Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I'm planning to build a minstrel era banjo. Does anyone know of someone who sells minstrel era brackets?

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If you are interested in a Boucher-style banjo, his brackets are simple to make out of sheet brass (I used .032" and it has worked just fine). You can see the different stages here:


I have a number of other pictures of the whole process of building my banjo here:

http://www.banjohangout.org/myhangout/photos.asp?id=32796

Now that I have built an 1840s banjo, I am in the early planning stages of building an 1850s banjo--a reproduction Ashborn. I'm actually thinking about making two of them at the same time. One with the patented 1852 tuners and one with a slotted peghead and machine tuners to be used for alternative tunings for playing clawhammer.

Keep us updated. Building a minstrel banjo is great fun!

--Brian
Thanks so much Brian. Are the brackets attached to the inside of the rim with screws? If so, how many.
They are held in place with a single brass nail. My method follows George Wunderlich's method (which he explained on an episode of the Woodwright's Shop with Roy Underhill a few years ago--and that one episode is what got me started down this path in the first place) which is what he thinks Boucher actually did.

1) Punch a dimple into the bracket with an awl (you can see my awl in the photo--it is one of my prized tools)

2) Run a file across the dimple until a hole opens up--just a few swipes will do it

3) Nail it into place

Mine are very inartfully clinched into place (as you can see in this picture). I will do this better on future banjos.

i make mine in the boucher-style as well, out of a fairly thick mild steel with a dark patina. i can get a set to you if you like. they're not super cheap, but they look fantastic.

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