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Author Topic: Another Banjo  (Read 1697 times)
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« on: April 13, 2017, 01:39:48 am »

It's been awhile since I've actually built a whole new banjo,, so when I saw a largish pumpkin gourd (assuming that's what it's called; the booth's attendant didn't know) at a local folklife festival, and found it was for sale, I bought it. I'm planning to make it into a gourd banjo. Doesn't look like much right now (pics coming soon), but it will hopefully improve as I slowly make the parts and assemble them. Now to go out and take a few pics of the gourd itself; it's drying on a makeshift rack on the patio, after having been thoroughly soaked and scrubbed to remove the scabby grey stuff that they all acquire, as they cure and dry out...
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Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

""quid statis aspicientes in infernum"
selectedgrub
Guest
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 06:59:22 am »

Look forward to the build
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Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Australia Australia



« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 01:06:36 pm »

Watching with interest. I make my own instruments, so am looking forward to seeing how this one comes out.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 04:57:09 pm »

Thanks, Banfili and Selected!

Here're the post-soak-and-scrub pics:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
1st side view

Still looks a bit spotty (kind of resembles the moon, lol), but the darker spots are lightening as it dries out.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Top view

Maybe a dark-ish stain is in the offing (lots of folks dye/stain their gourds). it'll take  several more days until it dries out sufficiently to start cleaning it out and carving It.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Bottom view

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
2nd side view

A long way to go, yet. Need to find some wood for the neck, and the head tension pegs (planning to make it tension-adjustable [a la a rope-tensioned drum], as opposed to a tackhead type. There's a name for it, but it escapes me just now).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 04:47:29 am by MWBailey » Logged
SeVeNeVeS
Immortal
**
England England



« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 05:20:58 pm »

Somehow missed this. Tongue

Consider me tuned in and watching, different and rather interesting, if I may say.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 05:48:23 pm »

This is the basic plan, more or less. The actual finished product might look somewhat different, but all of the ideas are present in this drawing.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Still waiting for the gourd to dry (it'll be several days). Then, I'll cut it open and start cleaning it out  - a really horrifically messy process, which is why I want it to all be dry when I do it. I know that it seems like, as with pumpkins, it might be easier to do when it's still soft and wet inside, but trust me, it's not the walk in the park that it seems as if it would be.

In the meantime, I'm choosing woods for the neck (trying to decide between maple and cherry), perch pole and fingerboard (will probably go and get some macassar ebony, or maybe just settle for walnut or rosewood; ebony is gosh-awfully expensive these days).



Somehow missed this. Tongue

Consider me tuned in and watching, different and rather interesting, if I may say.





Thanks!
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 06:00:38 pm by MWBailey » Logged
SeVeNeVeS
Immortal
**
England England



« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 06:35:34 pm »

This is the basic plan, more or less. The actual finished product might look somewhat different, but all of the ideas are present in this drawing.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Still waiting for the gourd to dry (it'll be several days). Then, I'll cut it open and start cleaning it out  - a really horrifically messy process, which is why I want it to all be dry when I do it. I know that it seems like, as with pumpkins, it might be easier to do when it's still soft and wet inside, but trust me, it's not the walk in the park that it seems as if it would be.

In the meantime, I'm choosing woods for the neck (trying to decide between maple and cherry), perch pole and fingerboard (will probably go and get some macassar ebony, or maybe just settle for walnut or rosewood; ebony is gosh-awfully expensive these days).



Somehow missed this. Tongue

Consider me tuned in and watching, different and rather interesting, if I may say.

Thanks!
Uuumm, not at all, the way I see it, anyone that can transform a vegetable into a musical instrument, then play the darn thing, is a better man than I.

Watching in awe.
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Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Australia Australia



« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2017, 07:25:00 am »

Not a vegetable, it's a fruit - seeds on the inside!
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SeVeNeVeS
Immortal
**
England England



« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2017, 08:36:19 am »

Not a vegetable, it's a fruit - seeds on the inside!
Never even heard of the thing until now, I had a 50/50 chance there, and it appears I am the only vegetable in this here thread.  Grin
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Prof Marvel
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it


« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2017, 10:32:15 pm »

My Dear Baily -

that is amazing! looking forward to seeing it.

gawd willing i will get something completed to show...

