Knowing how to make a wood banjo may be easy for some people, yet very difficult for others who are not musically inclined. This stringed musical instrument was used early on in the American music industry. If you're a skilled, talented craftsman, making a simple wood banjo is an enjoyable and easy job. Below are simple steps to make a wood banjo.
You will need:
- One-eighth inch Masonite composite board
- One-fourth inch plywood
- Mechanical drill
- Glossy varnish
- Wood glue and paint brush
- Wood screws
- Make an accurate-sized circle using a five gallon bucket on the board. The size of the circle will depend on how big you want to make your wood banjo. If you want a smaller banjo, a two gallon bucket will suffice. Mark two circles for the diameter for the body, then cut following the lines closely for this will be the mated pieces.
- Scribe a three-fourths line inside the first cut to form a ring. Leave some wide spaces on both sides of the ring before attaching the banjo’s neck. Cut these with jigsaw and some blocks about two inches long and approximately three-fourths inch wide on the same radius for spacers.
- Fit or sand the two plywood rings so they match closely. If they are not fitted, mark on their edges to refit until they match in the position when they will be glue together. Attach the two stacked spacer blocks at five or six places around the rings and place the other ring on the top and glue through the top ring and spacers into the bottom using the wood glue. By cutting the one-eighth inch Masonite composite sheeting, wrap the assembly. You have to attach one end near the banjo’s neck, wrap and glue it around the frame and use some of the wood screws.
- From a piece of two-by-four lumber, cut the banjo’s neck in about 24 to 26 inches long tapered from 3-½ inches on one end to about 1-½ inches on the other. Again, by using the wood screws, attach this to the sound box through one of the blocking spacers which has added and heavily screwed predrilled through the sound box. Bevel the remaining two inches of the opposite end to attach the end piece.
- By keeping the banjo’s neck, cut the end piece tapered about two inches in with one-half to one inch thickness and four or 4-½ inches long. Stretch the “drum” material over the face of the sound box and keep the material intact by using a fabric to the sides and attach eyes screws at the end piece of the neck of the wood banjo to the strings.
- By using the monofilament fishing line nylon will serve as the strings. Larger diameter nylon will produce a lower pitch and adjusting the tightness of strings by twisting the eyes screws will produce fine-tune pitch. Block the strings to rest and glue to the diaphragm, and sand the end piece of the neck.
Making a wood banjo can be an inspiring project and your patience will produce your own homemade wood banjo with the right fine-tuning.