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Making a Tenor Banjo From Scratch
This will be my first attempt at making a complete banjo. I will make all of the wooden parts, install all frets, install all inlays & bindings, and apply the finish. I intend to buy all of the metal parts new, from suppliers. If everything goes as planed, I will end up with a very playable banjo.
Click on any picture below, to see larger

Here's the wood I plan on using--"Birds Eye" Maple, and Walnut.

The Neck and Rim will be made of Maple.

This is the Maple "glued up" with a 1/4" Walnut center strip. This will be the Neck.
Here are the Neck templates with the paper pattern glued on--one for Plectrum & 5 String, and one for Tenor. I figured I would make one for Plectrum & 5 string just in case I want to make those next! I'm working with's Gibson Mastertone blueprint.
Templates after removing paper patterns.
Band sawing neck from glued up stock.
Neck after band sawing--I save the leftover pieces until I cut out the Peg head, a couple of steps down the line.
The neck without the extra pieces.
The slot cut for the "Hot Rod" truss rods.
Gluing up the "Ears" for the peg head.
I've decided to make the neck adjusted at the Peg Head instead of the Heel. This shows the adjustment "Allen" Socket at the Peg head.
Band sawing "Ears" Off.
Sanding Peg head flat. This and the following pictures are just to illustrate the sanding--not how the sanding was actually done.
Sanding back of Peg head flat.
Gluing & clamping Peg head overlay.
Again, gluing Peg head overlay--might not notice but a access slot was scroll sawed into the Peg head for access to the truss rod adjusting screw.
My camera Macro technical skill is lame, but you can still see the angle cut on the end of the Peg head overlay---so the Nut will set flat against it.
I've decided to break out some of the Walnut burl veneer I've had for over 20 years, and use some for the back of the Peg head overlay. Here it's in clamps---always use wax paper between the clamping block and the veneer. Other wise the glue will ooze out and glue the block to the Peg Head!
Here's the veneer glued on and the clamping block that almost got glued with it!
Here's the Maple for the Rim all glued up. It's no big deal--just pass the boards over the jointer, to square up and surface the edges. Then glue up.
Cutting out rough shape on band saw. Showing Peg head.
Showing taper cut on neck.
Showing Walnut Burl back of Peg Head veneer.
Drilling tuner holes
Semi Finished neck. Installed filler piece at Heel end, in slot made for Adjustable Truss Rod.

A look with the fret board just sitting on top--starting to look like something!


Time to start the Rim!