Lots of people seem to like the bridges I make for my builds, and I've often said they're quite simple to make. It's not really my design - it's similar to a banjo bridge and there are a few other builders on CBN who use similar bridges. I've been meaning to do a how-to for a while, so here we go:

I start off with a bit of scrap wood, most likely an offcut from the fretboard. For these two I am using walnut and maple, but any hardwood is fine. The little bone pieces are from a 80x10x3mm bridge blank which I cut into 4 pieces. I mark the bridge's full length, then mark where to drill to make the slope on the top and the 'arches' on the bottom. I work out the height the bridge needs to be first, then subtract the 3mm for the bone and mark it out on the wood.

I carefully drill out the holes with the piece clamped to a scrap of wood to prevent tear out.

Now the bridges are cut out and are beginning to take shape. Next the bone pieces are glued onto the tops of the bridges. I use superglue for this.

The bone is glued on an the tape is removed. Time for some sanding.

I clamp a piece of 60 grit sandpaper to my bench and sand the bridge at an angle to blend the bone and wood, and to make a 'sharp' peak along the top of the bone. This is also handy for flattening the bottom of the bridge. the curves are done with the rounded corner of a sanding block.

These are both finished now after being sanded to 180 grit.

A few coats of Danish oil and they're done! Measure the string spacing you want to use and carefully file some shallow grooves with a triangle needle file.

I hope this has been of some use!

Views: 651

Tags: banjo bridge, bone, bridge, how to


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Comment by Bluesheart on December 31, 2014 at 11:46am

Excellent article and techniques!!

Comment by Wichita Sam on August 28, 2014 at 5:27pm

very nice.... a clear demo of how something that adds a lot of class to a build doesn't have to be difficult to do....

Comment by Richey Kay on June 26, 2014 at 2:00am

Thanks for the comments, happy to be of some help!

Comment by Jim Morris on June 25, 2014 at 10:07pm

Nice bridges! Thanks for the tutorial.

Comment by Sawbones on June 24, 2014 at 4:16pm


Comment by Suspect Device on June 23, 2014 at 10:49am

Very nice. I use a similar method when I make mine. Sometimes I laminate everything (bridge & saddle) into a "brick", drill the holes and slice on the table saw = multiple bridge blanks. Final carving/shaping goes pretty quickly.

Comment by Matthew Borczon on June 23, 2014 at 8:38am

That is really great and will be very helpful. Thanks

Comment by Richey Kay on June 23, 2014 at 3:51am

;) Cheers Kid!

Yep, took me a while but having a little extra 'meat' as you say is a good idea for fine adjustment. They might be quick to make but I'm loathe to have to start all over again for the sake of a small adjustment!

Comment by The Phrygian Kid on June 23, 2014 at 3:27am
Ps these also have a nice bit of extra 'meat' at both top and bottom, easy to kiss on the sander until it's 'just right' great work rich
Comment by The Phrygian Kid on June 23, 2014 at 3:26am
Very good. I personally found a lot more volume and tone from a decent neck pitch and one of these.

Great stuff.
Hint. The next step is ditching that centre 'foot' ;)

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