CUSTOM INSTRUMENT
Dr. Anne D.V.M's
"THE CHI CHI"

Commissioned 2014


 
1920s Weymann 225 Banjo Uke
15" scale
7" head
Will be setup as Melody banjo
 GDAE (Mandolin)

THEME - LONG HAIRED CHIHUAHUA'S !
It's OK, I have done Dog Banjos in the past, no animals will be hurt in the process :)







Weymann 225 with long scale is well known as a powerhouse uke.
Dr.Anne decided she wanted me to make her one into a GDAE Melody Banjo and then we decided to gussy it up with a nice custom theme.
Since she rescues Pits, and I already did a Pit Bull banjo for Cap'n Mike Moe that is on my Customs Page, we decided to do one on the Chi-Chis, her other Passion
I will be using Ron Raymer for my artwork and engraving, he has made me look like something special for quite a few years.
ACME plating will be in charge of the Bright work, they do top notch plating.
I will do the paintwork and fretboard and setup as well as sharing the load with Ron, on thinking up the theme.

ARRIVAL PICS


The Uke is in VG condition with all its parts
The tension hoop will get a little engraving and the metal will all be Gold plated.
I will make a nice back plate for it so it gets some more artwork.



Before it gets to the Chi-Chis, My Boston will serve as a backdrop.




Just another nite on the Job for Domino.





Next to a full sized Weymann that's in for some work

Dis-assembly






I will reduce the thickness of the peg head s o that modern geared tuners will fit properly
After the reduction I will veneer over the back of peg head and end with a back strap
This will provide contrast for a painting on the peg head reverse


A few delaminations to seal, nothing at all major wrong with rim


NECK


I plan a new overlay  , with an inset of white celluloid that Matches the profile that can be engraved and painted.
Then I plan for full width white Celluloid blocks where there dots and also blocks at 1 and 3
This will give me an engravable area so that Ron can do his thing and we can make the Dogs and other Designs have a sharp color.
 As an example of engraved/painted celluoids would be the "Bob Wren" or "The Captain" that is on my Customs Page

You have to envision only engraved blocks at the markers, not the complete board as the Wren shows.
The paintings will be akin to Cap'n Mikes Dogjo on my Customs Page
The peg head reverse, the neck heel... the resonator back and the areas between the shoe sets will have artwork.
Let's get started Doc!



Rim stripped and I added dye to give the effect of having a veneered bottom.




Mohawk and some Trans Tint
I have decided that a Bordeaux and a Gold theme will be elegant


After tint and a few coats, it will soon be ready for art.
I will stop after one more clear coat to let it cure
I'll do the same to the neck after I customize the fingerboard
Then I will get it back and add more clear to protect said Art.
I will strip and polish the tension hoop myself to prep it for Ron's etching's
There is not enough tone ring skirt showing to warrant graving.
The rest will go to ACME for plating and Ron can send over the hoop to them to complete the order.


Some pics of the "Perps"!
Dr.Anne gave me some shots for Ron to give a look at, we want to get these actual dogs sized down and onto the theme.
We can get a few more if Ron needs them, and we can also use links on the net if the Doc has some pics she wants to look at




















I'm wondering what we want on the Back plate.
I can see this, but in full blown whitewater and a crazed look on both of the faces!
I'm just not getting the "Thrill of the ride" here! LOL
We will let the Doc think on the back plate and Ron can offer assistance now that he can see my next crazy idea.

NECK WORK

White Celluloid - Axiom


Removing half the block to make a platform for white celluloid



Cutting Blocks


This is the method of reducing the blocks






Moving down the neck
Domino keeping watch, while he isn't napping


Wet sanding




After re slotting and polishing board





Adding the finish










PEG HEAD INSERT


Using a pattern from the late Dale Small.
This is his personal box of templates
 I will modify one to suit this peg head



Will cut from the .040" white


Fret saw is the tool for the cut-out


Smoothing up


Scribing the periphery


Cavity routed


Smoothed and outlined


Ready for Mr Raymer's fine handiwork



BACK PLATE


I'll use a 1/8 Spruce for the plate
The center of this board has the best straight grain


Ready to seal the grain



Shellac for that step


Now for the outside, bored and chamfered and countersunk for 8 mounting screws


Inside tint, now for a clear coat



Outside tint, 4 coats clear, ready for Mr Ron to take over from here.



The edge is darker than the heat lamp and flash allow you to see.
It is boxed up and headed to Missouri to see Mr. Ron Raymer.
The plating was also sent out to ACME plating for some bright work.



Grabbing some online art




 
Sketches

  Preliminary thoughts by Ron and I
Nothing set in stone here, just a few ideas and from them will spring forth another fine creation.


All this is just superimposed on for looking
We are thinking some in caricature style and some that are more realistic

A few things I have already decided upon.



