LumberJocks

Mountain Banjo

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Project by Skip Mathews posted 03-17-2017 03:42 PM 458 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Built a mountain banjo using plans form Foxfire book #3
Used all hand tools.
I used wood from a hundred year old walnut cabinet and from an old wood plane.

Here is a link to my facebook log showing every step along the way…
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1488388971172415.1073741829.100000039785427&type=1&l=c113984fa0

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"





15 comments so far

View Michael McKenzie's profile

Michael McKenzie

61 posts in 43 days


#1 posted 03-17-2017 05:28 PM

Im kinda speechless, I collect handmade instruments and have never seen a banjo as unique as this. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. It’s looks like it would have to have an incredible sound, deeper in timber than usual I bet. Add in the reclamation of materials and you have an heirloom there. Nice work sir.

-- ~ Ancora imparo! ~

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

117 posts in 1454 days


#2 posted 03-17-2017 06:22 PM

Thank you! Yes it does have a deeper tone, also a lot more volume that I expected. I used nylon strings and that would lend to the deeper tone. I am not a banjo player and built this with the idea of learning. I play acoustic guitar but this is quite different. Looking forward to learning a few tunes :)

Thank you for your comment Michael!

Here is a picture with the back taken off.
The skin top is stretched over a metal ring cut off the end of a large green bean can.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View PaulDoug's profile

PaulDoug

1237 posts in 1307 days


#3 posted 03-17-2017 06:40 PM

Very beautiful! Great craftsmanship. When you learn to play a tune, how about a video? I’d love to hear it.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

117 posts in 1454 days


#4 posted 03-17-2017 07:11 PM

Thank you Paul!! I will :)

One thing I didn’t mention is the finish is three coats of Tried and True Oil from Stewmac
I hadn’t used that product before now, I like it. Easy to apply and looks good!

The oil really brings out the color and you just keep adding coats until you like how it looks.
Two pictures below before finish.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2489 posts in 2118 days


#5 posted 03-17-2017 08:11 PM

First time I have ever seen a fretless banjo, to be honest.
Heck of an instrument! Love the way you did the sound holes on the back.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

25299 posts in 2470 days


#6 posted 03-17-2017 08:33 PM

This is a beautiful banjo and so nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1199 posts in 1277 days


#7 posted 03-17-2017 09:28 PM

Nice work Skip. I’m a fan of claw hammer style playing and have had one of these banjos on my list for so long it’s getting embarrassing.

Guitar pickers and fiddlers get a free pass when they get to the Pearl Gate. Banjo players have to audition to get in. Extra points are given if the instrument is frettless and the style is claw hammer. Mysterious ways. LOL

The Banjo Player,1856, William Sidney Mount (1807-1868)

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

27 posts in 106 days


#8 posted 03-18-2017 01:27 AM

Nicely done! I know you didn’t forget the frets, but it may be more of a challenge to play. You might look for Clawhammer Style Banjo by Ken Perlman. it’s a good starter for frailing banjo, and goes from very basic to advanced, and has a lot of good fiddle tunes.

View Lemongrasspicker's profile

Lemongrasspicker

64 posts in 100 days


#9 posted 03-18-2017 02:59 AM

Great work, I always enjoyed looking at (and listening to) fretless banjos, the construction/work time is considerably less without those pesky frets to deal with ;)

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

117 posts in 1454 days


#10 posted 03-18-2017 03:15 AM

I do have one fret marked, the fifth fret. That gives me a landmark to guess at the others. It will take some getting used to.
The claw hammer is a real challenge, feels odd, nothing like finger picking a guitar.

Thanks for the comments!!

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1816 posts in 3065 days


#11 posted 03-18-2017 06:38 AM

Beautiful!!!!!!!!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

117 posts in 1454 days


#12 posted 03-19-2017 04:12 AM

Here is something I was pretty fascinated to discover.
A way to lay out fret locations graphically with almost no math or measuring.
This is from an article in the Scientific American 1885
I Made this drawing to get my fifth fret. It is really very simple.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

117 posts in 1454 days


#13 posted 03-19-2017 04:25 AM

Another thing that is cool is using a hand router to cut the rabbet where the skin for the top is tacked and glued in place.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

838 posts in 3035 days


#14 posted 03-19-2017 01:56 PM

I’m shocked this didn’t make top 3. beautiful piece and I’m going to make one myself!!! Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View NormG's profile

NormG

5730 posts in 2607 days


#15 posted 03-19-2017 11:55 PM

This is a wonderful looking Banjo. I love the sound of these instruments.Those that can play these have a great talent and gift

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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