As I write, it’s May 2020 and the coronavirus lockdown is ongoing. It’s been just over five years since I last ran a banjo building workshop, during the 2015 Easter holidays at Forfar Academy. For one reason or another, my planned build at Forfar Academy the following year didn’t go ahead and I haven’t re-visited the project for some time.
If you’re a teacher in a secondary school in or near Dundee: Angus; north Fife; east Perthshire; and would be interested in having me run a banjo building project in your school please get in touch. I’d also consider further afield depending on travel time / arrangements.
Commencing after the Easter Holidays, on 12th April, a small number of pupils will have the opportunity to build their own banjo, from scratch.
Workshop time will be programmed on Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, immediately after the school day. The cost will be £45 per person in total. This covers materials and banjo hardware used. The school may be able to subsidise this figure.
If you’re interested in building your own banjo, come along to an initial meeting in room 521 on Wednesday 9th March, to learn more.
The first Banjoworks workshop ran during the school Easter holidays, over nine days.
Three S1 pupils (twelve years of age) and one former pupil attended.
Two of the pupils, Daniel Gough and Robbie Ferguson, built their banjos, start to finish in the nine days.
One pupil, Scott Nicoll could only attend during the five days of the second week. He was provided with a partially formed neck, which allowed him to complete the remainder of the instrument within the time he had available.
The former pupil, Blair Robertson, attended during the first week. Unfortunately, his employer altered his work schedule for the second week and he was therefore unable to attend to complete his banjo. The partly completed components have been stored, in case he has the opportunity to attend a future workshop, to complete his banjo.
Faculty leader Bob Baldie was available throughout, and helped Robbie and Daniel prepare CAD drawings to laser cut their peg head inlays.
Yesterday I used the opens source programme ‘Inkscape’ to produce a CAD drawing of the instrument stand, and took the file to Forfar Academy. The file was converted for use with one of the department’s laser cutters. The stand’s components were then cut from a sheet of 4mm birch plywood.
This production method will be so much faster than cutting the plywood at the band saw, during the Easter holiday banjo construction workshop.
Forfar Academy may possibly host the first BanjoWorks workshop, during the 2015 Easter holidays. More information to follow.
The photo above was taken by Mr Baldie, head of the design technology faculty at the school, during a visit to his after school craft club on Wednesday 12th November 2014. Three of his pupils are shown trying out a few banjos.