The Neck (click image to enlarge)

heel ruff

I don't care for the blocky factory heel, so I decided to taper it like a "normal" banjo.  I used the Safe-T-Planer, but a belt sander or band saw would work.

heel rear

At this end of the heel, smooth it out to any shape you like.  I used a wood rasp, Dremel tool, and sandpaper to get a more-or-less round shape.

heel cap

I added a heel cap made from the laminated veneer that is on the peghead. This is 2 layers thick.


Here's the scoop as cut with the Safe-T-Planer.  I rounded the step off with the Dremel tool.

scoop done

After additional sanding, it looks like this and is ready for finish.

scoop done

Scoop finished.  You didn't need those top 5 frets anyway.

fingerboard done veneer side

Fingerboard veneer.  Not much to say here.  Just glue/clamp it on.  With a razor saw or fret saw, carefully cut through the veneer (the edges can chip).  Replace the frets.


Dots.  Just cut a 1/4" hole through the veneer and glue the dot in.  I replaced only the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 12th fret dots.  The way I play, the others are not necessary.  You can do as few or as many as you like.


I made a new nut out of bone because the factory one was black plastic and because I broke it during removal.  I like bone better anyway with a dark peghead and fingerboard; a nice contrast.

planer work

Here is some more info on the Safe-T-Planer.  Makes a nice smooth cut in any wood that I've worked with.  I stuck in a piece of particle board for the photo. .


Here are the cutting heads.  Keep them as sharp as possible.  I am not sure if Wagner still makes this tool, although there are a couple of places that sell them, including Luthiers' Mercantile LMI.

Moving On To, Hey, We're Ready To Finish Up!