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Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...

 
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:11 PM   #1
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Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


I had inherited an old Banjo some time ago.

I ran the serial number on this and it dates to between 1920 and 1922.

I know the steel and chrome parts can be cleaned up pretty well with Brasso and Neverdull.

I want to get the wood parts cleaned up and polished a bit. What procedures and products would you recommend to fix this old boy up without ruining it?

I was thinking of fine steel wool and an oil of some sort. I figure it'd be better to ask before I go and mess it up, than after I mess it up.

I have found some sources for a new skin and some of the other parts I'll need to get it playable again.

So what do you think?
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:41 PM   #2
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Re: Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


I'd test the finish first with isopropyl alcohol and lacquer thinner to see what you are dealing with.

It looks in pretty good shape.

I think I'd try to go with a clear lacquer for durability.

https://www.banjohangout.org/archive/276190

Edit: A de-waxed orange shellac first to give it some "oooomph" followed by the lacquer.

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Last edited by Robie; 03-02-2019 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:29 PM   #3
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Re: Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


I don't know, but nice piece.

This is my uncle's club. He's a 4 string guy, who's in his 90's. He's got "the old timers", but still plays on occasion.

https://www.thepittsburghbanjoclub.com/
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:30 PM   #4
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Re: Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


Reminded me of this, from one of my Pandora stations.


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Old 03-02-2019, 11:34 PM   #5
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Re: Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...estore+a+bango
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Old 03-03-2019, 06:37 AM   #6
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Re: Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


Wouldn't touch that until I'd personally checked in with a dealer of known reputation to first decide if its worth more as is.

Can you imagine what Willie's guitar would be worth if somebody "cleaned it up"?
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Old 03-03-2019, 04:27 PM   #7
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Re: Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


I don't necessarily want to "Refinish" it. I just want to clean it up and get the dirt off of it.

Clean and polish the nickel plated steel parts. Install a new skin, strings and I need a new bridge. The bridge is the only original part that's missing.

My Grandfather owned it, don't know where or when he got it. When he died my brother decided that he would like to have it. When my brother passed, his wife wanted to get rid of it, since they had it for 27 or so years and it just sat in the case.
So she gave it to me.

My daughter recently asked if I can fix it up, she has the urge to learn to play banjo.

I highly doubt this has any significant value over any other banjo from that era.

I think I'll start with some Murphy's oil soap and see how it cleans up, then move toward more aggressive if it needs it.
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Old 03-03-2019, 04:30 PM   #8
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Re: Restore An Old Banjo, Tips/advice...


A couple coats of Johnson's Paste Wax.

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