December instruments

December started off with two 12″ walnut in-stock banjos, 130 and 131.  131 is shown on the Banjos page, 130 doesn’t appear there because a customer asked for first refusal on my next walnut 12″, so I made two and posted the one he didn’t buy.

My next project was a rim and neck to be shipped incomplete, so the customer could do the inlay, fretting, finishing, and such.  This was my first time working on a banjo that is open back but has a flathead tone ring like a bluegrass banjo.  Here is a picture of what it looked like when I sent it out.

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Then came banjo #132, which had two firsts for me.  One was the black stained pot, I asked for advice on Banjo Hangout and used Fiebing’s Leather Dye to color the ash rim black.  It is very easy stuff to work with and the Tru Oil finish went on over it easily.  The second first was aging the brass hardware.  The customer read online about how to use coffee grounds to age brass, and sent me a link about it.  I followed the directions but it didn’t have any effect on the test pieces of brass, other than to make them smell faintly like coffee.  Then the customer ordered a bottle of brass ager and had it sent to me, and that aged the brass very thoroughly in 2 minutes of soaking.  It was an interesting banjo to work on, and I got to learn two useful new skills, so that was nice.

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Banjo #133 is a slot head, shown on the Banjos page.

My last projects for December didn’t get completed till a few days into January.  Guitar #8 is my first in stock parlor guitar and my first experiment with a new-to-me kind of neck stripe, and fiddle #24 is my first curly maple chicken head fiddle.  They are shown on the Guitars and Fiddles pages, respectively.

My January 2020 projects include 5 banjos that I am working on now, and I hope to have time to squeeze in a dulcimer or two, as I am now out of stock of them.