So what we have here is a piece of birch with several coats of old varnish, screw holes, and cracks from the wrecking bar. It's about 7/8" thick and about 5' long. To make an 11" (or so) banjo pot, I figured I could cut five sections of that 11" circle and make one "layer". Three layers would make a decent depth pot. I selected the worst end of the board, full of holes and cracks, and laid out 15 sections with a template cut from poster board.
Here's one layer being glued while the other layers wait their turn.
To sand the inside surface of the pot, I took a piece of closet rod, drilled it for a long bolt so it would mount in my drill press, then cut a groove in the closet rod. I then took a piece of sandpaper and wrapped it around the rod, locking it in place with a small piece of metal and a couple small screws. After this was used for a few minutes it exploded, so the new version (not pictured) uses heavy sandpaper cut from old belt sander belts and uses a stiffer piece of metal in the groove. They make sanding drums of course, but I had the stuff, so I figured I'd make my own.
Unfortunately I wasn't "with it" enough to get photos of the individual layers that made up the neck. Suffice to say it was a challenge to lay out three pieces 32" long with no screw holes or cracks in the way AND leave enough left over to slice off a thin layer for a fingerboard!
I sketched a headstock based on one of Pete's long neck banjos:
I didn't try to copy it perfectly, just grab the basic personality. After a few frustrating minutes with a french curve, I ended up drawing it freehand.
I cut a thin piece off the stair tread for a headstock overlay:
Clamps are my friends.
My bandsaw blade broke so rather than drive to Sears I opted to cut the headstock out with a coping saw. A lot slower but almost more gratifying. I began roughing out the neck as well. Why did the bandsaw blade break? Because I needed to take a slice off the stair tread to make a fingerboard and 1/8" bandsaw blades don't like to cut through 2" thick birch... live and learn!
More shaping on 3/31/08:
4/1/08: Time to lay out the frets:
I've got a fancy-pants fretting saw but I prefer a $5.00 hardware store coping saw. Seems like I have more control or something. Here are the fret slots all cut, no idea why the lighting is weird.
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