Bacon Silver Bell #4 Plectrum

Arrival 1/20/09


Looks like a seagull crapped in this one!

There is usually a number here, and sometimes the word "gold" as this one has, but I am wondering about the other.
Any ideas Polle?

Inside hardware originally plated gold on this model.

Stripped and ready to go to plater
First I have to modify the attaching holes for newer thumbscrew since these were broken and missing with the exception of 1

Ready to sort of for plating with 2 other jobs

Replaced incorrect screw with repro

Heated with torch and removed all old solder and the one old lug

Polished all corrosion off with 0000 steel wool and gave plate explicit instructions NOT to buff engravings.

BD4, Vega Deluxe, Epi Concert, all heavy hitters headed for plating!

First coat of detail painting complete on the neck and overlays.
I will add one more coat, then protect them with clear acrylic

Now to remove the purplish tint from the backplate so that it can match the fingerboard colors.

Going around the edge, sharp razor blades, changing frequently

You can see the dead layer of pyralin and tint coming up
Im not going deep, but it has to be planed off to start over.
There will be no finish used over the celluloid, its in VG shape and only the colored areas will have paint on them

I will stop here, and use fine 1000 and block sand it smooth, but first, the inside

Taking the thick stuff out with razor

residue cleaned with acetone

New gold inside complete

Wetsanding before buffing

Fine compound used

Really nice and shiny now
Ill wash it with soap and water next

Now for the magnifiers...
Cleaning 70 yrs of old paint and dirt from gravings
You can still see original golf leaf in some places, Ill redo that

Floating in the gold leaf acrylic with a plastic squeegee

Then a light scuff to take the residual off..

... and adding new translucent red tint.

I will move around the outside, one section at a time, the process is very time intensive and the attention to this detail will show in the finished product.

Cleaned heel cap gravings, adding gold leaf

Inside gravings all scraped clean and gold leaf added
Moving right along with the 1st coat
All of the highlights will have 2 coats of pure clear acrylic over the color.
Still quite a bit to fill in, I like to do sections.

There was the old look just for a mind refresher.

All the detail is painted and ready for protective clear coats.
That is only applied to the detail and will protect it when I do the final buffing

Flash gives a little glare

No flash shows a nice view of the actual detail, and when clear is on it it will be seen more rich in depth.
Staying between the lines.. a  MUST


Adding some protective clear.
It goes on milky but dries clear


Im scraping away the dead oily wood, the sweat penetrated for years on this banjo, there is no telling what year the player wore this finish off, but it was all gone...all of it.

Brushing  the crevices, I will re'stiple the relief areas to add back in the contrast

The Stipple tool adds the texture and gives life to the Bas relief

One side fully cleaned and stippled

Wiping on the first coats of clear
it will just suck it right in for a bit, and when its stable I will start with the gun

You can see the freshly stippled and sealed side vs the before look.


After the sealing is completed, Ill show the fret sequence

Doing the  peghead reverse

Ready for clear

Resonator complete ,buffed and waxed

  Remo Renesaiannce  now installed, setup head removed, and assembly is stored in a box until neck completion


Using a traditional fretwire for this job.
The larger wires make a funny look on Montana's
I will put the final detail coat and clear on the markers at the refret is completed
The fingerboard is polished to a high sheen and will be protected during the neck finish

Clamping in the final fret

Sealing with cyano

After leveling and recrowning, I am working the ends before polishing

Sealer completed, i will add detail to the heel to make the carvings pop out.

Adding some light shading to the relief

After a few coats of clear, a much softer but more detailed appearance.

 Now to build some altitude by applying 6 more coats of clear and then we will have a good protection for years to  follow

All coats applied and buffed, final clear Acrylic over the Details

Final clear going on the markers, next will be assembly and setup


New 5 star tuners with new Genuine MOP Buttons will make for smooth tuning

Mute actuates OK time to string it to pitch

I'll start with this genuine Bacon bridge
It will need to be at tension a few days and I can tweak it as it settles in, its been a long time since this banjo was an active player.

Tone is nice and bright



Shown next to my 1915 Chas A Stromberg

I  have upgraded the rim to accept threaded inserts for better retention.



This banjo presented quite a challenge in several areas and I would like to think that for a restoration using almost everything that was original to the banjo, that it came out very good.
I still think it is more challenging by far to restore vs building customs from new and the reward is just as good with the added factor of feelgood you get from stewarding another vintage instrument into the next 100 years.
Thanks for watching