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MyMachineryForum.com • View topic - Building a new group of Spankys

Building a new group of Spankys

Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Phil Morris » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:52 pm

I have been asked several times about doing a step-by-step on a run of banjo ukes so I am going to give it a go.

Day One: (8 hrs)

Wood selection - We have been doing a lot of native woods lately so I thought for this run I would do some exotics for a change of pace. I spent some time in the wood shed and selected four different woods.

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First is canary wood. I haven't built with this wood before but I like the yellow color and the density and consistency of the material is nice.

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Second is bubinga. Bubinga is frequently used in guitar construction so it seems like it should be a winner for a banjo.

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Next is jatoba. We have built with jatoba previously and I really like how it looks and sounds.

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Lastly is koa. I have been wanting to build a koa Spanky for some time. I picked out some nice light koa for the neck and pot and will select a piece with some dramatic grain for the resonator.

Material prep - The next step is to rough dimension the material. I didn't think to take pictures of this basic tablesaw & jointer work.

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Milled material

Building the pot - The pots are assembled from 16 staves formed into a ring using bird's mouth joints.

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Cutting the bird's mouth with a router set-up

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Long staves ready with bird's mouths cut.

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Cutting the long staves down into the short pot segments on my Hammond Glider which is the perfect tool for this step.

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Segments ready for gluing.

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Glue applied.

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Canary wood pot glued and clamped.

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Bubinga pot glued and clamped.

Laminating neck blanks - I glue up the neck blanks from three layers of material. This adds stability by balancing the stresses in the wood and also allows for a more efficient use of the material.

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Neck material. After dimensioning on the table saw I run these boards through the drum sander to prepare them for gluing.

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Canarywood neck in clamps.

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Bubinga neck in clamps.

At the end of day one I have the four neck blank laminations glued up, the four pots glued up, and two of the resonator blanks prepared.

More tomorrow.

Phil
Last edited by Phil Morris on Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Richard-TX » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:02 am

This is great! We need more info.

My biggest question when making string instruments is where to place the frets. How is that calculated?
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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Phil Morris » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:06 am

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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Richard-TX » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:19 am

If I had to cut fret slots, I would need a bunch of wood filler. Either that or it would be an instrument that only Schoenberg would like.
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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby scrobert » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:27 am

Very nice! As I am enjoying your photos and step-by-step narrative, I can't help but admire your craftsmanship, too. Clearly the work of a professional who has done this many times before. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby shoottx » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:04 pm

Way cool

I want to follow along on this project, not with the intent of ever building anything musical, just cause it is cool to watch. My only musical talent is playing the stereo.
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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Phil Morris » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:14 am

Day Two: (4 hours)

Faceplates - I went out at lunch to mount two of the pots to faceplates so they would be ready to turn this evening.

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After removing the band clamps I clean up some of the glue squeeze out.

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Truing up the pot with the drum sander.

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Applying glue.

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Into the clamps and off to lunch.

Back in the shop after work:

Truing neck blanks - It is important for the carving step that the neck blanks start out nice and square.

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Jointing the blanks.

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Trimmed and ready to go.

Pot Turning - My lathe stand is mounted on wheels and I like to move it outside for turning when possible. This was a perfect evening to work outside.

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Bubinga pot with faceplate mounted.

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Canarywood pot ready to turn the outside.

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Turning the inside.

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Parting the pot off the faceplate.

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Two pots turned and ready for trim rings and sanding.

Time for dinner and some chores.

Phil
Last edited by Phil Morris on Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Palmer » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:11 am

This is top notch. Phil, all of us appreciate the time and effort that you are putting into this information sharing. What a wonderful skill you have. Thanks again.

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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Phil Morris » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:15 pm

Thanks for all the nice comments guys. Moving on -

Day 3: (3 hrs)

Building trim rings - The exposed end grain on the bottom of the pot is dressed off with a trim ring usually of the same material as the pot but with the grain running horizontally.

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Marking stock for resawing to 3/8"

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Resaw set-up with fence and feather board

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Easy work for the 20" Delta band saw and Woodslicer blade

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Cleaning up the resawn material

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Cutting ring segments on the Glider. The auxiliary wedge establishes the cut angle

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Gluing up segments on the go bar deck. It will take several steps to build the four rings so I will return to the shop later this evening to set up the next set and then every four or five hours tomorrow until the rings are complete.

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The parts are held in place by fiberglass rods wedged between the top and bottom of the go bar deck

Milling other parts - Tonight I also milled the wings that will glue onto the sides of the headstock to widen it and also the dowel sticks.

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Wings and dowel sticks ready to go

More tomorrow -

Phil
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Re: Building a new group of Spankys

Postby Palmer » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:03 am

I need to understand more about this "Go Bar" deal with the fiberglass rods. Is this something that you use for other operations, or was it developed for what we see here, holding those segments flush with the surface?

Pretty fascinating stuff. Keep it coming Phil.

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