Well, not much to show here as far as technique. I disassembled the banjo and cleaned all the parts. The neck and dowel stick were just rubbed with paper towels moistened with Formula 409. The brass parts were soaked overnight in a mixture of mild soap and Formula 409. Steel parts (2 screws holding the neck to the rim, 20 screws holding the bracket shoes to the rim) were soaked in Rust-Oleum Rust Stripper until clean, then soaked in WD-40 for a couple of days, as usual.
The finish on the neck was almost completely intact, so all I did was put a light coat of good-quality paste wax over the existing finish (varnish??) for protection. The fingerboard divots were minor, so I left them alone. The fingerboard is an extremely thin ebony overlay. I gave it a light coat of black leather dye. The nickel plating on some parts was worn through to the brass in places, particularly on the tension hoop and rim sheathing. I decided not to replate them. Rather, I just polished the nickle and brass surfaces with Mothers Mag And Aluminum Polish and lightly coated them with a good-quality carnuba wax. The hooks and bracket shoes were just lightly buffed and left alone.
The major task was to install a new skin head. This went smoothly. I removed the first 5 frets and replaced them with identical stock from another old banjo (one which will requite a complete refret job). Only one original tuner remained. It was a somewhat unusual translucent, amber-colored celluloid peg. I could not match it, so I scavenged a set of white celluloid pegs from a couple of other old banjos (which are destined to get mechanical tuners). I cut about 1/4" off the end of the headstock pegs and redrilled the string holes. The full-length peg is, in my opinion, too long for a banjo. They look better shortened and it shifts the stress to a thicker part of the peg.
Then, I scavenged a dowel stick endbolt and mounted the tailpiece properly. I made a 5th string pip out of a small scrap of rosewood. I strung it with Mark Horowitz's Clawhammer Cannonballs (light guage). The action was a bit too high with the 1/2" Stewart-MacDonald bridge, so I elongated the hole in the rim about 3/16" so I could push the endbolt up towards the head, which lowers the action. Then, it was ready to play.
Here is my dopey cat, Shtinky Puddin', checking it out:
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