This is what I assume to be a early 1900's Bruno banjo uke. It's such a cool instrument, but it needed quite a bit of work to get it back into playing condition.
It was missing a nut, bridge, tailpiece, and a few parts for the dowel rod to adjust neck angle.
The first step was to disassemble it and see what I was really getting into.
It looks like someone was doing a little "artwork" on the inside of the head. So I cleaned that up, and tightened the head to proper tension..... On a banjo style instrument, the head tension can affect the tone quality dramatically...
Next I re-installed the neck, attached the missing neck brace, and tightened it up.
Next was the tailpiece. I ran into a little snag with the length of the tailpiece bolt. Normally this tailpiece is for a banjo which have a deeper pot, so I had to shorten it. In a later pic you will see it shortened.
Next was a nut. I made one from a blank piece of bone. This is by far the most time consuming part of the repair. It takes quite a bit of time to size the nut to the proper dimensions. A properly shaped nut is absolutely critical to any instrument. A poorly fit nut can cause many issues.
This is about halfway in the nut making process. The next step is to slot the nut to accept strings.
Here is the nut all shaped with strings installed. If you notice there is an extra hole right in the middle of the headstock. I assume someone tried making it into a 5 string at some point in its long history. I decided the best thing to do was just leave it alone. It would have been a lot of work to try and plug it and make it hidden... It just was not worth it..
And this is the final result. It turned out so good and sounded amazing!