Never even heard of the thing until now, I had a 50/50 chance there, and it appears I am the only vegetable in this here thread.  Grin

Not a vegetable, dear sir, but a light in the darkness ( I can tell from your icon :-)  )

yhs
prof marvel
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Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Australia Australia



« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2017, 12:38:33 am »

Not a vegetable, it's a fruit - seeds on the inside!
Never even heard of the thing until now, I had a 50/50 chance there, and it appears I am the only vegetable in this here thread.  Grin

No no, SeVeNeVeS, it's easy to do! Grin
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2017, 09:47:58 pm »

This is the basic plan, more or less. The actual finished product might look somewhat different, but all of the ideas are present in this drawing.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Still waiting for the gourd to dry (it'll be several days). Then, I'll cut it open and start cleaning it out  - a really horrifically messy process, which is why I want it to all be dry when I do it. I know that it seems like, as with pumpkins, it might be easier to do when it's still soft and wet inside, but trust me, it's not the walk in the park that it seems as if it would be.

In the meantime, I'm choosing woods for the neck (trying to decide between maple and cherry), perch pole and fingerboard (will probably go and get some macassar ebony, or maybe just settle for walnut or rosewood; ebony is gosh-awfully expensive these days).



Somehow missed this. Tongue

Consider me tuned in and watching, different and rather interesting, if I may say.

Thanks!
Uuumm, not at all, the way I see it, anyone that can transform a vegetable into a musical instrument, then play the darn thing, is a better man than I.

Watching in awe.






Time will tell whether or not it's playable (lol).
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Hez
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Canada Canada


aka Miss Primrose C Leigh


« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 03:26:44 pm »

Definitely watching.
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selectedgrub
Guest
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2017, 10:49:33 pm »

Is it dry yet?
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 06:10:23 am »

Is it dry yet?





Yes, the gourd is dry, and I have marked the line along which I will cut the top off. After that comes the removal of the (hopefully) dried and dessicated innards.

I'll try to post some pics of that in the next few days.

Sorry to be so quiet; Mom's in the hospital with gall bladder issues and some kind of pancreatic infection, Dad sprained his ankle, and I'm shuttling back and forth between hospital and home taking care of both of them (though Dad is remarkably easy to take care of, as he does most of the taking-care-of himself, except for those things that require a helper, for which he waits - knock on the nearest facsimile of wood - until I get home), and doing the domestic/yard/home repair/automotive upkeep and repair/shopping/etc. - So I haven't had much time to work on the project for the last couple of days.
.
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selectedgrub
Guest
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2017, 07:11:55 am »

Sorry about your down and out but all in your own time man.
Cheers
 
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Prof Marvel
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


learn from history, or be doomed to repeat it


« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2017, 09:13:51 am »

My Dear Baily
God be with you and your family.
yhs
prof marvel
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2017, 09:18:29 am »

A very small bit of progress: I cut the top off of the gourd and have begun shaping the hole.
 
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
I used the electric sabersaw (top of photo) to do most of the major cutting, and the dagger-tipped japanese razor saw (resting on top of the gourd) for final severing of the top and for the first post-cut shaping of the drumtop opening.


Spoiler (click to show/hide)
What a lot of seeds! If only I had permission to plant them (Well, I think it's too late now to do so, but still)...


Spoiler (click to show/hide)
A shot of 2 things in one photo:
1. A slightly-better-shaped hole, and
2. What happens when you underestimate your own cutting speed with a razor saw Embarrassed (Blood for the Banjo God!*).


