Archive for May, 2011

Mountain banjo complete. $350 plus $25 shipping

May 26, 2011

I just strung up this beautiful mountain banjo today. It took me a bit longer to get done than I planned, but the extra time put in really shows. The hand-rubbed oil finish is flawless. The grain pops and shines. I went with an old Gibson style for the peghead as opposed to my traditional peghead design.

It doesn’t get any better than this. This banjo is top of the line. It plays like a dream and sounds awesome. If you’ve never played a fretless banjo you need to play this one.  I will include two different sized bridges so you can adjust for humidity changes.

Check it out on banjohangout: http://www.banjohangout.org/classified/22171

-solid walnut

-bone nut

-brass hardware

-steel strings

-frailing scoop

-goat skin head

-my own special simplified pot design

-100% handmade, including the pegs, bridge and nut

Silver Dust in the Grain

May 20, 2011

Hand-sanding is slow work, especially on a hardwood. I hand sand all of my banjos. Electric sanders work great but I feel like they don’t allow me the control I need over the grain.

My dad gave me a small chunk of silver a while ago and I’ve been trying to figure out how to create a fine enough dust to rub into the grain. I don’t know enough about the process yet to get any real results. I sprinkled a little bit over the fingerboard of one of the mountain banjos today, and tried to rub it into the grain. I couldn’t tell if any of it set in.

This piece is one of the best examples I could find on the web. Silver dust is an awesome finishing touch. I’m going to keep experimenting until I get what I’m looking for. It would certainly help set Carver banjos apart from the rest.

Over the years…

May 19, 2011

I started building banjos when I was sixteen years old. I felt like they were decent enough to sell by the time I was seventeen. I’m nearly 23 now and I’ve been building ever since. I’ve now sold over 60 banjos and probably built close to 75.

Here is the workshop. Its the messy back half of my parent’s garage. The only electric tools I use are a bandsaw, table belt sander, drill press, hand router, and a handheld jig saw. They are all I need. You can have all the fancy equipment you want but what good is it if you don’t need it? I use a few hand tools as well: a 1″ chisel, a few files and rasps, and sand paper.

I dug two of my first banjos out of my closet today. I robbed the skin and strings off of them years ago.

Wow, let me tell you, these things are rough. Yes, that black thing is a frying pan. I had a piece of plywood on top as a soundboard. Surprisingly, this thing played nice, even with the paperclip wire frets. The other banjo was a tackhead, but the skin was droopy and the tacks cracked the flimsy pot in many places. I played both of these a lot, but I knew they weren’t the best. The necks were cut out of old 2×4’s with a hand saw and then shaped with a bench grinder.

I’ve always made my own pegs, but I’ve really come a long way in the past three or four years. It took me years to develop the peg blank that I use now. They kind of  slowly evolved over time into something I am quite pleased with.  I start with a blank that is the general shape of the peg then turn it down on the side of my belt sander. It used to take me nearly an hour to make five pegs. Now, I can crank out about 20 in the same time.

I’m always improving my banjo designs. Who knows how different they will be in five years?

Head for the hills! The mountain banjos are coming.

May 18, 2011


Here are the beginnings of a couple of walnut mountain banjos. These are the flagship banjos of Carver Banjos. Made out of 100% walnut with a flawless finish and steel strings. These banjos are LOUD. These banjos are DURABLE. Keep an eye out for these they will be done in a few days.

The Carver Mountain Banjo is based off the banjos featured in Foxfire 3. I made a few simplifications to the design by eliminating the need for the inner rim piece.

When I first heard the mountain banjo I was intrigued. I didn’t know they existed. I started doing some research and found out as much as I could about them. They are so simple, so beautiful. The tone is completely unique; tinny yet somehow warm.

Here is one of my favorite mountain banjo clips:

The Summer of Banjos Begins!

May 13, 2011

**SOLD**Pine Minstrel Banjo for sale at Banjo Hangout!

May 13, 2011

An affordable, great sounding banjo! Lightweight and yet quite loud for its size. This minstrel banjo is a class act.

See more pictures at Banjo Hangout.

Golden Pine Mountain Banjo for sale at Banjo Hangout!

May 13, 2011

An affordable banjo made from one solid piece of pine. Coated in oil to give it that special “golden” look.

Check out the detailed ad at Banjo Hangout.

**SOLD**Another Tackhead Banjo for sale at Banjo Hangout!

May 13, 2011

Here we have another tackhead banjo currently available for purchase at Banjo Hangout. The two are almost twins!

Check out more details here.

Tackhead Banjo for sale at Banjo Hangout!

May 13, 2011

A beautiful tackhead banjo. It sounds great and plays great, what more could you ask for?!

Check out details and more pictures at Banjo Hangout.

**SOLD**Minstrel Banjo for sale at Banjo Hangout!

May 12, 2011

A stunning brass fingerboard and contrasting woods combine to make this banjo quite the character! Check out full details and more pictures over at Banjo Hangout.