Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How to make a 2 string instrument from an oven pan ( panjo )

I made this instrument from an oven pan and spruce.

On a piece of 2x4 I designed the profile of the neck and cut it out on the bandsaw.

I used the disc sander, to shape the front of the neck.

I then marked the sizes of my round overs and started shaping the neck with my spoke shave.

I used a rasp to shape the areas that the spoke shave could not reach. For even more difficult areas, I used sand paper wrapped on a cylindrical marker.

I then used a center finder to mark the center of my pan.

I drilled a couple of holes. The pan is pretty hard steel, so I first drilled smaller holes and then opened them up with a step drill bit.

The neck is mounted on the pan with two large bolts. This technique is inspired by banjo making. In order for the neck to receive those bolts I drilled the holes.

I cut the bolts to size with my hacksaw.

I sanded the edge of the cut on my disc sander. I did that on the edges in a conical shape, in order for the nuts to get bolted on easily.

I then used 5 minute epoxy, to glue the bolts in the neck.

I drilled the holes for the tuning pegs.

I measured my scale at 58cm from nut to bridge, and used a fret calculator to find the exact positions of the frets.

I marked the positions of the frets with a pencil and used a saw and a miter box to cut the fret slots.

I then drilled the holes of the fret position guides. Two of them would act as pins to prevent the fretboard from slipping during the glue up.

For fret position inlays, I used bamboo sticks.

I trimmed the bamboo sticks flush, using my flush trim saw and a piece of paper to prevent the fretboard from getting damaged by the saw.

I then cut the fret wire to size and pushed the frets in place with a clamp and two stop blocks.

To secure the frets in place, I added two drops of super glue to their sides. 

I used my rotary tool, with a cutting disc to trim the frets to size. I then finished that job with a sanding block.

I used my wood burner to burn dots on the sides of the frets.

At this point I assembled the pieces of the instrument, that were ready.

Using my hack saw I cut a metal piece to act as string holder. I drill the holes needed and bended it to size on my vise by hammering it against a screw driver.

I added the tuning pegs, predrilled pilot holes and screwed the string guides in place.

Using the bandsaw and the disc sander, I made the nut and the bridge. I mounted both on the vise, and used a V shaped file, to open the slots for the strings.

My instrument was ready, I tuned both strings in A octaves.

I hope you like it!


  1. Hello! I saw your video on YouTube and I'd like to know
    what are the measures of the spruce that you used before cutting it, and why the fretboard must have the measure of 58 cm? Thanks a lot! Greetings from Lima Peru!

    1. The 58 is not necessary. You can use what ever scale you want. But in order to find the fret positions of your instrument you must have first decided the scale you cant! I cannot tell you the measurements of the spruce because I do not know them. I do not use measurements in general, I just use what I have!