This was a Gibson Trapdoor Tenor banjo that I made into a 5 String for Paul Heller.

He only had the lower part of the trap door and none of the hardware, so I had to improvise a few things!

This is the piece I had to work with:

The springs on the orriginal piece of trapdoor were broken, so I had to make some new ones.

Here's Benedict Koehler's method for creating a spring.

I used 24 gauge piano wire . First you get a piece of maple and make a hole the size of the wire.

Then you put nail a few inches away from the hole.

Put the wire in the hole and start wrapping it around the nail.

Oh yeah! You have to take the head off the nail,

so you can slide the spring off after you are done wrapping it!

I experimented with different numbers of wraps and different nail sizes, then

I epoxied the springs into the new lower part of the trapdoor.

Then connected the two (not an easy feat):


The next thing to make was the spring that holds the trapdoor open or shut.

My neighbor Paul Fitzgerald (an amazing gunsmith) of Hillrose Designs made me one out of steel,

which he then tempered to make it into a spring.

One side of the spring holds the trapdoor shut and the other keeps it open.


The knob is a piece of hardware I found at the local hardware store.

Here it is all finished!