Neck-, Custom, Maple Construction, BD style
and truss in the heel.
Ebony fingerboard and peghead overlay/heel cap
Carved heel and paintwork by Ron Raymer
Inlay by Dave Nichols, Custom Pearl Inlay
500 yr old Maple Rim (Old Growth Maple) BD configuration 24 bracket
JLS-12 20 hole Flathead tonering
Gold /Nickel /Chrome plated hardware
Custom Carved Maple Resonator Back-
BDSilver Bell Style, custom flange cutouts,engraved tension
and Neck carving .............by Ron Raymer
Barb plays very well herself, and keep this old Dinosaur in line when he tries to veer into a Tar pit.
He has always liked the beautiful design of the Carousel,
intricacies that are from the period when nothing was left to
Of course, I'm much too young to remember them :)
I have given our wishes over to Dave Nichols, Inlay Guru ,Custom Pearl Inlay, and Dave is old enough to remember when mules pulled a wheel that ran the coasters so we can depend on him to make something we will "WOW"
Deciding on Backplate.carved or uncarved
Hidden truss, as with OME
Grab that brass ring Boy!
Complete with Wooden braced Roller Coaster!!!
Coaster will be level when banjo is in playing position
How cool is that?
Dave tells me the neck inlay theme is going with the thought of an amusement park in the eyes of a child
Once I put the fret wire in, it will look really cool.
I like the lion breaking out of bondage!
We will get some more looks soon, the resonator has been sent to Ron Raymer for more artistry.
Ron has sketched some drafts for us to look
The pie sections will be separate stain patterns and the Scroll in the periphery will be painted in a multi color design, it is only highlited in red for detail viewing
The relief heel carving will also have some scroll work and
Once again, they folks up there in Malone N,Y at Custom Pearl Inlay
have outdone themselves.
The following pics do little justice to the actual work, Im telling you that right now
The colors in the pearl are vibrant, the mammoth ivory is creamy and I just love the theme of all of the Animals and figurines on the carousel breaking free and running/flying away.
When the fret wire gets in there it will break the pattern up properly.
This will be another of my banjos that...if the player cannot use side dots or no markers at all, then they will be lost in the Amusement Park forever.
Get ready to use that hidden talent Reed, I know you got it!
No backstrapping it will be carved by Mr Raymer next.
I was able to almost capture the pink lip pearl fingernails set in fossilized Mammoth ivory, and I did get the Brass ring!
Once again, prepare to be WOWED...
It's just grand isn't
Ron will finish the fine cutting on the piercing's and then we will move ahead
The tension hoop will also be engraved, pics to follow
The metal will go for gold plating up at Poirier's and I will stain the wood and protect that with some clear then it back to Ron for detail painting and back to me for more finish and then on to the end.
The wood is back in from Ron, for tinting and protective clear,
I have a plan thats been evolving and I will just let it play out in front of your eyes.
I'll get some fret in, this will be an epoxy job, not compression fretted.
Dave Nichols is an expert on that method and gave his method of doing it which I will employ.
That's some kind of fine work, Thanks Ron.
Shaded on the edge with a custom color, to a bright amber center
2 coats of sealer
Neck shading complete, I'll get the overspray off first.
Bindings and overlays cleaned, taking on 4 more coats of clear next
This will give Mr Raymer a good base to do his painting magic upon.
Ok, we picked up a little sawdust off the
top of the
wax can.......and will use both.
Dave has slotted the board so that no compression method is used, only epoxy to fret tang to slot wall retention.
You have no risk of damaging this fine work by too tight of a fret slot and a compression tool cracking something that is best left beautiful.
This also aids in fret removal later on when it is time to replace, they can be heated and pulled easily
When this is all done PROPERLY, you get a
fret and the rigidity of the epoxy makes the slot
/tang as one creating
a truss action in itself.
You MUST have a flat plane to begin with to end up with little or no leveling of the wires.
