Mounting the head

I've been working on the neck here and there, but there hasn't been much to show. I'm starting to get serious about assembling the banjo in the white and getting some playing time. The first thing standing in my way was mounting the head, so I did that tonight.

Here are all the supplies laid out:

I would like to have a little color on the skin. Step one was to test the stains I have on hand on some pieces of skin. I tried coffee and TransTint Honey Amber in water. The TransTint would match how I plan to dye the maple rim and neck. In the end I went with the coffee because it's much easier to work with and clean up. Besides, I roasted the coffee and I'm making the banjo, so I owe it to myself to blend my two hobbies.

Loading up the Chemex for the full dose:

Whew, that sucker looks mean in the black sink, covered in coffee:

Moist skin draped over the rim, flesh hoop pressed down:

Not shown: ample sweat and cursing as I threaded the skin up under the tension hoop and tried to hold it down...

After a half hour or so: success, four hooks attached, holding the tension hoop down!

And now eight hooks in place and even tension all around:

Now it dries overnight. This weekend I can remove it for trimming and waterproofing.

Oh, and one more thing...

After 14 months of work and several more in the planning, it speaks! Just do me a favor, listen on good heaphones or speakers so you can hear that booming low end.

77 views and 4 responses

  • Oct 27 2012, 4:19 AM
    Nicholas Hendrix responded:
    WOW! That sounds awesome! Nice job.
  • Oct 27 2012, 4:36 AM
    Shawn Hoover responded:
    Thanks! After drying overnight it tightened up, as expected, and sounds less boomy. It's actually pretty tight now.
  • Oct 27 2012, 12:02 PM
    Andrew W responded:
    That is awesome! Congrats! Can't wait to see it in person.
  • Oct 27 2012, 5:33 PM
    Shawn Hoover responded:
    Thanks, Andrew. I fully expect it to be strung up and singing (but not finished) next time we're together.