what's on the bench in January 2023.
this last month I have been working on generating new conceptual renderings, gourd templates and RB37 which is a replica neck for a Ramsey Woody banjo, serial #1777, produced in his original shop in Appomattox, VA. This particular banjo is owned by a local friend and compatriot. The original neck unfortunately began to separate at the glue joint (2-pc quilted maple neck) years back and it has become an issue of reliability. Let long live Mike Ramsey, may he Rest In Peace.
For the most part all of the specs from the original neck measurements/ action and scale length was saved, the only aesthetic liberties that changed is the Abalone Inlay & engraving on the peghead. The new neck features a 'Mad Broccoli' deco inlay copied from the clients cell phone hard-case. Weird request but not at all out of my wheelhouse!
As I type on this sunny cold Friday morning I am in the process of warming my fingers over radiator heat and 'zening' out my brain to spatial tunes in order to begin the process of carving the quilted neck by hand. I only ever begin this task in the morning and in a certain/ measured state of mind bliss. Right mind, right focus.
Shop cleaned and tools laid out. I favor my Stanley spokeshave the first hand tool I ever bought as an adult. A purchase I made to build the first RENAN BANJO #001 back in 2009. My trusty calipers which really is the most used tool in a luthiers catalog, a hand-forged Large Japanese Dragon Rasp, 1- Nicholson Bastard File and my scraper of choice: Lenox Gold box blades. I fold/curl the edge with 2 strokes over an anvil. I have a catalog of English spring steel scrapers that I never use. They work great but I favor the Lenox gold blades, as they are the perfect size to scrap away imperfections and file marks even in the complex curves of a boat heel.