First I filled the fret slots with the sawdust, to keep the wax I am applying out of the slot so that it will not be invasive to the epoxy.
Epoxies are something I have spanned 2 careers with and I have used and sold almost every high performance, low yield....... Fast, slow, you name it and this will give me a HUGE edge being that this is the first time for me to use it in a full on fret job.
Wax is dried, and now I am blowing the slots out to clear the sawdust packing
We will use Stewmac .080, a nice midsize
to play on wire, with a good crown..
Preparation when using fast set epoxies is TANTAMOUNT.
My clamps have already been set where they need to be to clamp, and clamp fast.
The fret wire should ALWAYS be wiped with Acetone or Lacquer thinner, Alcohol..something to remove the machine oil residue that is left from the mfg process.
The oil is not conducive to adhesion and can greatly lessen your chance of success
I will be doing an "over the binding" job, so I use my tang cutter to relieve the tang
The desired result
This allows the fret to go it, while the crown still is intact and over the binding
Nice to have that little extra and it looks cool.
Im sizing quite a few so I will be ready to make a run at it
My pressing caul is covered in wax paper and that will retard epoxy that squishes from sticking to it.
I have sticky side up tape to retain the frets in order..right by the work area
Dave called for 10 minute set, but I have none and am used to 5 minute set so will use it not doing too many at once
It can ruin your day not knowing your product so here is what you do....
First........its smart to test your set time
How old is the product?. fresh in this case
5 minute set at.........whats your temp?
Im at 70 in the shop tonite.
After mixing 2 parts, its a solid mass in 5 minutes right on.
Now we know, you better be ready to "GIT IT"
And if its 95 degrees in your shop...fuggedaboudit..no way you could use 5 min set.
Now enuf mix for the 1st six wires, they are
together and my clamp and caul are just right for it
Now quickly........I mean it
Dredging the wire,getting a goodly amount and encapsulating fret tang.
Then one after the other...too fast to photo......... squishing them into the slots ad making sure they are wetted out well....then caul and clamp 6 wires.....3 min.
True time....4 min......... whats left is starting to kick.
Like I said, not for the faint of heart with
set....... but ok for the prepared mind (Thanks Dave), with
And after clamping 10 min, the "Squish" and residual leftovers can easily be removed with a razor.
Because you waxed that
Taking the ends down with my Grandpa's fret file, it is all
used for this operation since my first day in this business.
Steel wool taking off the remainder of residual epoxy
That is enough for now, until I go all the way up with fret wire and then I will meticulously clean and oil it ,then shoot 2 more coats of clear, and back to Ron for heel painting
Rounding the tips off
Moving on up
3 sequence started at the nut, to meet in the middle
Now........you can see the carousel on the end with all the poles and only 2 figures left on it....the others have broken free!!!
All frets crowned polished , fingerboard polished cleaned
I'll clean the bindings now, and shoot the last clear coats
After many long hours of me thinking what it would take to make this peghead design "Pop",..... Ron came up with some ideas and this is the one I have chosen to go with because I feel it is tasteful, goes well with the inlay and completes that particular part of my theme.
This is only a "Rough sketch" and not fully detailed
I'm pleased that it "rounds" out the geometry of the coaster.
After the clear gets on top and some detail of my own planning when the tuners are installed you will see the full picture.
More detailed sketch
This will be the final draft, before returning for
No words will be needed for this sequence
thanks to Ron Raymer
"And the crowd goes wild"..
Now if that doesn't move you in some fashion, call 911 STAT
Plating returns from Paul and Steve, looking
with a heavy gold plate, not shown well at all in this pic.
Thank you boys.
You can speak with them about plating at this email
500 year old Maple Rim
(Yes it was determined by experts)
Air dried 120 years as a gymnasium floor
I will be sending the flange and hoop to my
to get the rim made and then we will move ahead on the other
in from Ron while this all transpires.
Parts back from Ron, and I will protect this immediately with clear.
A night at the Amusement Park.........is in the making!
