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Removing banjo fingerboard.

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GuitardoctorW7

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Fretless.
No frets on my banjo! Sounds like the title of a song. :unsure:
Sounds a good idea though.
PS closer scrutiny of what I though was a plastic head shows bristles on the back - pig skin vellum I guess. In good condition so must be recent.
Doh! didn't look at the photos close enough, apologies.
 

profchris

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Doh! didn't look at the photos close enough, apologies.
Your vellum might be quite old - I put a new vellum on my 1920s tenor banjo because the original had split, but the rest of the vellum just looked dirty (and could have been cleaned up to look pretty new). There are plenty of old banjos around with the original vellum head - vellum last for centuries for manuscripts and books, and those get a harder life than banjo heads (bar fights aside :) ).
 

JohnPW

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Fingerboards can also be taken off without the use of heat or water because of the brittle nature of hide glue, it's sort of like delamination of the joint.

You need "opening knives" with sharpened edges, typically made from table knives. You use the edge to first get into the joint but after that it's the wedging action of the knife that opens up the joint. Alcohol can be used to weaken the glue if it's really not opening up, but watch out for any damage to the finish.
 
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Jacob

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Forgot to ask - what glue? Would like to do it properly so it can be undone if necessary.
Also , where to buy a strip of ebony?
 

JohnPW

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Hide glue, the proper stuff not the so-called hide glue that comes in a bottle.

I believe guitar making suppliers sell thin strips of ebony as fretboards/fingerboards. Other woods can be used as well.
 

profchris

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Hide glue, the proper stuff not the so-called hide glue that comes in a bottle.

I believe guitar making suppliers sell thin strips of ebony as fretboards/fingerboards. Other woods can be used as well.
I use hide glue for most instrument joints, but not the fretboard. It introduces a lot of moisture, and the fingerboard can curl up at the edges. Titebond original is safer, but do make a caul that clamps the edges as well as the middle. Some use epoxy, but this is messier to take apart.

I just ordered a couple of rosewood fingerboards today and my UK suppliers were mainly out of stock. Ebay or Amazon marketplace, delivery late June.

Check the dimensions - I doubt you'll find a banjo blank in the uk, so you might need to buy a bass guitar blank to get the length. Far too thick, so lots of planing!
 

thick_mike

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Not sure if there is anything specific on there that will help, but I’d like to flag up the brilliant Frets.com page which has a wealth of step by step guides written and photographed by a very skilled professional luthier on all aspects of stringed instruments.

The page is one of the best resources available for anything anywhere on the internet and it’s what got me interested in woodworking in the first place.

I’m sure many general woodworkers on here would find many of the tools and tips on there useful, in the same way I find the shipwrights videos fascinating even though I will never build a boat.

The big index page is here:


Just scroll down and click something at random and you’ll see what I mean.

e.g.

 
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Avery

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Don't know if this is relevant but I put an ebony fretboard on my bowed maple necked fretless deering banjo. The neck had bowed and was worn where there should have been a fretboard anyway.
I took a million pictures but as always lost them all in laptop breakage etc etc.
The gist of it is how do you register it for the thicknesser when nothing is flat? Even the flat bit at the back of the neck is tapered never mind the headstock.
I fretted about it, pun intended, then made a cradle from plywood and car body filler which I could squidge the neck down into until I had parallel surfaces for the thicknesser. It worked too!
 

Avery

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Thanks for that. I'm already into banjos and banjo forums. Got a Deering Goodtime. Had an Andy Banjo fretless which was very nice (nylon strings) but a bit extravagant as I never played it, so sold it on. Now missing it and thought his old wreck might be good.
This is the second old banjo I've picked up which was wrecked most likely by steel strings bending the neck
Exactly that. I put a fretboard on where there wasn't one before. Ebony
 

B3nder

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For the blanks you could try Timberline.


Might have more luck calling and asking what they have.

Hth.
 
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