Bob Flesher Minstrel Banjo Kit

Shaping The Neck

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Finally, Spring has arrived! It is such a nice day out that I thought I would take advantage of it and go outside to work on the banjo neck. So I got the neck out of the box to take a look at it. It looks as though it will need some work. For example, here is a photo of the heel where the dowel stick goes in:

Bad Heel

I suppose that the banjo would play OK like that because these types of banjos are not played up by the heel. But I do not like the looks of it.

Also, there are some rough spots where the shape was roughed out, like this place on the neck:

Neck Gash

The first thing that I did was to mark the heel of the neck with the shape that I would like it to be. I used my calipers as a straightedge to make a symmetrical mark on each side of the heel.


Then I drew a curve down to the mark using a pencil. Here it is:


I do all of my shaping with a shoe rasp. I suppse that there are better ways, but I have always used a shoe rasp, and I don't want to learn a new tool right now. My shoe rasp is now about 35 years old, and it is pretty dull, so I splurged and went out to the hardware store and bought a brand new one. I got the large 10" one for $8.99 cash money (in 2006 dollars)

Here is a photo of the neck with my new shoe rasp. They are both beauties!

Shoe Rasp

OK. Enough of this! I took the neck and my tools out on the patio and clamped the neck down to my Workmate. I used my home-made neck support block as the clamping caul so as not to mar the surface of the neck. Here is a photo of the neck all clamped down on the bench:


And here I am using the fine end of the shoe rasp to remove the extra wood from the neck:


After I worked the heel of the neck, I turned it around on the bench and worked up near the peghead. I just eyeballed it and made it look like a shape that I liked. There was not a whole lot of wood to remove because the neck was mostly shaped as it came. Here is a photo of the heel after I had reshaped it:


And here is a photo of that rough place up by the peghead.


Not a bad job, even if I do say so myself. The neck is looking real fine. It took me about an hour and a half to do this job. It was kind of relaxing being out in the sunlight and working on the neck.

The next job will be sanding the neck and the pot.

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Last updated April 5, 2006