original Block style inlay on AAA grade ebony board
Install onto late 40s Vox 3 Rim assembly
Here is Tyler in 2000, working on the original at my shop in Austin
The short story is we took the tenor neck off the banjo and installed a plectrum neck and the banjo was stolen along with 2 more.
Happily 2 of them were recovered but not the Vox 3 and later it went to Barry Grant for a project, tuners and all.
We inlaid it for Barry's "Eagle Vox" banjo and now it's
lives on the "Mastervox" so I have to pull this board and go
back to Vox
3, 1950s inlay
And having the original Klusons was cream on the pie :)
Will change color to match the new look
Saved all inlay
Pretty clean board removal
Truss is still bedded properly
Smoothed up for new laminate veneer
Installed and finish stripped
Shot some clear to raise the grain, still some stained wood to deal with I will work it down a bit more and then let the new finish hide the rest.
I'll get a fingerboard measurement and get the board ordered
Pure white celluloid binding
Drilled for dowel
ready to glue
Fingerboard arrives from Allen
Nut placed to space the board
I cut the end block off too short by accident, will have to add it back on....grrrr.
Marking the sides
Cut to rough profile
One side binding added
Other side sanded to profile, ready to bind
Ready to add the end block
Making the spacing lines before the cut
That's what I get for cutting the end block off without thinking!
Time capsule Band-Aid will be left for posterity (and to keep glue from that slot)
Ready to final trim the end
Using some of my new clamps from LMI
One closed up to show example
Should be VG for centering as well as clamping
Scoring the mating surfaces with 60 grit crosshatch
I will use Behlen's Hide glue
The clamps work nicely
Would benefit having Radiused topped clamping cauls, easier on the stretcher bands, Ill make a set just for this and order in about 8 more
Side markers installed board final cleaning and fine wool, ready for inlay.
First tint coat
next 2 tints, that's what I got as my color now
I have a little silicone Im fighting on one side of the
Compared to the 70s Vox and a 60s Vox
Hey, there are 3 inlays I need in that Vox 1 !!The late model will be customized for Mr Barry Grant's old Eagle VOx
He donated TJs old neck back to him as we had used it on a project when TJ converted his 56 to Plectrum.
Then....it was stolen with 2 other banjos and we were able to recover those 2, but not the Vox so this neck and a few oddball pieces was all he had left from his original Vox
He will place this neck on a rare 40s Vox 3 rim assembly he purchased and have a nice tenor that is a part of his old one.
I'm in there pretty close on the color scheme
TJs neck was a little darker due to the old stain job from when it was on BGs project.
Cleaning the edge
Around 4 more coats and I will see how we go on inlay.
Dowel stained to replicate the 50s color
Next to TJs Deluxe Plectrum neck
Now to add some clear to make it pop, and then add some stampings
These are only for making reproduction dowels that are missing, not to "fake" Vega banjos.
They are not exactly as the original for that reason.
Taping on to center it for the vise press
Hard press with a leverage bar in the vise to make it even tighter- 15 minutes per stamp
The Mohawk finish did not flake out like the original
Sorry TJ :):)
Now, what number will we use
The old # or match the newer rim?
TJ and I talked and we knew there was one person for this
that was Rene'e.
She has seen more Vox 3's than any of us and knows how to match that look.
The original engraving is not what anyone really calls pretty so it is hard to mimic it, you always want to do "more"
This is what we were looking for, something that didn't look as sterile so our thanks to her for sticking with the original look.
She had to show her skill and hit the mark spot on!
I will ask TJ what is right side up on the ones with variables, he will know this by heart
I'm smiling, I'll bet he will as well
Another great job by Rene'e and now I will cut the cavities just right so as not to drop them to deep or shallow.
They have to be flat when the glue sets with no leveling
Some Tempura, for indicating the cavity periphery
Dot of glue to hold them while I scribe them
Ready to rout
2 set to depth and sealed down
I'll fret as I go to break up the tedium.
All in, fretted and sealed, now a first coat of oil
Rim assembly that was purchased off ebay.
TJ mailed the rim and resonator to me to get this thing buckled on up, so I trimmed the dowel tip to length first.
The rim was painted white long ago, but underneath is a shoe band Vox 3 rim with original plum color
The hole in the rim is too wide, I will rebuild the hole with shimwood
The neck is right at or below the plane of the tone ring, I will elevate to only the thickness of the fingerboard, that should be optimum.
Neck angle is good for 9/16 to 5/8" bridges
Now to move up the hole
Dremel saw thru the brass
Rebuilding the hole.
It will all be nice and sealed together at the end.
Will need a little more relief for the head at the heel.
Hole rebuilt and ready, nice and tight
Neck attaching hardware installed
Ready to glue in the dowel
Barry Grant gave me a Vox tailpiece so I gave it to TJ, and he got the brass flanges from John Huntsberger and his Machinist friend Mike in San Antonio made the brass hex lugs.
He got a tension hoop on ebay in fair repairable condition and had it brazed back together.
Now we need a period Elton armrest to complete the look, the prewar will do just fine for now.
Tyler acquired a period resonator off Ebay that will complete his package nicely
A lot of neat history, like in his original which was cool.
Nice leveling, went VG, recrowned, polished to high shine, 0000 wool and dressing the ends
I got this kid on TV, plays a pretty good Bass line.
He likes to follow the progress.
His old boss, Mr.Ray Price
The Chief always said "The Best Banjo is a Tenor Banjo" :)
Thats no joke.
Board getting a final oiling, I'll cut a new nut now.
Fresh bone from LMI
Ready to slot
Good clearance on fingerboard
After my trial run in Bb gauges I found out what I wanted to know for tenors, so now onward
I had an original Period Lifton HSC that I have been stashing back for a special occasion and I sprung it on TJ, so that it would be complete.
Its lik e his old one, and he still has his "VEGA" badge for the outside so it will look perfect.
OK, I'll dust it!
NOW FOR SOME RESONATOR WORK
There was no way to do the work with binding covering so much delam, so I removed it in pieces, no saving it.
Will go back with white celluloid from Axiom
All this needs to be pulled back down as best as possible, Im forming a battle plan
Heating the back to 110 F, before trying to flex anything
I decided on a 5/8 plywood jig to use and a clampling plate over the topside
I'll heat areas and clamp to see how far they will go
The harder ones I will wet with water then pull some more
For now its just adding clamps and testing areas for pulldown.
I will make another plate now for the back to really clamp on and keep the direct heat off the celluloid
OK, second plate, ready to go
Now for some real heat and Ill add all the power clamps tomorrow
Heating, feeding in
in the areas that are the widest.
I'm "hoping" the softening of the ply and the warming and softening of the Pyralin will all me to pull tighter and tighter
Forcing water inward with air
All day heating in the Texas Summer, tightening periodically.........and more clamps.
MORE TO COME