Work Page 11-2020
1906 A.C. Fairbanks Whyte Laydie No.2

Restore as needed to preserve original patina
Replace skin head

Seal original case

INITIAL PICS
Repairs 
The instrument suffers in a few places which I will address.
The hide head was last replaced in 1919, and lived a long life.
I will replace it with a coveted vintage head from my cache.
I plan no refinish other than a restoration of the peghead overlay which is "ebonized" Pear wood.
It shows the normal degradation of that species.
When it dries out for 100+ years and is from a dry clime it will get many cracks and separations.
It basically turns into a powder at the least sanding, and it will be "conserved", using no sanding.
The key  with Pear is to not push on things thinking you will just push it back into place, it will crumble if you do.
The same thing is happening to the fingerboard and the celluoid binding, the shrinkage and cracking is evident in the pics. I have faced this many time and have a process to seal the board during the re-fret using the same cyanoacrylate glue.
I do not intend to change the binding, I am not restoring, I am conserving an instrument in as near it's original condition as possible.
That is no easier than making one look new.
I cleaned the rim with a damp cloth, and waxed it.
I buffed the hardware/waxed
Wire wheel on the steel hooks, only a few still have a vestige of plating
Then buffed and waxed them
The head...premium hide. And a banjo that deserves it. (Sorry Kev!)

1920s Ludwig and Ludwig, made specifically for 10-15/16 Vega
Since  A.C,. Fairbanks (later Vega) used this rim size, I was in luck. It is as near perfect as any I have ever seen out of 100s
I will clean the top lightly with my regular methods just to make it even whiter.
Crown is perfect medium
I sealed the peghead with #20 amber CA, until it is al wicked in and stable. Then I use acetone to melt off the excess, not sanding, to maintain the pearwood.
After that, I dye the pearwood and seal it with nitro.
No wood was removed, and any slight depressions will fill with finish and I will satinize it with fine wool so it is not too shiny.
 
Moving down the neck, it took nearly an entire 0z of #10 wicking n and under the board, to see it finally fill the voids.
I wiped down the excess and then uses #20 Amber for the final fill which will match the Pear the best. No sanding, using only acetone to melt away excess CA, taking care not to get it on any original patina
Then I added filler to the engravings andbegan to oil the board.
Now to move down the 2nd half.

11-14 - Final Assembly
Setup is nearing completion, things are settling back in, and final adjusments will follow.
I have not dressed the original frets yet, I want to see how it plays with the new setup first.
Any future work will be up to the person inquiring on it.
The bridge is probably more rare than the banjo, and that is  a fact.
It is called "Never Slip", patented around 1915 so perfect for this era instrument.
It has an abrasive on each foot, that was done by dipping it into a mixture that had an adhesive,
I have owned the bridge many years and its found a home, finally.
They are fragile, so one must take care moving it.

Next............the case restoration



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