Custom Open-back Banjo #4 48

Completed August, 2007

(click any of the thumbnails for a higher-resolution photo)


Of all my inlay jobs, I may take the most pride in this "Dancing Fools" banjo. It's elaborate, yet rather subtle -- the abalone purfling lines that surround the perimeter are only .020" wide. You guessed it: another superb Gerry Snelson design. To hear a Skipper banjo, visit our Audio Video page.

Construction Photos


This inlay began with a sketch from Gerry. I broke it down into a paint-by-number-type scheme, then reversed it and fitted it to the headstock. Since this was my first banjo "tongue," I first designed the ebony insert and purfling lines on paper. Another minute detail was the engraved neck-heel inlay, much smaller than a dime and probably unnoticed by many.


A jury-rigged apparatus allows me to drill the neck stick at the proper angle, and it's tapered and fitted to both neck and rim.

Thanks for watching this project

All content and graphics © Skipper Custom Instruments