Hurricane Katrina Silverbell Workpages
PROJECT #1
Top 17283 rim / 17668 dowel
 

Serial numbers
Bottom 23271 Rim / 23271 dowel
VIEW IT HERE



 
 
 


(Purchased form Lars Edregan, New Orleans LA.)
Lars is the banjoist at the Preservation Hall as well and other venues.
He lost these 2 in the flood and I will show you the devastation



17283 rim


Resonator back completely missing, only the sidewall remains
A good view of the laminations on this and the rim bottom for reference purposes
 

The sidewall is in strips of maple
 


Each  one is numbered with a pencil
 
 

All glue joints are compromised
Inside veneer is rotted

17668 neck


Some inlay missing
 

Necks still in transit, this is an initial pic from Lars
May have backbow and other unseen damage, can't tell yet.


23271 Rim
 
 

Total submersion causes many issues, when it comes to saltwater
The wood is ruined, the hardware can be stripped and replated

heavy oxidation on this one


 
 

What is left of the back is a good reference for showing the cross laminated veneers in the construction
 

23271 Neck
 

Again, more severe damage on this banjo


New neck pics (Arrival)


 
 


 
 

They are about what I expected, they waterline is about halfway up one neck, 3/8 up the other
All glue washed out of the laminates.
Nothing I haven't seen before, many cellars up north flood as well.



RIM DISASSEMBLY- NECKWORK
17283 rim / 17668 dowel
LARS Project #1

Severe Saltwater damage, full delamination of veneer and rim laminates


Glueing down the lifting fingerboard areas


Resealing the delaminated heel


Heel cap rebuilt
I will leave some of the old water worn finish on this neck, and shade over it.
I call this "Katrina Patina" and feel some of its history so be left alone.
 


Replacing the missing fingerboard sections
 


New binding installed, missing inlays replaced ( non original shapes),  ready to fret


Adding the new colors onto the neck
All maple laminates were scraped back to natural to highlight the colors


 


Fretwork complete, and ready for side markers


I will add clearcoats, and prepare to reinstall the dowel
 


Ready to begin regluing the rim laminations


I mixed a thinned glue, and made some cauls to aid in the clamping, with one kerfed to go to the inside


Filling the joints


Using my adjustable clamps to work the glue in


And C clamps to squeeze for the cure, only about 5" at a time will I work.
 


Sealing it up nicely
The wetted wood glue allows the wood to soften and rebend quite well.
There will be nothing done about the swelling around the  anchor shoe washers, thats just more "Katrina Patina" now.

Moving on around the periphery
When completed, a new bottom side laminate will be added on.
 


Dowel was warped, so I am heating and clamping it to pull it back around,


All glueing completed, and rough sanded


Adding some bottom side veneer
Oddly enough, these are scraps from the cellar Dale Small which also had flooded in the past, and this was too warped to use as large pieces so from one flood to another, it goes.


ready to stain dark walnut


Standard BD color going onto the rim


Ready for clear


Auguring out the glue residue from the tenon hole, with my Forstner.


reset, ready to final finish


Changed the rim # to match the dowel when old one got sanded out


Angle is good, ready to apply about 5 more clearcoats then build up the rim


Dowel cured, large hardware final buffed and waxed.
No replating will be done, and no fancy finish for this old "Battle Axe"
5 coats of clear on the rim and neck
It will be a players banjo !!

I decided to add a little history that would always be with it.
A helter skelter time it was, and the lettering was skewed a bit to go with the wave effect.
 


Half the hardware machine buffed, with the threads wire brushed


ready for  head, I will choose clear to show off its "survivor" brand.


Good neck angle, ready to add some tuners and tailpiece



SETUP


  Grover "Pancake" tuners, ivoroid buttons
Neck finish was 0000 steel wooled, then polished to make a more satin effect


Setup on 9/16, the banjo already has what I consider the "top end of the scale"  tone, for BD Silverbell configuration.
Its light and airy, and full of clear tonal note separation up and down so yes, it sounds like a high end banjo, not a "Drum with a neck attached"!
Great action , easy to play up and own the neck
Thats a big plus, the Banjo Gods looked favorably on this project so far..

Now the resonator is a project of its own, and will be in process while I work on the other neck and rim


Removed the left over sidewall from the old back
 
 
 


 


I had a couple of old back plates here that were experimental , and odd sized so I have decided to cut both of them down so I will have backs for both Bells.
They are happy to down size and finally be used on something else, and it will save me $$ .


After I have 90 percent of the overburden removed from the sides and beginning the taper
I am doing  on a belt sander , what was done on a lathe originally so it is a slow process
 


Deep enough to now add the binding

Bound and final sanded, ready to stain
 


Inside will get 2 coats of clear, I like it thin on the inside


Bindings final scraped, and back is taking on clear after tint, and edge fade.



Final pics


I chose to run the stripes vertical, with the straight grained neck
6 coats of clear, and some steel wool and a light buffing
Again, this is a player, not some super fine finish
 


Farquhar bridge will stay, I like the tone its giving


 

Fabricating an armrest


I will use some brass stock similar to the original
This one was already cut out and was going to go onto a tension hoop with screws but I will make it the hook attachment style


Positioning the hooks to work as functional hooks and armrest attachments

Ready for engraving or just plating

She is ready to make music once again and she will be looking for a new home
A good banjo, brought back from the brink of death, a labor of love and proof that persistence beats patience any day of the week.
Not to mention a tone that will hold it own with the rest of the best.
Thanks for watching,
Vinnie



Addendenum
I spoke with Lars Edegran all thru this process and he decided to have it back once again, so I mailed it out to him a week ago for testing and here is the report
 

Vinnie,
I played the Katrina banjo this morning again at a funeral for one of our premier Creole plasterers, Mr. Earl A. Barthe. My friend Seva Venet (local guitarist) played his recently aquired (on Ebay) vintage  Gibson L-7 as well. Great instrument.
Now I'm quite happy that I got enough guitars (3) and banjos (3) and tenor guitars (also 3) to hold me for a while. My Vega Artist is really nice (and beautiful) but I think the B&D got the edge on it.
Lars

So this made me feel like it was all worthwhile and it's back home again and making music in the "Big Easy"



Go to this link to view the other restoration

Home      Tenor Banjos  Plectrum Banjos      5 string banjos    6 string and other  Tenor Guitars     Banjo ukes     Banjolins     Restorations