Work Page 3-24
1960's Merlin
Longneck 5 string

An interesting design, and a rare piece of banjo history.
I traded for it with a nice fellow (Thanks Zach) because I had always had a passing interest as I do when I see other "outside the envelope" builds.
Made between 1963-1964 at the Merlin factory in Chicago. Only about 140 of these ever made.
I know of Tenor, 5 string, and long neck 5 string. Also some fancier models with more elaborate inlay and metalwork.
You can find history on them, if you know how to search.
Although they came with an aluminum neck back, which as I read about them, was not great when it was cold , or hot to the hands someone crafty,  made a super nice rosewood back for it. Well Done!
Rim is made of fiberglass.
When it arrived, it had some issues I wanted to handle, such as a loose fingerboard and back piece.
I did a sequence of the repair process since we may never see the inside of another.
Ready to clean residue
Stamped here and in the heel, most likely the serial number.
Board on, oiled, frets dressed
And here as well
Metal is clean, wood is oiled and polished
Ready to string
That is more like it.
Glued back in place
Strung to pitch, needs tweaking.
My observations were that it had a thin neck in general and that the string slots on the nut and the bridge needed a wider spacing. I took it as far as it would allow without pulling off, adjusted the neck for a 5/8 bridge and medium low action, put an NOS Hamilton capo on it, adjusted the head, and it seems to play out just fine with a very good tone.
I will have to get it into the hands of some of my 5 string pals to see what it will do.
I added a strap to it so it could be held easier.
The 3 threaded holes in the neck were for strap holder placement, I am told by a Merlin expert. Something Pete Seeger came up with, to find the right balance point for an individual. They can be seen in the pics.
Also, it must have had a resonator, there were attachments still on it. One, I used for the top strap mount.

Another observation, smoothest tuners one could imagine.
You would think they would slip they are so smooth.

Also, original hardshell case,,,,BONUS. Someone already did a decent job of putting some new foam/fabric in it, just needs a little more glue in places, and some nice wedges, and a new handle attached.  

Thanks for looking and sharing,