I plan to finish cleaning out the interior in a few days. I also plan to change the !@#$ date on the !@#$%^& camera...
_______________________________________________________________
* For you, Xenos. Wherever you are...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 09:23:39 am by MWBailey » Logged
J. Wilhelm
╬ Admiral und Luftschiffengel ╬
Board Moderator
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United States United States


Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple


WWW
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2017, 09:29:56 am »

Oouch, ouch, ouch, ouch! I've done that myself with a similar (actually a bigger and folding camping) razor blade. Deepest cut I ever made into the side of my finger through the nail too! Months after it healed, it would hurt if I pressed hard on the fingertip. Sacrifice indeed.
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SeVeNeVeS
Immortal
**
England England



« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2017, 09:35:37 am »

Good to see progress, (take your time, I have read the personal issues going on and wish yourself and family all the best)

The seeds could be usable, I have sucessfully germinated dried chilli and pepper seeds almost a year old.

You gotta bleed for your passion  Wink
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2017, 08:11:32 pm »

Finally got the inside of the gourd cleaned out, roughly:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Used a resin-and-grit-coated wire brush thingamabob on my old B&D reversible variable speed drill (thing's been around since the late 1980s)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Taking a sneeze break (yeah, I'm wearing goggles and a mask (the dust is supposedly toxic), but still...).

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
No! Don't throw it away! Never give up-!
(actually, just dumping out the accumulated scrapings and loosened dried crud)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
(Left)*Sigh* Another mess to clean up! (Right) Still Life with Banjo Gourd and Broom. Not exactly an Old Masters', but hey....

Now I need to finish it up inside by sanding it out, and staining, perhaps even varnishing it(?). Supposedly, varnishing or lacquering/shellacking the inside gives it a crisper sound. Not sure I believe that, but you never know...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 08:19:26 pm by MWBailey » Logged
Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Australia Australia



« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2017, 11:11:51 pm »

MW, good job, so far. Staining, etc., might strengthen the inside.
 
I had given some of the timber parts on the 'Strummando' I was building (diatonic scale - cross between a Strumbly and teardrop mandolin shaped travelling guitar) - I put on a single coat of varnish (originally a travelling guitar kit) before deciding to use the other sides of the veneer as the soundbox outside. The soundbox is sitka spruce, and the sides cherrywood.

I'm told it's not recommended to varnish the insides of a resonating instrument such as a guitar, banjo etc., so I sanded the surfaces to try & remove what I could. The side of the soundbox had to be done, too. The varnish had been absorbed into the wood, as you would expect with dry wood, so probably all I did was make the inside very smooth (smooth surface, smooth sound, yes?). After building the instrument I found that it has a beautiful, mellow tone, different from my other builds, but smooth as butter!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 11:23:42 pm by Banfili » Logged
MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2017, 06:45:43 am »

MW, good job, so far. Staining, etc., might strengthen the inside.
 
I had given some of the timber parts on the 'Strummando' I was building (diatonic scale - cross between a Strumbly and teardrop mandolin shaped travelling guitar) - I put on a single coat of varnish (originally a travelling guitar kit) before deciding to use the other sides of the veneer as the soundbox outside. The soundbox is sitka spruce, and the sides cherrywood.

I'm told it's not recommended to varnish the insides of a resonating instrument such as a guitar, banjo etc., so I sanded the surfaces to try & remove what I could. The side of the soundbox had to be done, too. The varnish had been absorbed into the wood, as you would expect with dry wood, so probably all I did was make the inside very smooth (smooth surface, smooth sound, yes?). After building the instrument I found that it has a beautiful, mellow tone, different from my other builds, but smooth as butter!



That's good to know; I was wondering if my usual all-in-one leather finish would work (most of the tutorials and websites I've perused have recommended leather dye as a staining/finishing medium for gourd vessels and instrument parts). Thanks!
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Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Australia Australia



« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2017, 06:47:48 am »

You could experiment with the leather stuff on another gourd - grab a butternut from somewhere, gut it, dry it and see if the leather finish stands up!

And, as for your injured thumb, I will carry the scar from my Dremel clone mini circular saw blade for a very long time - all it takes is one little slip, and the blood flows!
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2017, 07:55:38 am »

Not a lot of progress, but I did get the initial roughing-out of the neck (minus perchpole) done Yesterday (Monday) afternoon:
The whole blocky thing. Doesn't look  like much right now, eh?
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

A closer look at the pegbox-and-scroll end.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

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