Richard Starr’s wooden soundboard banjo doesn’t have as brilliant or as loud a sound as those with skin or plastic drum heads, but it has an appealing ker-chunky sound that is lovely for mountain-style clawhammer playing. The banjo’s structure is simple and it doesn’t require tensioning hardware. Start by drafting a pattern for top and side views of the instrument, and mark out the extension of the neck through the rim by drawing lines parallel to the centerline starting where the neck intersects the rim. This defines the width of the neckpiece and the shape of the rim halves. Starr goes on to explain how to make the frame, the soundboard, and the fingerboard; and how to carve the neck, make the fretting, and set up the banjo. He closes with advice on a good book to buy to learn to play!

From Fine Woodworking #53