Gourd Banjo

Carving The Back

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To carve the back of the neck into a curved shape, I caved in to the urge to get a new tool. There is a lot of wood to remove, so I went out and bought a spokeshave to do that work. I paid $27.50 for this little tool. Here is a photo.


As you can see, it is just a little plane with ears on it. I have always wanted to try one of these, but I didn't have an excuse. Well now I have an excuse. Here is a photo of the bottom of the device.


You can just see the little blade poking out of the sole. The one I got has a round bottom. There is also a flat bottom version, but I thought that the round bottom would work better for carving a banjo neck. Here is a photo of all the pieces.


There is a little blade and a little cap iron. It's just a little plane.

Well, getting down to business, here is the array of tools that I plan to use for hogging out the wooden neck.


My shoe rasp is on the left, the new spokeshave is in the middle, and a little Surform® plane is on the right. I am going to attempt to remove the square corners using these. I have never done anything quite like this, so it should be interesting.

Oh, I forgot to add my cabinet scraper. I have used my cabinet scraper before when I made the top of the peghead flat.


After a while, the neck is starting to take shape. Look at all those shavings! I think that I did most of that with my cabinet scraper.


I scraped and I scraped. I never did get the hang of the spokeshave. It just chattered and dug out deep divots. I think maybe the blade is dull. The Surform plane hogged out wood pretty quickly, but it left deep grooves in the wood. The cutting plane is made like a vegetable shredder, with lots of little holes in it. The shoe rasp works OK, but it is kind of slow, and it also leaves some pretty deep scratches.

The best tool of all is my cabinet scraper. When it is sharpened properly, it cuts nice little curls out of the wood like you can see in the photo, and it leaves the surface of the wood smooth with no scratches.

Here is a photo of the neck after I ran out of time.


It is starting to look like a banjo neck now. Surprisingly, it took me about 3 1/2 hours to do this work, and it isn't done yet. There is still a lot of wood to remove before the neck will be the shape I want it.

That will have to wait for another day.

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Last updated December 2, 2007