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Bourgeois Guitars's Blog (16)

Return of The Banjo Killer, the final chapter. . .

Bryan Sutton and "Banjo Killer"; Medley: The Original Waltz/Old Lake. from Bourgeois Guitars on Vimeo.

The moment we've been waiting for: On Oct. 28, 2012, Bryan Sutton debuted the restored the Banjo…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on October 15, 2012 at 7:43pm — 1 Comment

Day 16: The Banjo Killer slays again!

This story has a happy ending, folks, and I'll start with it. After working for three weeks to painstakingly restore Bryan Sutton's flood damaged Banjo Killer, Shin Ichikawa finally got to test drive it today! The entire shop stopped working to watch this exciting moment, after which Shin received a standing ovation (well, we were all standing anyway). …


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 13, 2012 at 9:00pm — 6 Comments

Day 15: The end is near. I can smell it.

Shin Ichikawa and I started the day by fitting and glueing the back binding. Last night's fitting of the top binding was tedious, but the tricks we learned made the fit of back binding go smothly. I am amazed at how cleanly both bindings look.  Some finish touch up will be required, but the overall appearance is more than…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 12, 2012 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

Day 14: Today was hump day in more than one respect.

We started the day by glueing the top to the rim, using spool clamps and Titebond glue. We started at the neck area, were the top was registered to the block with pins, and worked our way around to the end block. I used a piece of ivoroid binding to align the top to the rim while Shin worked the clamps.…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 11, 2012 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Day 13: Last night, the restoration began to resemble a reality show . . .

. . . when Shin attempted to dry fit of the top to the rim and found that the top had shrunken smaller than the rim.  


This is the part of the show when we're all supposed to start hollering at each other. But this morning we quickly came up with a plan and got to work. 



Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 10, 2012 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Day 11& 12: Over the weekend and on Monday. . .

. . .most of the top came together. The most critical part was figuring out how to reglue the X brace. Go-bars apply pressure locally, and for that reason are a good method of glueing braces that might want to be somewhat forced into place.




To avoid crushing the already-shaped braces…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 9, 2012 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Day 8-10: While most of us did something either festive. . .

. . .or relaxing over the Independence Day holiday, Shin continued working on the Banjo Killer. The rim, having been thoroughly cleaned and all its glue removed, was ready for the side braces to be reglued.

We decided to use Titebond for most reassembly operations because Titebond is a better gap filling glue…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 6, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Day 7: Back Surgery. Today it seemed that we turned the corner. . .

. . . and really began the reassembly phase of restoring the Banjo Killer. One of our biggest reassembly problems is figuring out how to close numerous gaps that had opened up in the backstrip. The gaps have essentially reglued themselves in an open position, and cannot be closed with hand pressure. Cary Clements gets the "Houdini Of The Week" award for thinking up the solution to this one.…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 2, 2012 at 8:23pm — No Comments

Day 6: Beginning the reassembly

Today (Sunday) we began reglueing the linings, which were partially damaged or unglued by the flood. The treble side was in worse condition than the bass side.   




Added by Bourgeois Guitars on July 1, 2012 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

This morning we removed the back from the go-bar . . .

. . . and found it to be reasonably flat. Further cleaning with bleach warped it again, though into a concave shape and not a potato chip. We…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on June 29, 2012 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

One of the biggest problems we need to deal with . . .


. . . is straightening out a badly distorted back. Once a flat sheet of wood, the back now resembles an undercooked potato chip. After…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on June 28, 2012 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

We started the day with a consultation . . .

. . .between me, Shin, and Cary Clements, my most senior craftsman. Over the last ten years or more, Cary has been in on just about every tricky repair project the shop has had to deal with, and I wouldn't want to make an important decision without his input.

After consulting a website addressing mold eradication, that Shin turned us on to, we decided to try vinegar and borax. Other fungicides such as bleach are apparently better suited to hard surfaces; tea tree oil seems…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on June 27, 2012 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Day 2: Back off, dude!

Today we changed course a bit and decided to remove the bridge. I had intended to leave it in place, but one of the wings had become unglued and it became evident that removal would make brace regluing a lot easier. So off it came.…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on June 26, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Day 1: Shin Ichikawa arrived yesterday from Japan . . .

. . . We spent today looking at the Banjo Killer, photographing the flood damage, confirming a plan of action, and starting in on the daunting task of restoration.

The basic plan is to totally disassemble, then reassemble, the guitar, leaving as much of the original finish intact as possible.

Two big…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on June 25, 2012 at 4:00am — No Comments

Bourgeois Guitars to restore Bryan Sutton's Banjo Killer starting June 25.

Bluegrass great Bryan Sutton's original Banjo Killer was severely damaged in the Nashville flood of 2010.

Follow Dana's Blog as he, Shin Ichikawa and Cary Clements restore Bryan Sutton's historic "Banjo Killer" Slope D.…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on June 25, 2012 at 12:00am — No Comments

Press Release

Dana Bourgeois and Shin Ichikawa partner to restore Bryan Sutton’s historic “Banjo Killer” Slope D.


In May of 2010, the Cumberland River overflowed its banks, deluging large areas of Nashville after receiving nineteen inches of torrential rain over a two day period. Flood waters…


Added by Bourgeois Guitars on June 24, 2012 at 5:00am — No Comments

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