Tim C's
's Epiphone B

Banjo was purchased in this state of partial repair.
Has been replated in the past and that plating is now worn as well.
Many Epi's came with Oettinger tailpiece and this is an early "pat pend" version
Neck has some  back bow in it and when under some tension pulls flat so it will not need a truss or anything such as that.
Frets were redone as well, and a decent job, I will go thru them and make sure its all OK after i heat press this back bow.

Resonator was already stripped and a repair started on a bad spot.

The repair veneer was furnished by the repairman , nice cut to fit rosewood

I will glue it in and then go thru a tint process to shade it slowly and get a close match.

Rim is VG except for one veneer bubble on the inside, I will pop it and glue in back flat, refinish the rim.
Old thick original varnish on these hide all the true beauty of a Rosewood.
If they are not  and all original museum quality, they get refinished here at the Haven..

Tone system all intact, looks like it will be normal inside

No heel cracks all orig hardware  except one hook set


Working on resonator first

Blocked flat and ready to begin tinting

This is dye and acetone and will come and go as I fade, add clear, add color, scuff... etc.
It is a "process".

A little clear to see what actual color will be, and then more scuff and tint

Taking all the old varnish from the marquetry, also something that needs to be seen again.

Patch is getting closer, there is some air brush over spray now, that will be blocked off.

Cleaning the sides.

Clean and brown dye for top lip

Fresh clear coat over it all

Out side taking clear with other projects

getting harder to see repair now, there is still dye and acetone applications between clear coats.
I sandwich the colors together so the eye gets faked out as best I can.

Hard to see at this distance

Close up still shows it
 A couple more daubs and that will be fine for a standard repair.
Then clear coats one out.
Lacquer is Mohawk Classic Instrument Lacquer


heel is all proper, no mods.
Shim at the bottom is to reduce action, another good thing.
This means it can take plenty of bridge or standard 1/2"

My fave tone system for Epi.
I prefer the precision cast base over the individual stanchions.

They were never perfect on early models and sometimes you see this, there is a thin maple shim in the gap to make the rim skirt tight.
On early production banjos there is always some that are within specs that need this or that.
All makes, all models, they are not perfect.

There is the blister I am about to pop and make well again
Glue release and laminate shrinkage, sometimes after 70+ yrs you get a pimple :)
Will remove old varnish first

The rest will remove with acetone

The one dot left is where the glue needle was inserted, I will finish that off with a little rosewood dust and be done inside.

Now for the bottom and outside  lathed area that is also full of old varnish
This needs to all come out and start afresh

Lag holes will be doweled and  drilled so as to be tight again.

Tuners will be cleaned and lubed

I will use a little blue dye to accent the one faded area on marquetry.

The neck finish will be next.

I have exact repro stickers for these .

It is either that, or scrape right to the edges and leave the original with worn look
I usually do not unless the banjo like I say, is worthy of keeping 100 percent original and this is a players instrument, not a time capsule.

All the peghead will be stripped, dyed, refinished
nut will be cut to GDAE string gauges


I will be heating the back bow next, it can be seen here.
Under tension this pulls up flat but a little too flat, so I need just a hair of spring back to give a tad of relief.
It is a super slick low action and will be great for another 100 yrs or so.
Trust me, id rather work a back bow than forward pull any day of the week!

The previous repair man did a good job fretting and left the small divots that will be not a factor in playing properly.
Pulling all inlay and frets to level is not really cost effective but can be done
graved lines are still present and inlay will be blacked in, frets will be dressed and polished after the heat press

Starting the finish removal
Binding is good, replaced on last fret job.

Re-dye of pear wood

Time to chem strip the carvings, acetone it all and start with sealer

Fixing the detail on the marquetry, blue first

reddish brown

New finish going on after sealing the wood
Adding the new Epi label will be next.

Glued down, ready to seal

Sealed and ready to outline periphery with a fine line of black to hide the edge


Top edge dyed black.

Makers mark

Resonator wet sanded 400-2000#

Machine buff

2 more neck coats and then I can work on the setup

Noticed a high inlay, pulled to reset. all inlay will be sealed

Laskin's jeweler's wax for the lines that are left.


Checking the tuners, adding a little lube.
These are not, and never will be smooth like a Planetary tuner.
They are sturdy but "clunky"

making some bushings to tighten the rim holes that are augered out
Some Brass over aluminum is giving me the size I want

This will take the old slop out.

ready to string up

I will set up on the temp head, the cloudy REMO will soon arrive
This way I can work the setup, check the frets/action, etc.

REMO head 11" medium crown
Strings are GHS
 Furnished by www.bedfordbanjoshop.com

The neck is very stiff and straight so I will not mess around here
42-32-22 bronze wound 15 Steel
It could take this as normal setup, under tension neck is about perfect.
A 14 may be a little more comfortable but I want this neck to be under a goodly amount of strain.
It will never be a problem as far as any forward warp coming into it.

Good down force and action on 9/16 to 5/8 bridges
Super powerful Bass and clear treble.

I will tweak on the setup more after the new head comes.
So far I am very pleased at its look and performance now.