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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.

This photograph shows the two halves of the back weighted under a pair of heavy machine vises. Between each vise and the back is a plywood caul and a heat blanket. The blanket contacts the back. A pair of fitted cauls, the same thickness as the blanket, is held under the plywood by the weight of the vises. The cauls are cut in the inverse shape of the back and mate perfectly with its contour. A pair of pipe clamps squeezes the cauls--and the sides--together, while the back is heated. The whole mess is kept from buckling by the weight of the vises. 


We decided to force the halves together and leave them weighted and under pressure overnight. No heat has yet been applied. At the end of the day we removed the clamps and found that the gaps had closed about halfway. We reclamped and hope for good results tomorrow, when we will apply heat and glue. 




This 6 second video shows what happens when the pipe clamps are tightened. Good work, Cary and Shin!


Banjo Killer Restoration "Back Surgery" - YouTube

Before and after. The after photo, on the right, shows a good view of the sandwich of back, heat blanket, plywood and vise.














The other major activity of the day was to remove and reglue the endblock. This seemed pretty uneventful compared to back surgery.

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