One way to add beauty to an open back banjo is to glue up a fancy block for the rim.
As we all know, cutting the inside of the rim on the lathe isnít a lot of fun. One way to simplify the task is to remove a lot of the wood in advance with a router. Since I canít cut through the whole rim block at once, Iím going to do it one layer at a time.
The entire jig was made of things I had lying around the shop. The pivot pin is a drill bit that I had broken earlier that day.
Because the layer of walnut is so thin, I canít use the gluing jig. Thatís okay, because I can glue it directly to an already glued-up layer.
This is the other side of the project, after the glue has dried and the clamps have been removed.
Most of the waste is cut away with the scroll saw.
The oscillating spindle sander does a nice job of getting rid of the rest of the waste. A router with a bearing-guided bit would have worked just as well.
The next layer is going to be a lot of small pieces of walnut and maple. After cutting the individual segments, I glue them together in pairs.
Using a Formica-covered workboard, the pairs are glued into a semicircle.
Here is one of the semicircles after it is removed from the clamps.
Each layer is sent through the Performax sander to make it nice and flat.
The ends of the semicircle are sanded flat.
This is the final glue up after putting all of the pieces together.
The block is made more-or-less round with the band saw. Now weíre ready for the lathe!
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This page last updated 02/07/06
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