Trujo "SPECIAL"
Project

Ser#11-9996

2005



I got this banjo from a good buddy of mine and it was in really sad shape.
The banjo had been in a fire and the rim and neck both had fire damage on them.
The neck has no fingerboard left and only part of a peghead overlay also snapped off at the heel.
The rim was burnt on both sides, and a little of the lip that the tube rests on was crumbly.
I stripped it to bare maple and you could smell the charred wood.
Forgot to snap a pic when it was stripped so I will start with rim repairs done and stain with lacquer re-applied.
Tone ring was hell to get off, but I managed after about two hours of carefully tapping it free.

Rim refinish


After repairs, stain and 6 coats of clear
As you can see, it is nearly the standard Gibson  prewar rim which is what it actually is, Gibson made these.
It is turned for the Trujo specs.
 


Area where the most flames got to it.
It was darker, which is sort of visible here but on a Trujo, most all of the rim is covered with the tone ring and tube


Tone ring after removal and buffing/polishing


Rim reassemble


I sent the hooksets for replating so I am using 4 long hooks to hold the head on so I could check the new tube and tension hoop until they return

Hooks came back and now I got a set of 2 pc flanges on it.
Standard "Tube and plate" now and it can accept a standard resonator.
I will use an import "Masterclone" one I have handy.


Next to the standard sized flathead rim assy.


About 5.5" deep, total



Neck Work

I chose to take the fire ravaged old plectrum neck and not only save it but turn it into a 5 string neck instead.

I feel like I can set this thing up to be a Thor's Hammer of a 5 string and there just are no Trujo 5 strings with the exception of a few custom made ones.
And with the addition of a full depth resonator and flang, we can only speculate to as "tone"
This is mainly to hone skills,that are not part of my usual task, and I do this in between other projects that are on the bench.
Sometimes I need a break to think, and this helps me to not dwell on a certain job.
Kinda like whittling on the porch a bit.



The pyralin as you can see, was melting away.
I will leave it on for support while I reglue the peghead ears.
It got so hot most of the hide glue has let loose.
The piece on the upper corner,is the one that was between the two carved wood "fans", on the front
 


They are charred, but still usable


Cleaned backside


There is alot of wood missing from the sides so I will have to build it up with veneers
The 5 string ramp will be laminated 1/4" basswood square dowels
 


I will repeg the heel and seal off this old repair that is holding just fine as it is.


Ready to glue the ears


Clamped 8 hrs


Rear pyralin removed and sanded smooth.
Still some charring showing....


.....As is on this end


...and this side
 


I cut a fingerboard off of a 30's RB 3 neck profile, and left it wide, so I could work it down as I wished
I added a Maple/ PurpleHeart/ Maple veneer stack under the board, and clamped it since I do not want to mess with binding.
I will put in pearl marker dots on the side of the fingerboard.
 


Clamped 8 hrs

Roughed in, and Marked for inlays
 

I will use these on the board
 
 


after glueing and shaping the first section of the ramp.
 
 


Second second added, as was heel cap, and roughed to profile


Some small strips on the face of the neck where wood was burnt off.
 


There will be veneer up this side of the neck as well, to gain the original profile back.

Checking heel fit on resonator.
very good
Temp heel cap made from scrap to check fit


 
 


Contoured face of heel, to original profile


Sanding down the side, up top

Laying in pieces of basswood with glue and wood chip filler.
There is alot more wood and a lot less glue than appears here, it is wedged tightly into the crevice.


Roughing in some more, bringing board edge down to profile


A little more profiling on the ramp


Now to veneer this side


Enough lip was left,to make this work so I glue it on and pull it over with tape.


After drying, ready to cut down


This is all that's left, but now it is back even again


Still need a little more veneer at the bottom face, after sanding in.


Adding new 4 layer heel cap


Adding new 4 layer back strap


After rough in


With front veneers added


All smoothed up
Peghead was made very thick for a reason.
I want a big meaty peghead to go with this big meaty banjo and als, I want my tuners to be fully recessed into the peghead, like a Weymann.


Starting to enlarge the tuner holes


I have a very strange mind,and it will show, in the finish of this neck.
remember, it was a victim of a fire.
There will be wood exposed, where the wood is still nice, and a design over bad spots with the new ramp showing its laminates.




Adding a small bit of filler to smooth the grafted heel area.
Most of this, will be sanded off


Changing the base color of the Embellishments


My inlay jig
I have a setup where the string goes arond twice, pinning the neck into my jig, while allowing the blocks to be inlaid, to remain exposed.
I learned this from "Gulliver's Travels"
It binds the neck in nicely but gives me the abilty to move it slightly if I encounter high and low spots
 


My router base that runs on top of the 1/4" bar stock "lands".
It is very smooth and manageable.
By far the best jig I have had for this type of operation


Very good visibilty and I have a fan to blow dust away from the hole


Painting my blocks to be inlaid with Tempura.
It is EZ to scribe and washes off


Scribed #1


A little fuzzy on the periphery but Rosewood does tha, and I need to put on a new bit, this one is older.


#2 ready to slide in


#2 fit in, # 3 cut


All in, filled and glued, ready to level


Ready to fret


Finish starting to cover


Side dots which are real MOP have been added added


Installing Fretwire


All fretted leveled and crowned


I am drilling the tuner holes, for a "Full" recess on an offset Grover reproduction geared peg.


Embellishments have been .....embellished a little more, and more to come.


I am thinking on what MOP will go on the peghead probably not those lightning bolts tho.


I will use a "T" for Trujo" and an "X" for Experimental.
Or...Mde in TX. :)


A mock up look on how it is coming along


Onward!

Quick jig for routing peghead overlay and reverse
Adjustable legs, and plastic slides


Screwed to the table, and supported on the other end


After routing and inlaying
 
 


Checking tuner fit


Drilled 5th peg and added 5th string nut


Now for the front inlays
Extension allows me to rout the cavities easier


Added in the nut


After finish is completed I now have the pegs in, fully recessed and amber buttons.
The "Flame" around the inlay goes with the theme of this burned up ressurected plectrum neck that is now a 5 string.
The flame looks really nice, not like this pic.
 
 


 


Finished out resonator with exception of the inside, which I can do later if I want to.
I dyed the bindings vintage amber as they were pure white and I like the aged look.
You can see the back, in the final pics.



FINAL PICS



 


You can see here, where I left the fire scarred peghead sides a vintage amber, to match the scheme of amber pegs and bindings.
The red on the side of the neck and the dyed amber veneer, all are related to the fire the original neck was in.


 
 


Here you can see the flame job and corrsponding colors on the buttons and veneers.


I stained in some colors, and lines to enhance the charred wood and effects.


I have the neck directly attached with action preset.
I can add a lower Co Rod if I wish with no modifications, but there is really no need to.
 
 


I am at a 5/8" bridge and that is a fairly low action so I will jump it up to a fancy compensated 19/32 as this is just the setup bridge.
Sound is very crisp and clear, not tubby at all, much brighter than I had anticipated'
So I think it has a really good potentia, from here.
I took it to let some Pro players have at it, and they are were very impressed with it and said it can hold its own, no problem.

It now is equipped with a custom 19/32 bridge, by Jim Farquhar, Rome Ga. (not in pic)

It has been shipped to my pal Barry Grant in AK, who will give it a good  break in

Thanks for watching,
Vinnie



2012
New Pics

Barry and friends in Talkeetna AK having a jam.
Its cool, that all of the banjos in the pic, I have worked on at one time or another.


That is a long way from Tejas!

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