Yes, the banjer is finished! Actually, the banjo has been finished for a few days and there was at least one weekend that I worked on the instrument but forgot to bring my camera to take pictures, so just pretend that I did all of this in a few hours last Sunday.
My friend with the wood shop has made a few stringed instruments before and he let me use some spare fret wire. Here is the 12th fret with fret markers. the markers are made from the same piece of bloodwood that I used to make the bridge,tuning pins, string saddle thing, and the pot rod. Speaking of blood, there are a few drops on the 7th fret from when I had to say "oops, that's finger", while hammering in the fret wire.
A forchner bit drilled the hole in the neck and a plug bit cut plugs of blood wood that I gently tapped into place. Well, it might not have been that gentle and two of the pegs broke just below the level of the neck. Hey! it adds personality.
This is the string saddle thing in a vice. After the glue dried, I sanded and smoothed the thing, drilled some pilot holes and attached some brass screws to attach the strings to. The whole thing slips on over the pot rod, so if I ever find a nicer tin or my tin needs to be replaced, I can slide the saddle thing off with little hassle.
The tin was cut with a dremel tool and the flanges from the cut were folded into the tin to run parallel to the pot rod.
Two hose clamps and a bit of old bicycle innertube keep the tin in place on the potrod. These aren't really needed because string tension on the saddle thing keeps everything quite snug.
Hey it's the bloodwood bridge!
There is something about the reflection of the bridge on the tin that I find quite mesmerizing. Don't forget to look at the string holder thingy with the brass screws.
And finally.....the finished product.
For reason's that most people probably wouldn't understand, she has been affectionately named Shemp in honor of Shemp Howard
: my favorite of the six Three Stooges.
After sitting down and taking the time to properly tune Shemp, she sounds quite nice and hopefully, in a few weeks, I'll have gained enough skill on the banjer to make a recording to share (it will be 'Banks and Braes'; I love that tune ).
For the next
banjo, should I decide to make another, I'll use a dark wood for the fretboard as it is currently hard to see the strings against the light wood; especially with the grain going with the strings. I would also like to make a wooden pot, although I don't think I'll make a proper banjo head. Hmmm, my buddy does have a lathe.......
I'd like to thank my buddy for the use of his shop, Pat and Patrick Costello
for inspiring and teaching me through their blog posts, books, and videos. Frail on!
Well that's all for now, time to get back to banjo practice!