how i built an epic banjo
early-on, i picked-up the banjo as a pleasent break-time activity. all it took was the untimely breaking of a mahogany bedframe to inspire me to create my own hand-made banjo. i used the head board and one rail. i used only a handsaw, four-sided rasp and sandpaper. i used foxfire 6 for reference.
hear it play here: https://youtu.be/SyLi-1Ny15E
1935 national duolian rebuild
this 1935 national duolian (#3707) somehow found its way into the hands of my gambling step-grandfather who would frequent chicago after shifts at the steel mill. it was ultimately given to my mother and father and i recall growing-up around-it. it never had strings and i had never heard a note from it. in fact, my recollection was that it was broken as long as it was a thing in my life.
i received the pieces from my brother in the hope that i could maybe fix it.
it was in pretty desperate condition when i received it. the neck had been shattered from the body and quite a bit of rust and decay had developed.
i rebuilt the neck and truss rod and carved a new nut with pieces from an ancestral mahogany bed.
i removed any rust and was careful to maintain as much of the original finish as i could.
hear it play here: https://youtu.be/I3ALilY_hBc
i appreciate the ability of waking in the morning and deciding to learn new creative output. this leads me to clay, toys, and other diversions.