had meant to buy the last stock one I had made.  #81 is mahogany and #82 is walnut.


#82 is set up with nylgut minstrel banjo strings and tuned in open G.  The customer sent the strings to be put on it and I was surprised by how well they worked on such a short scale banjo.

The rim I had made for a customer in June evolved into banjo #83, supplied unfinished.  I didn’t get it done till early September.


Banjo #84 is a cherry A scale with a 12″ pot.  This was my first time using Rocklite Sundari which is made to look like rosewood, it’s the fretboard and rim cap on this banjo.  I like how it works and looks and will continue to use it.


In mid-September my other project was to make a marimbula, which was a thing I hadn’t heard of till the customer asked about it.  This was made for the same folks who commissioned the washtub bass and several other instruments over the last year and a half.  I’ve had a lot of fun working for them and getting to try out new things.


Right now I am working on a left handed custom banjo and a stock 12″ walnut banjo which I hope to have done in the next ten days or so, along with a few sundry parts for other folks.  I will post a shorter update sooner next time.

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