S. S. Stewart "Orchestra" No. 3, 5-string banjo, S/N 15681, Circa 1894
Sometimes my addiction to vintage banjos gets a bit out of hand. In this case, I bought (and paid too much for) a fine old S.S. Stewart Orchestra No. 3 banjo with half of the marquetry on the inside of the rim missing. I have no idea how this happened, since it proved to be quite a challenge to remove the remaining marquetry (I finally had to sand it off), but I set about trying to restore the banjo to original condition. After some searching, I contacted Original Marquetry, Ltd, in the UK, and they agreed to make a replacement marquetry band based on a photo I sent them of the marquetry still present on the banjo (see below) and the dimensions required. A couple of months later the marquetry arrived and I was astonished at how close to the original the replacement strip was. The banjo after restoration is shown below, and it is pretty much indistinguishable from an original example. Unfortunately, however, the whole project cost about $500 more than the banjo is worth, but it was fun in any case.
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