Halfmoon Banjo Works

"A-Scale Cherry 'Man in the Moon" Banjo," 2017. #5
Cherry 10" pot and neck, Ebony peghead overlay. Steel strings. Gotoh tuners. Workshop made, engraved tension hoop.

I've been working on this banjo off and on for more than four years, and am very happy with how it turned out. The shell inlay is inspired by the Cole 'Man in the Moon' banjo from around 1900.

A Scale MapleA Scale Maple pegheadA Scale Maple back

"A-Scale Maple 'Quaker' Banjo," 2011. #2
Curly maple 10" pot and neck, walnut peghead overlay. Nylgut strings. Grover Champion tuners. Workshop made tension hoop.

This is the second banjo I've built, and I've been delighted with its gentle tone. It is my main 'go to' banjo for playing at jams, on the back porch, and around the house. I'd originally intended to put a lot of pearl inlay on the fretboard, but once I added the peghead overlay, I was struck by the beauty of its simplicity - hence its 'Quaker' nickname.

A scale cherry banjo frontA Scale Cherry Banjo sideEli playing his new banjo

"A-Scale Cherry Banjo", 2012. #3
Cherry 10" pot and neck, birdseye maple peghead. Nylgut strings.Grover Champion tuners. Workshop made tension hoop.

I made this banjo as a present for my son, Eli.

Travel BanjoTravel Banjo Peghead

'Oak Leaf Travel Banjo', 2012. #4
Hand drum pot, cherry neck. Walnut peghead with wood veneer inlay. Nylgut strings. Grover Champion tuners.

I made this banjo for backpacking - it is much lighter than a 'regular' banjo, and has a quieter, mellow tone (perfect for not bothering nearby campers). I took this with me on a trip to South Manitou Island, and on numerous car trips around the state.

Pochette #1Pochette #1 peghead

'Wolfhead Pochette,' 2010.
I wanted to make a small fiddle for my son to take on his Boy Scout camping trips. This was my first attempt at such a violin - I designed it based upon images I found on-line, and added a carved wolf head on the peghead to give it some character. I like the way it looks, but its sound didn't live up to my expectations. Maple sides and back, spruce top.

Pochette #2 sizePochette #2

'Pochette', 2011. #2
Back at the drawing board to make a travel fiddle for Eli, I decided to purchase prepared plans from the U.K. luthier Owen Morse-Brown, which he based upon an historical example of a pochette. Maple body and spruce top. The bow is 1/8 scale, and the entire instrument fits into a plastic quiver used by bow hunters.

Rocket Banjo Rocket Banjo fretboard

'Rocket' Banjo, 2011. #1
Walnut pot and neck, wood and shell inlay. Metal strings. My first banjo.