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Restoration #3 - tenor banjo

This banjo was restored to playing condition between September and November 2021. 

It came to me with a broken skin, some significant dents and scoring of the neck, and a big chip taken out of the headstock. Strangely, at some point someone had drilled through the top of the headstock to install a fifth tuner - see photos below. The nut was loose, and it was missing a few tension hooks, a tailpiece, and a bridge. It had a large, possibly aluminium(?) resonator, which I left off when I restored it - this thing is plenty loud enough for me without it. 

This was a personal restoration project, so it ended up taking a back seat between commissions for a little while, but in the end I got it looking (and sounding!) how I wanted: 


  • The fifth tuner was removed and the hole plugged with a small piece of cherry

  • The hole on the front of the headstock was filled with a disc of beech, to contrast with the dark headstock wood

  • The chipped headstock wood was removed, a piece of walnut put in - I like that the repair is visible here

  • The broken nut was removed and replaced

  • The worn old finish was sanded back, and a new French polish applied to the neck

  • The fingerboard was cleaned and oiled

  • The skin was replaced, as were the old mismatched tension hooks

  • The spun-over pot and the machine head plates were cleaned up with wire wool

  • A new bridge and tailpiece were sourced and fitted

  • A new set of strings were put on

Before photos:
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