John B's Bacon Serenader Silver Bell

Late model, Archtop Rim

Initial Pics

Very slim at the nut, Ill have to get creative with frets and binding

Just thin all the way down

Breakouts from last fret work, but neck is pretty straight.
Will get leveled and fretted, new binding and dots

Flange has poor fit, but rim is drilled and has threaded inserts, thats a plus.

And it had a mute, that is a Gretsch mute shoe and you see the rod hole.
Celluloid was peeled or  forgone, and some paint applied.

All the break outs around the flange must be repaired, and I will also look to see if I have a better one.
As much as you all love that Metal-flake, it will have to go!

This would need to be brazed back up and its thin and pesky.

All the way around, these are the last of the flanges they made and are thinner.

Celluloid was peeled or never used, this will finish up OK.

Richelieu Repro Ottie, all orig screws.

Now......whats is under this black
Usually its a broken peghead right at the neck...

Ho-lee Walnut Batman, its not broken at all!
Some holes to fill from tuner crews, but not a thing wrong with it
That's a first...

That is no crack in the side, that is the end of the ear wood,

Huh....well that is a PLUS!

Someone had a pickup installed, dowel is hacked on and braced

Normal Hardware here

I can piece in on the top, its still glued in well and at a good angle, thats a plus,

Heated off Bob's sticker so I could put it back on later :)

Another plus, it has the older heavy archtop ring, that means no cracks, and it will actually make big tone.
Massive head bearing , bigger than Prewar Gibson

Well that is promising, the rim should pull back together nicely

That hole alone, shows they cared little about tenor banjos by this time, in this company.

OK, its not a lost cause, but its no Silk Purse.
Maybe Leather :)

Frets pulled.
No need to worry about taping off, the last guy shattered ever slot so I will rebuild them after board level

I have done quite a bit of leveling here, still some low blocks.
Will stop here, re-cut slots, and put in teflon dams so I can rebuild the edges.
This Teflon is made exactly .024" which is fret tang width.

You can see how bad the slots are at the edges, this comes from improper removal when you do a fret job.
You need to tape off each side to hold chipping to a minimum and make repair easier.

Slotted to depth, Teflon dams in, now will add #20 Black CA as needed.

Dams out, will level the glue down. Fixing one side break, holding a dam up while the CA kicks

Keeping slots clean while I do the minor fills

Wax paper is my release agent, I am filling those hollows, and after it kicks  I will level and see where I am

Still a slight hollow, and player wear down the side of the neck that needs leveling

All level and ready for binding - White

Bass side installed, profiling.
Note:  Neck is thin at the nut
I am leaving it full thickness at the top, so I can get the widest frets I can, by fretting over the binding

Finish stripped the res of the way

Compression frets to the heel, hammer in over the heel

Nipping the ends

Stopping here until I get a new batch of #10 CA in from stew-mac, to seal the wires


Filling the drill holes, gluing as needed

Fabricated a "Dutchman" for the missing block.

A Dutchman is a wood patch or filler which replaces a damaged or missing area of any wood object.
The procedure involves removing a symmetrical, squared area around the defect and replacing it with new wood. It is best to use wood of the same species, grain pattern and color as the original.
I do not care about grain matching, I'll be painting over with Gold Metallic

Removing what craft workers call "Glitter", and what Body shop men like myself call "Metal flake"
This is not like new safe glitter, which is "Plastic flake"
In the old days we had to be extremely careful not to let this catch wind and blow into your eyes, it will cut your eyeball like a razor.
Dry stripping will work with whatever glue they used, lucky for me.

Care  when disposing is needed
You can see a vestige of the Medium Brown (Reddish) color still on the side of the lip.
That was the original color and that is what we will go back with.

Inside washed out with acetone

Taped off, shot a line of Reddish brown and topped it with black to emulate the original look
Gold metallic inside

Stripping the rim, you can also see the vestige of Reddish brown on flange lip
The celluloid would have been around the anchor shoe land, and a fade job would have come up onto it with the Reddish.

Makers mark #6, whatever it meant will be a mystery

Tone ring area was taped of to make it like orig, gold complete on inside

Bottom lip was celluloid covered, now dyed black and will smooth on out with clear
Back was shot in the same Reddish brown

The flange is problem-some.
The thin brass is broken around all of the screw ports

It is so thin, it cannot easily be repaired without fear of more "Blow out" from the torch.
I will seek another.

There was an issue concerning washers on the anchor shoe screws.

With washers, all of the screws were only catching 1-3 threads, they were made too short.

I removed them all and was able to get good shoe retention, they were not doing any good in this instance.
Now I need to find out what head John wants on it.

Frets all leveled crowned and polished, leveling went very well, it should be nice to play.
Ready for side markers, 2 more clear coats, and peghead detail.

New REMO head, furnished by, thanks Mike.

Adjusting the resonator stop and when I get it right I will seal it in place so it does not get moved, This keeps you from dishing the resonator.
Vega could have been better off with such an attachment.

After scuffing the old finish on the peghead, I will buff it, then paint the detail.
Putting clear over this old finish on the celluloid is not smart, it could craze so the buffing will have to suffice.

Buff to hi shine, not to detail paint it
 I use a Nitrocellulose, water thin, so that it gives the same translucency of the old stuff.
I have daubed some on the edge to show the color.

Neck height issues

With the factory neck set, the fingerboard is 1/16 lower than the plane of the arch ring, this will not fly
I will cut the rim and move the neck upwards

After the cuts, you can see the board is up now, moving on.

Changed tuners to period Elton pancakes

Since no flange was readily available I will re-use this one but make suggestions since it is broken on all 4 points and I do not want to spin it around and drill new holes.
That will not help its warpage.
This will work and I will continue to look for anther if JB wishes

I will put it on like this no back, so I can squeeze around on it and then really tighten the thumbscrews.
I can do all the setup with the back off and it will be fine as long as the flange is left alone.
If he wants in there, he can pull the 8 side screws and pull the back off that way.

All tight

Ready to set up
Back is just under the banjo to show the new look.

Final pics
Tuned to CGBD (Plectrum)
Slack head, bridge to allow 4-5/32" at 19
While I buff the resonator, I have it next to a very important Memorial to 9-11, left to me by my recently deceased friend Don Christian, who was a first responder and died with  WTC debris in his lungs. Certified by the WTC.
It is signed by many of the ladder, emergency, engine and rescue squads that also lost many men responding, and have lost many since to PTSD and WTC Dust.
God bless them all, and my family and I will be proud to display this and other memorabilia on my shop wall.
I love how the stars reflected in this Bacon banjo, so I used these pics in my process

After a little more settling in, this banjo can go home to JB and hopefully make some more music in its life, we have done our part to steward it to the next generations.
Thanks for watching