I chose the full bodied dogs, not just the heads for the rim


And the running dogs on the tension hoop, with some scroll work




And some form of "Mexican Scroll work" around  this back plate scene



I went with this for the back scene, of course it will have more busi-ness around it when completed

And


Some more caricature Art by Ron
What we will do more or less, on the Artwork.
I leave alot to Ron's own hand, it has never failed me yet.


These will be engraved and painted markers, and they will really stand out.





I like to have art on the heel sides and we will have something in this fashion, very colorful'
 
 ON THE PEG HEAD


This will be the general theme I envisioned..., and I will ask that Ron cram in as much beauty into it as he sees prudent!!



TENSION HOOP

Ron Raymer


  R.R. got the theme done and it was just as I wanted
1 Face at the front....full bodies, and some Mexican scrolls








MUY BUENO!

Now off to ACME Plating it goes, for some Nickel/Gold Plating
By the time that is done and returned, I'm sure Ron will have the woodwork gussied up and ready for  some clear coats


Carving - Painting

Ron Raymer
www.raymerstudio.com

Once again. Ron has done a fabulous job coming up with themes to meet my visions.
It takes alot of hours to get the sketches made up and transfer the ideas to the wood.
I will just let the pics run, they are in no need of wordage.
The one thing I will add is that these are not clear coated, I will do that here.
And when the clear hits it, they will POP.



































All on a 7" rim Banjo Uke!
I cannot wait to get it here for completion
ACME Plating  has the plating all ready so it should come right together.

Plating and Artwork arrive same day... Sweet
Pictures will not tell the tale, its over the top good on all accounts
Thanks to ACME and the Ron Raymer for making this happen


Now to protect it with Clear coats.
The wood  that is


Fiebigs to get it dark up to the piecework


Only the celluloid's will get protective clear the wood will remain natural
It gets taped between each coat


A few more coats to go, its starting to really make the color pop.


All 4 of the colors of tint served me well, this is what Id hoped for when it got clear coats
Ron blended the theme perfectly, couldn't be more pleased.
Back carving easily seen here, but you cannot see it around the animals except in person


This is a good view for size reference, it will be  a cute little anklebiter


Clear coats completed, will assemble rim first


The Gold and the Burgundy are elegant together
Its from my Motorcycle loves, this one being the 1974 Honda Gold Wing Ltd.
You can see the relief carvings in this image




The relief carving around all of the animals is not visible in pics, it is much more defined than the camera can show




Label added
Small one says "Heel", so Ron knew what end was up.............Ironic, I'll leave it! :)


Finish completed
Fretted and ready to seal fretwires


I hid the Doc's init's under the neck hardware, just in case something ever happens to it.

Final Assembly






Torsion rod properly adjusted
You either love these or hate them, I love them, super high tech for the day, or today.




Head tweaked on in, nice and tight
Resonator standoffs are  drilled nylon acorn nuts, old Dale Small stuff.


This is the last of the Custom Bone inserted  ebony nut blanks from the Late Great Dale Small's estate.
I added some red veneers to the ends to cap it off.



Time for tuners



I opted for White Perloid, it goes well with my theme







TUNED MANDOLIN - GDAE
Here are some gauges I ended up with, that feel comfortable and not too slack
We are well within the range of comfortability, an a nice low action.
GHS Strings and Tuners  provided by www.bedfordbanjoshop.com



Up to pitch, playing well right out of the blocks, so ....we are definitely on the right track







ARMREST


I decided it needed something so I went with something simple in mind.
2 piece Gibson Style, made from Spruce ply


The sidewall will be special
That piece of wood is from the resonator of Lars Edergan's Bacon Silver Bell that was ruined in his New Orleans home during Hurricane Katrina.
I saved the banjo and put a new resonator back in it, but saved the relic for posterity.
I have used this in other places that needed prebent wood.
Lars is a Tenor Banjoist and has played every venue in that town I think.



All glued up and sanded to profile
I have a gold plated backplate and screw.
Now for some black dye and some clear coats

Also, I will reduce the bottomside of sidewall  by half to show more of the uke





That' s nice and not overstated
I made a deco plate for the front in polished brass.
It will serve as reinforcement as well as look nice
 I have sprayed it with clear to give it the gold look and keep it from oxidizing

I ran it over the tailpiece because this is comfortable when playing in a normal fashion
Many a Ludwig Wendall Hall uses the same idea, its armrest spans the tailpiece.


Will will stop there and ask the Doc "Leave it plain, or send it up to Raymer for a Lil more art or a name"



Until then...
some tweaking and settling in time, and then it will be ready to head up to the Doc, to see if she passes muster.
  15" scale Weymann's do have the Moxie to become Melody Banjos as well as Killer Concert Ukes


Gig Bag courtesy of my Son in Law Kenny
He was right, it did come in handy.
Domino will stand guard on it, whilst we ponder!

MORE TO COME