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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:07 am 
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[Note: Banjo neck project #2 begins at about entry 28.]

As I said in the "Anything Else" topic, I'm making a long banjo neck for a friend of mine. So far I've made a drawing, which is not 100$% accurate in how it's g0ing to bolt to the pot and probably in other details as well, but it's fairly close. It will be slightly wider than the current neck and have a frailing scoop.


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Last edited by MaineGeezer on Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:11 pm 
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Here's the template for the side profile. It looks too thin, but that's because there is no fingerboard on it; With the fingerboard it will be 13/16" (0.8125") at the nut, which should be about right. I do want to compare it with the neck it will be replacing though.

It's made out of a piece of 1/4" tempered Masonite I had lying around. If I was going to make more than one neck I might use something better, but the Masonite ought to be good enough for a one-time use.

Next up: the top profile template.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:47 pm 
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Masonite makes a nice permanent template, which could be useful later.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:04 pm 
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A couple of developments. I've got the fingerboard blank down to 3/16" thick. It's African blackwood. I like the result when using it, but it's somewhat of a pain to work with because it is full of resin that can make quite a mess if it gets warm enough to melt. Next step will be to cut the fret slots.

I also ran into something when I was laying out the neck blank that I had overlooked. A 5-string banjo neck is not symmetric. The neck centerline through the headstock and from the nut to the 5th fret is not the same as the neck centerline from the 5th fret onward. This has Implications. Most notably, if one lays out the neck on the blank using the 5th-onward centerline, the headstock ends up not centered on the blank. Since I have to add "ears" to the headstock to get enough width, it means that the ears are not going to be the same size. I guess this doesn't particularly matter., but it surprised me.

In the photo, the green line is the CL of the blank and the neck beyond the 5th fret. The red line is the CL of the headstock and the neck from the nut to the 5th fret.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:52 pm 
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Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Are you going to put an ebony or fiddleback maple veneer on the peghead to cover the ears?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:21 pm 
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Yes - there will be an African blackwood cap on top, and maybe a maple veneer on the back. The ears won't show, except perhaps the glue lines on the sides.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:00 pm 
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This morning I gave the neck blank a ride on my friend Carter's bandsaw. I've just finished the initial cleanup. It's still a bit oversize. I'll check the dimensions. again, and bring the thickness down to a few hundredths over before I stat the final shaping;

You'll notice the bulge at the headstock-to-neck transition. I don't trust myself to rough-cut that any closer. I'll bring that area down to final size and shape as I carve the rest of the neck, so I can blend everything together.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:08 pm 
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Cutting the channel for the truss rod. Actually, I think it would he faster and easier to do it with a 1/4" bit in a router guided by a fence. The milling machine table travel isn't enough to cut the whole length at once, so I had to step part way through and shift the blank over.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:57 am 
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It's going to be a nice looking neck. The wood has a lot of figure.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:16 am 
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I've put two strips of carbon fiber in the neck, bedded in epoxy. With all that carbon fiber in the neck I'm not sure a truss rod will be able to do much, but I'll put one in, anyway.

I mentioned someplace else that the cheapest place I've found to get carbon fiber is https://dragonplate.com/
(Usual disclaimers.)


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When things are bad, try not to make them any worse, because it is quite likely they are bad enough already. - French Foreign Legion


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