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Banjo Neck Jig - and some things you may not care to know

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Project by HankLP posted 06-13-2018 03:52 AM 830 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Jig building is fun all by itself. It’s relaxing because using scrap material there is almost no cost, and you don’t have to worry about dropping a hammer on it or accidently scraping it with a chisel or screwdriver. However, the joint of the banjo neck to the pot has several parameters that have to come together for a near perfect joint and this took some sleepless nights to come to a solution.

1) The neck has a concave radius where it is joined to the banjo pot.
2) Unlike a guitar, the banjo finger board is not “flat” with the top of the instrument. The banjo neck drops away from the top of the instrument at a ~3 degree angle.
3) Because the neck on a 5 string banjo is not symmetric it is displaced to the side so the middle (3rd) string lines up with the center of the pot.

My first attempt at a jig was to cut the joint on a bandsaw. It was clumsy, inaccurate, and still required sanding so I figured making a jig for the oscillating sander would be better. The sanding jig uses a table with a custom fit ring on the bottom to hold the jig firm and to allow adjustment for pots from 8 to 11 inches in diameter. The banjo neck is clamped to the movable plate as shown, and swings around the radius of the fixed plate which can be moved in or out to vary the radius. It came together very well, and will speed up production of the banjos and banjoleles to follow.





6 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

31985 posts in 2948 days


#1 posted 06-13-2018 01:49 PM

This post displays a lot of creative jig making and so nicely done. Congratulations!

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

View awsum55's profile

awsum55

231 posts in 590 days


#2 posted 06-13-2018 03:00 PM

Very ingenious, I also like the art of making jigs. I usually get tired of making what ever it is by the time I figure out the best way to make the jig.

-- John D, OP, KS

View SteveMI's profile

SteveMI

1114 posts in 3376 days


#3 posted 06-13-2018 05:32 PM

So when is the reverse jig going to be ready that final sands the banjo pot mating surface for a perfect fit!

Actually, I am impressed with the setup and coming up with an idea around what is already in the shop.

Steve.

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

312 posts in 2216 days


#4 posted 06-18-2018 02:57 AM

Jig and fixture making is an art and pleasure all by itself, but none of mine ever come as close to being as elegant and nice as yours – just hacks, chops and cuts with whatever is handy. Sometimes they work like a charm, and sometimes no amount of tweaking helps.

And, how do you ever keep such a clean shop? Wow.

Congratulations!

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

119 posts in 1932 days


#5 posted 06-19-2018 09:05 PM

Awesome Idea! I can see how this will make a perfect fit.
I have been dreaming on how to do this with my next banjo, (bent walnut, tack head) but I am trying to do it without power.

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

View HankLP's profile

HankLP

61 posts in 584 days


#6 posted 06-21-2018 06:09 AM

Thanks for the comments. Only problem with jigs is I may have to build an annex to keep them in. They’re stacked on shelves and hanging off the walls now.

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