John Clancy
Epiphone B Tenor

Work is back online after the move, in my new shop in Austin

Some cracking in bottom trim and on heel cap.

Makers mark

These are the roughest of all early tuners because of the straight cut gears.
I will disassemble them for greasing

They are in good shape, just dry.

If another tuner is chosen, the holes can be filled and the mounting areas smoothed and hidden in the refinish

Typical 1st design rim with heavy flange and arch ring sat atop of a cast base plate

Oxidation all over to be removed

Ready to pull flange
It is in a recess in the same fashion of a piston ring and will be removed in like fashion

You have to pull out and over while pushing the back of it to free from the slot without gouging the wood.

removing frets

All this dried wood will be sealed in the process.
This banjo was in a very dry clime for many years.
I see banjos from the desert and from up north where the heaters keep them dry all winter end up like this.

All pulled, all inlays and slots sealed

Stripping many coats of old varnish

Hole in center filled, fresh clear going on now.

Wet sanding between every 2 coats

After all of the degraded plating was removed by sanding from 80# all the way to 600, then machine buffing.
Nikolas Special gold colored lacquer was applied. 3 coats
Rim finish complete ready to assemble.

Oil Dye for the top edge to give contrast in case a clear head is ran, it looks nicer to me.

Ready for a head.

After finding nicer hooks and cleaning them I added the Nikolas to shine them some more.

Remo Renaissance head from

Nikolas for the tuners and small parts

Ready to tension

  A few more coats for the resonator, it will be done by the time my fretwork is completed.


All binding is degraded and must be replaced

Finish stripped
Old Logo was degraded as well as covered in several old refinishes.
There is no way to take off the finish without ruining the logo.
But I have a good friend in Japan that has some made for us, very nice for these situations.

Installed and ready for finish

Re-sawing the slots for modern wire

Installing the new binding

Ready for frets, Stew Mac 147 wire

Sealing them and the top edge of the binding with #10

After cleaning and steel wool.
ready for markers, Epi used 3/32"

Ready for clear coats

All clear coats applied, ready to assemble

Leveling frets

Recrowning-end dressing, wheel polish and steel wool

Last oiling

Ready to set up

New tailpiece is a Repro Oettinger I got for it, in the brass.
Nikolas Lacquer has been applied/
Epis used Oettie's so its not a bad choice and it is the most adjustable.


I have it on 40-30-20 wound, and a 13 steel for the initial setup
Very flat neck plane with a steep angle so it runs a very high bridge.
Usually you worry about not enough angle, not with this banjo.
That is 21/32 " bridge
Now to fabricate an armrest in brass that will work on this rim style.
Resonator to be wet sanded to 1200# and buffed  

New Felt and hardware back on

I will use what I have on hand to fabricate an armrest.
A piece of bezel that is the proper diameter, cut to a 120 degree length.

It will cover this area

Soldering tabs to mount with

Soldering 2 threaded  lugs to two hooks.
I will buff the brass, Lacquer it and install.
At least it will give a rest for arm comfort.

Final pics

This has been a fun Epi for me, with the First design being my personal favorite.
I hope it goes over across the Big Ocean to make merriment in a manner that is befitting of such a fine axe.
Now for some final tweaking and off she will head to John .


Thanks for watching