Silver Bell No 3

Initial Pics

VG original banjo

Looking at color differences on another original BD

And  one I an currently refinishing
The color of the Burl rules the outcome each time and you have to do what you can on matching the colors.
No concentric bindings on this resonator as well, that must have only been used at certain times ,I've seen it on 3's before.


mute has extra lock nuts

You cannot fake patina like that

Grover Deluxe with engraving, all working well
A few chips here and there on the tuner buttons

Getting everything ready to head to Nashville plating service

A smorgasbord of Bacon!


board is taped off so that no breakage occurs, fretboard is very dry

All out OK

This is why you use tape.
If you do have a loose chip, it sticks to the tape and the tape gives it "memory" so you can put down some glue and place it right back into the divot and allow it to dry

Fretting with Stew Mac 147 wire

Under the dark finish is some nice flamed maple

I will not dye this as dark as the old color so that the wood shows thru.
It's sealed and ready for dye.

Stripping the Varnish

Nice and thick, it will take 2 strippings.
It takes alot of finish on Birdseye, even with sealer

Stripping complete
Wonderful birdseye, but no fun to refinish, it loves to drink in lacquer.
I will talk to DK about a color for the tint.
The plating is here so I will be building the rim assembly soon

Mission brown with a tad of Vintage Maple for the color

Tint coats complete, ready for clear

Resonator first coat sealer , Rim tinted
All the snowflakes must be individually cleaned of the dark finish

Stripping the neck

Sweat stains are deep on both sides and the center, I will see what I can remove by bleaching and light sanding,


I have it looking more like figured grain now, I will stop here and let the tint take over

Same over here

Cleaning the snowflakes

Showing how brown the tint is on the test stick versus the actual maple
The neck is a highly yellowed maple by nature while the resonator is a reddish burl.
Using the same cup of color tint on both pieces you still see a contrast, that is the nature of the woods, not the tints.

All taking on clear Mohawk

In between coats after block sanding you can see where the birdseye takes in more finish than the hardwood and these, I drop fill with lacquer on the deep ones and eventually you will catch up to it.
Birdseye is the most labor intensive of all the wood due to sporadic porosity from the nature of the wood itself


The plating from NASHVILLE PLATING SERVICE is excellent once again, Mr. Ron Satterfield is very conscientious when it comes to old metal and the proper prep work thereof.
Many a plater I've used in the past could take a lesson or three from Ron.
And these Roaring 20s banjos put Ron out of his comfort zone (GIBSON'S!) just a a bit but he came thru with shining colors (pun intended)
Thank you Ron, for adding your work to this project.

Neck ready to level frets and polish

Only the crowning pic came thru...sorry

Buffing the finish

Board sealed and polished, all waxed up and ready to install

A note on MOP buttons..
The center one is one I have began to buff on my wheel.
There is alot of old sweat and dead MOP on the surface of them that when removed, makes them as new, appearance wise

And when placed on the finest vintage Engraved Grover Deluxe 2 band 4:1 tuner with the NPS plating ........then you have it as it was in its Glory Day

That is what I am talking about!

When installing the mute actuating arm...... once again the tip snaps off of one of them....
They are weak from age and have been actuated many times and this just occurs where the 2 nuts jam it to the actuator lever.
I have maybe 10 in a drawer that this one would have lived in but, Ill be sending it as the original and I quick fabbed one so the mute could actuate and this banjo could have its original but broken piece.
It is just plain soft brass.

Ready to continue forth with the setup

Another small glitch is that the resonator attaching lugs came loose with no pressure at all, the solder was weak and maybe the plating process weakened it even more,  I'm not sure, but the only one that was strong is the one I resoldered before it left for plating, that is the shiny one which I warmed up to remove.
I will now have to drill the rim for threaded collars and make the bolts shorter.
Any attempt to resolder now will affect the plating so wh have to change gears.

Collars embedded into rim

Bolts shortened with nylon washer

Strung up on GHS 030-024-014-010
Original Bacon Bridge gives ample downforce, good action with bright perky tone


I have enjoyed working on such a nice example and once again I thank Derek for the opportunity to work with him and I will get to see him in AZ and deliver it in person which is extra nice.
It will be a nice addition to his Banjoworld!
I will let it setttle in and do final adjustments .
Thanks for watching,

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