Some shots in natural light, sunny day
I have cut an armrest from brass stock and shaped the ends,
send it to Ron for engraving.
Thanks to Dale for this stock, it makes for a nice Silver Bell style armrest.
Mr. Raymer on task!
Now it is ready to mount hooks on, and I will do that when
hoop returns from FQMS
Then I will have it chrome plated.
Brass tubing with red epoxy inside, dried and ready to
Super glued in, and then a saw cut then a filing and its ready for finish
The holes that look white are just filled with shavings still.
It's a nice touch and easy to see.
ID#s for neck
Armrest back with fresh chrome
It was a difficult task to cut to profile even using one of the best lathes on the market , and the drilling was just as difficult.
I expect a powerful but controllable tone with he tone ring selection that goes with this rim.
The small dark spot you see is a nail hole, where the floor was nailed in its life and this is part of the patina and history of this rim, not a defect.
It will hide under its washer just fine
The flange fits perfectly, nice and snug
The tone ring is cast, and is in the shop being turned to specs and plated
First, the bottom stain
Then serial #s on the top which will be hidden by the tone ring, and the Vintage Amber to match the rest of the build.
Ready for sealer
Sealed and first clear coat
Next to a real BD6 rim you can see a substantial size
think the density of this rim warrants that.
Its a bit taller too, because my resonator is a bit deeper.
A little thicker in wall dia. as well.
Taking on clear and waiting on tone ring to arrive
Lets mock it up while we wait, just for a look.
Now when the new Prototype tone ring arrives and the Chromed Anchor shoes I can get the first assembly so I can obtain my neck set
Nickel JLS 12 Tone ring has a super snug fit, no problems there.
Nickel Anchor shoes and screws, Gold washers
Renaissance head chosen for this setup.
Tension hooks are my test hooks, the actual hooksets will have a Bacon style nut
Head at full tension, nice tone , big tone.....while doing tap tuning.
Measuring the dimensions for setting coordinator rods, and just looking at a few mock up pics to see how it all looks together.
Gotoh tuners, small shaft with Spanner nuts , and I removed the Perloid and added Amber buttons.
Thats a match.
Getting ready to mount the armrest, Soldering hooks
With the Oettinger, I can get the best adjustability.
If Bill wants an engraved up version, or some other choice I will change it out, this will be good for setup.
Now we are getting somewhere
Single co-rod setup, with bottom lag
Nice neckset, good clearance over the rim
I will try many bridges, starting with this Farquhar
Next to our Buddy Barry Grant's rim, coming up the line
Action is nice and low on 5/8" bridge so we are in the range I wished to be there.
The near Trujo depth
at 4-1/4 "is making some nice tones already with no real
tweaking, I feel
confident it will do the job now, and until you hear a
banjo, you do not
know what you have created.
They can fall anywhere in between great.....and " a Drum with a neck on it"
Chance favors the prepared mind however :)
I will let it settle in to see how the truss is set and how the neck performs and then it's back apart for final buffing, resonator mounting, etc. and then back together for final setup and fine tuning.
I am happy with the look overall, and the colors are nice and warm.
Only 2 small screws are needed, its already a snug fit.
MOP nut and Farquhar non inserted 5/8" is giving me the
I am looking for and this combo is FORMIDABLE.
I have heard alot of plectrum banjos, and made a few myself and this banjo is making some power and had a robust full deep tone.
I can say it is somewhat bigger than a Trujo in power but with that same big bass and treble.
I'm pleased as punch.
I'm ordering up an engraved Oettinger for it, Reed and I agree..."too plain"
So we ordered one in from Tanya at www.omebanjos.com, and she was swift it getting one out to us, thanks Tanya!
It goes well with the theme.
The nameplate is glued, not screwed to the resonator back and it has two rhinestones over the screw holes.
It is placed at the backside, and will set under the heel and there is a slight indent on the flange to line it up whenever someone wants to pull off the resonator.
You can see the indent here.