Repairing a Banjo Peghead

A Pictorial Review
Ken & Trisha Brooks

This Baystate banjo (1865-1897), sold by John C. Haynes & Co., Boston; came into our store for repair of a broken peghead.
We thought you might like to see how the repair was done.

Click any picture for a larger view

 Broken banjo neck
 The break!
Banjo parts
The banjo needed
to be taken apart for the repair.
Here are all the pieces.

Metal shims

A bunch of shims fell
out of the neck.

Protecting fingerboard

The fingerboard
was protected while
the nut was steamed
and cut loose.

Restoring the banjo pegs

The tuning pegs
needed rust removed
and lubrication.
They were kept organized
to go back in the same holes
so they would fit right.

 Overlay pieces

The overlay wood was so dry
that it crumbled while being removed.
The inlay was saved
to be put in the new overlay.

Pedhead and inlay

The front overlay piece
had to be steamed & pried off.

The break glued and clamped

The break glued
and clamped.

Back view of clamped break

The back view
with a block screwed
through peg holes
for orientation
of the new overlay.
Keeps it from slipping
while being clamped. 

New rosewood overlay

The new rosewood
overlay glued and clamped.

 Back of overlay

The back stripe wood
was also damaged and very dry.
It will need to be filled with some pieces
that were in a plastic bag in the case.

New overlay trimmed

The new rosewood overlay
had to be trimmed
flush to the peghead.

Trimming overlay on peghead

Here you can see where the overlay
needs to be trimmed to the curves
and angles of the headstock.

Drilling peg holes

The pegholes were drilled
from the back through
the new overlay
then they were chamfered
on the front side
by hand using a
countersink bit to fit
the friction pegs.

Inlay trace

Next the old inlay
was traced onto the new overlay.

 Routing for inlay

A hole has been routed
using a fine bit in a Dremel router.

Clean hole for inlay

Clean hole cut
to the depth of the old inlay.

Very thin inlay

The inlay is so thin that
it had to be set to a perfect depth.
There was no extra to sand down.

Inlay glues and weighted

The inlay was
glued & weighted.

Inlay edges filled

And of course
it had to be fille
with this yucky business.
Not to worry.

 Inlay finished

A little scraping & cleaning
and it's good as new.

Fixing back stripe

The dry and brittle wood
of the back stripe
was missing pieces.
You can see some saved pieces
in the plastic bag.

Glueing pieces on neck

Some large pieces were
glued in and taped until dry.
More voids had to be filled
with glue and ebony wood dust.

Fitting the nut

The nut was refit
into the overlay
at the proper depth.

Preparing to refinish side

The neck was taped off
in preparation for
staining the side of the peghead.

 Staining overlay

The overlay also
needed stain.

Oiling fingerboard

The dry fingerboard
was oiled to prevent cracking
and fret protrusion.

Banjo pegs reinstalled

The pegs being installed
in their respective holes.

Parts put back together

Time to put the parts
back together.

Everything done

The hardware securing
the neck stick to the pot.
All the shims were put back
in place so the action
would be correct.

Side view of finished peghead

 The peghead side view of the repair

Finished banjo peghead

The finished peghead with a couple coats of lacquer for beauty and durability
This Baystate banjo
is the first I've seen with a set screw built into the fifth string peg to keep it tight.
Over the years, the hole had become enlarged and needed fixing
so the screw would do its job.
A new set of strings
and reattaching of a case hinge
and this old timer is good to go.