|Here are some basic tools that I used to measure out my neck because I couldn't get a hold of full size plans.|
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
This is a continuation of my series of posts that are following my construction of a mountain banjo. If you missed the first post it is available here, Building a Mountain Banjo: The Pot.
Before I could begin measuring out the neck, I head to find suitable material for the neck. If you look at the profile of the neck on the plans (courtesy of bluestem strings) you will notice that the angled headstock makes it necessary to use a large block of wood if you want to cut the neck from a block of wood rather than joining a headstock onto a smaller piece of wood. Some people get away with joining a headstock (I myself have used the method to construct a cigar box guitar), but a neck cut out of block of wood is stronger and looks nicer. That does not mean the block of wood has to be solid. Roughing out this neck from a block (laminated or solid) of wood requires the block to be at least 25 1/4" long x 2"wide (not accounting for the width of the headstock) x 2"deep (accounting for the angled head stock). These are the bare minimum measurements with no extra room. I found it easier to use a 3" x 3" block. However, a neck is best made out of hardwood, and a 3" x 3" block can be expensive. So, I laminated 3, 1" x 3" pieces of poplar together to form a block that was 26" x 3" x 3". All I had to do was cut the poplar to length, dampen the sides to be joined, apply gorilla glue and clamp the pieces tight overnight. I should also point out that I followed some advice I found on both the Banjo Hangout and the Bluestem Strings websites that said to try and book match the grain. I'm not sure if I did this correctly, but I'll describe what I did. I had two slab sawn pieces (quarter sawn would be better but this is a homemade banjo that I'm not investing much money in it) with curves in the grain (when viewed from the end of the board) and one without curves. I put the one without curves in the middle and laminated the others on the side so their curves were convex to the middle piece. Hopefully these crude drawings will clarify things.
Monday, May 28, 2012
The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.
It's just something to think about while you enjoy the day off and grill some food. Take some time to remember those who have suffered for us.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
|Oldtime jams can be a great way to meet musicians and learn new tunes, but not every area has local jams and not everyone can make it to jams even if there are some nearby. Old-Time Jam is a resource for musicians in either of those situations.|
Monday, May 21, 2012
|Some smooth chanterelles in the raw form.|
Saturday, May 19, 2012
|A smooth chanterelle (Cantharellus confluens) emerges from the leaf litter. This was just one of three edible chanterelle species that I have found in the last week.|
Friday, May 18, 2012
If you read my blog, you probably know that I like to brew beer and I recently moved to Alabama. Unfortunately, home brewing is illegal in Alabama (and Mississippi). This state has a lot going for it, but there are definitely a lot of hardcore bible thumpers that live in fear. For the past few years, Alabama homebrewers have been fighting to legalize homebrewing. Unfortunately, the bill that would have legalized homebrewing in Alabama did not make it through the senate. I guess there is always next year. I am not going to rewrite what I have already posted, but if you think that homebrewing is risky or contributes to social degradation, read my post about brewing rights.
|This may not look like much at first glance, but if you look closely you will notice that what looks like dirt or algae is actually a pair of eyes. They belong to a flatfish called the hogchoker (Trinectes maculates)|
Thursday, May 17, 2012
|A scene from Auburn University.|
|I caught my first AL fish here at Chewacla Creek.|
|Some smooth chanterelles are breaking through the moss and leaf litter.|
|Some cinnabar red chanterelles.|
So why did I come to Auburn in the first place? Well, I'm starting grad school! I'll be working with Dr. Johnston in the Fisheries Department. My main focus will be conservation of the pygmy sculpin (Cottus paulus), but I'll have two years to write about that, so I won't go into detail today. I've already met some cool people, went on a fish collecting trip (more on that later), found chanterelles and blueberries, and found some local jams, all in less than a week. I think I'll like it here.
The daylilly had a spectacular bloom this year. There were some typical six tepaled (they are technically not all petals...see earlier post) flowers and some with extra tepals as I hoped for.
|The daylillies in bloom.|
I got to put a little time in on the mountain banjo project. I laminated three pieces of wood together so I had a large block that I roughed the neck out of. I have not done the final shaping yet. I'll write a more detailed post on the banjo soon.
Friday, May 4, 2012
|These huge boletes popped up over night. If only I could have identified them to species.|