Picture of a cookie-tin banjo in 14 steps or less
This is how I made a cookie-tin banjo... learn from my mistakes!
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Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1
Find some wood and other junk.

In my case, a dumpster appeared while campus was remodeling a building - goodies ahoy.

Look for some wood that's atleast 1.75" by 20" ... bigger would be better. Hard wood is best... i think my is pine

Step 2: Step 2

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Tear that wood up and make it usable.

Cut it to the rough length you need for the neck - I made my neck 19", and I made the head from a second piece (I suggest against this, but it's your call). I also made the portion that attaches the neck to the body separate... again, I suggest making it one piece (mine kind of bows there).

Step 3: Step 3

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Cut off anything that doesn't kinda look like a banjo.

A saw helps with this part. Power tools really help here... I didn't have much for power tools.

So, i penciled a vague banjo shape, and sliced off the parts that didn't look banjo-y to me. There was lot's of whittling with my pocket knife to get the final shape. Try using a bandsaw if you can.

Step 4: Step 4 (optional)

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Slip with the coping saw, and cut you hand.

I highly advise against this step, but if you want to follow my example, more power to you.

It looked pretty bad until i washed the blood off.

Step 5: Step 5

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Cut off anything that doesn't really look like a banjo.

This means more bandsaw/coping saw/pocket knife work.

Step 6: Step 6

Cut off anything that isn't a banjo.

Make the shape comfy - round off the corners, blend the different sections together, etc.

On mine, the Neck was 19" from the Nut (the top part by the tuners) to the cookie-tin, and the 5th string's last fret was 663 mm from the Nut (with the tuner peg a bit above that).

At the nut, mine was about 1 1/2" wide, and at the base, it was about 1 7/8" wide.

1/2" to 3/4" thick is plenty good... do what ever looks good to you.
no.... you could make a banjo from that foot...
...use the toes as pegs...
mistic5 years ago
look like hard work but - thats the fun of it when you get done..Can you just video and pluck a few note?
Sick_Nixon5 years ago
''If it makes noise, and you like it - then it's music :p''  ha ha ha so true!!!
PKM6 years ago
This appears to be a fretless banjo- did you add frets? The lack of frets would make me fret :P You could probably do with a slot for a removable nut at the head end so you can remove and replace it when it gets too chewed up by the strings. Anyhoo, I'd love to see some pictures of it strung, and maybe yourself playing it with a grass stalk in your mouth? Video of playing even better.
led_scorched (author)  PKM6 years ago
Indeed, she's fretless. I'm not too worried about eating the neck up, it's mostly nylon strings, they seem to play nice so far. More pictures/video will be forthcoming. Next, on the to-do list, is a cardboard upright bass. :)
gmjhowe6 years ago
Very nice, just needs a video of you making sounds to complete it!
rimar20006 years ago
Good job.