Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Hello all!

I'm new to this group. I'm Audun, and I participate in Civil War reenactments out in the PNW. I really love this period of history and the music associated with it.

That being said, I recently got a Bell Boucher kit, and was wondering what some good stains were? Do you have any personal favourites?

Hopefully, I'll be able to start putting my banjo together within the next few weeks, after I get home from a trip to France. Once that's done, I hope to be a regular on this site :)

Thanks and nice to meet everyone!

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A trip to France AND a new banjo? 

Dare I suggest that- your trip to France might influence your sense of color appreciation in some as yet unknown way.  Keep your eyes peeled for wood colors and color combinations might stumble upon that take your breath away, and take photos of them!  If you use this approach, your banjo will always remind you of your trip (hopefully a good thing).   Along the lines of "We'll always have Paris".   Just a thought for a way to make it fun.    :)

Perhaps the most common of the time was boiled linseed oil mixed with some alcohol.  That gives a fairly light yellowish colored stain.  I know of people using tea and coffee in stains.  If you have access to black walnuts that makes a very nice deep brown stain.  If you could choose a "modern" stain, what color would you want your banjo to be?

Many years ago an old timer showed me how to match stain using a mix of one part boiled linseed oil to four parts mineral spirits then tinting to the desired color using tubes of artist's oil color. 

Wes, yes that's a thing I've used many a time...  it's basically just a super diluted artist oil color, mixed with oil and turpentine...like artists use only with a veyr small amount of pigment instead of the usual other way around- (mostly pigment made workable with oil and turp mixture)..

I have 5 pages of instructions from Terry regarding this kit. It has quite useful suggerstions and instructions regarding stains and finish.   PM if you'd like me to send you a copy.  hugh

this seems to be a popular topic

Hello Audum, I too have recently aquired a new Boucher Banjo Kit from Terry Bell and He Recommended using Wood Dyes instead of stains. Dyes sink deeper into the wood and show the grains much better. they are also much easier to use, no mess, no smell and very quick dry time. I got mine from the Luthiers Mercantile Co.  Comes in a kit of 3 colors, Red, Yellow & Brown. You mix a bit of each to get the desired color.

Kit coast about $12 to $15   Here is the Website  www.lmii.com

Dan, thanks for the post.  I just ordered some dies to play with.

Some dyes to die for.   ;D

Looks beautiful.

Here is Terry Bell's You Tube Link showing Exactly How to use Dye and Finish on Your Banjo Kit


I've been in transit from Bordeaux to Seattle and just got back to the United States last night, so sorry that I've been gone for a little while. 

Anyways, thanks for all the replies and I'll check out the different options.

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