Archive for the ‘bocote banjo’ Category

On a bit of vacation, so no posts. I have a couple of orders to fill when I get back and I stocked up on some great maple and I am looking forward to building the new banjos. Until then….. it is time to surf!

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Yay! I finished the banjo yesterday afternoon. The final details included, Gotoh tuners, a Fielding tailpiece,  and I had some beautiful compensated bridges that I bought from Jason Romero, just so happens the bridge turned out to be the exact right height so I used that and I think is has a nice sound.

ready to play

Bocote Banjo Mp3

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I installed the 5th string tuner, the 5th string pip, and the nut. 

Nut rough shaped and ready for notching.

tuner and 5th string pip. I will file the pip down when I put on the strings.

When I went to the Portland Old Time Music Gathering, I wandered into Hippo Hardware (a salvage hardware) and found a box of old hinge-pin knobs made out of brass. I bought all the knobs in the box thinking they might make good ball ends for the dowel stick. I had to modify this one a bit then drill and tap it for the stud, but I think it came out pretty nice. I like it when I can scrounge up something old and recycle it into a banjo.

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time to inlay and finish the neck and pot.

starting inlay work


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I decided to use a homemade tension hoop, made of silicon bronze (just like the tone ring).

This is the first tension hoop I have made in my shop.


tension hoop marked for notching

I like the raw brass hardware, I think it complements the bocote wood. Here are some other shots before notching


close up of hardware


marked notch locations

I haven’t made one of these before, so I just hogged out the notches by hand using a round file. It didn’t take too long and worked pretty well, here are some pics of the notched tension hoop in place.


here is the hoop with the hardware tightened up.


I am pretty happy with the results.

Now back to fitting the neck to the pot,with the tension hoop in place I can get the final fitting right.

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I bought some Bocote wood which I thought had some dramatic grain and would look and hopefully sound good. Here are some pics of the build.

Neck blank

bocote neck blank before shaping

pot grain

12" bocote pot, grain-matched from a single piece of wood

Aligning the neck to the pot.


this is a critical joint and takes me some time to get it right

Here is a couple of shots of the neck as it will attach to the the pot….


this view shows the ebony and bocote dowel stick


back to work, this is my first post so hopefully they will get a little better as I go along…

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