Monday, July 18, 2011

A couple of unrelated things

These are really two unrelated things. The first is our 1 surviving turkey. We started with two Bronze Broad Breasted turkey chicks, about 3 inches tall. One died in a thunderstorm. This one survived.

We had to clip their wings when they were small because they kept jumping and flying out of the tub we had them in when they were in the dining room. Now this one survives. They used to be called "lefty" and "righty" because of the wing clipping. But now this on is just called "Thanksgiving Dinner" or "Dinner" for short.

What amazes me about turkeys is their ability to change the color of thier head skin. "Dinner" can be bright red, pallid white, green, purple, and any combination. Of course, his feathers don't change. But he can change his head color in just a few seconds. I didn't know that turkeys could do that.

Now, the second, unrelated thing. I've put together some wood scraps and an empty mink oil tin to make a 2 stringed banjo.


The objects in the photo are to give scale. The guitar string package is ony about 5" square. The Mink Oil tin is 4" in diameter.


I used the tin, a branch from choke cherry or some small shrub for the neck. I glued a black walnut finger board on the branch.



This is the back of the banjo.


For the head I glued a piece of black walnut to oak. And then glued that piece to the neck at an angle. For the tuning pegs I used the same piece of oak.


For the bridge and the nut I used bone from a cow femur.

I need to tap-drill a few markers on the finger board, put a wire above the nut to keep the strings in place on the nut, and then stain and seal the wood.

The banjo is about 20 or so inches long. It sounds like a banjo with nylon strings.

Our smallest children like it because it fits their hands.

I have this vague memory of a cigar box guitar that my dad made when I was very young. I don't know if my memory of that cigar box guitar is accurate. But I think I broke it and disappointed my dad and mom.

Dad, Mom, sorry. Tell me if my memory is accurate at all.

And, I understand that you wished I'd have kids just like me. Does that mean that my kids will destroy this banjo too? I hope not. But it was fun and fairly easy to make. Now, maybe, I can make a real guitar. I have a sound box in the works for a renaissance 5 string guitar. I also have a middle-ages lyre near completion.

I think that I can complete the lyre fairly soon with what I've learned from making this banjo. I still need to work out how to shape the sides of the guitar.

Anyway, this is an example of what I do on my Mondays. That's my day off of work in the parish.

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