Build a Banjo Out of an Old Wagon Wheel

Graphic showing the carriage wheel and banjo built from it.

(Click the photo above to read the full build diary on

Building handmade heirloom instruments out of repurposed vintage items is an amazingly rewarding niche within the homemade music world.

I have made this style of building my special focus, and in this post I want to feature one of my most challenging and interesting builds: the time I took an old, partly rotted carriage wheel and turned it into an amazing tenor banjo.

This project took a lot of time and patience. The source wood I had to work with all came from the carriage wheel: specifically, the round spokes and the long curved rim. Turning these meager scraps into a playable instrument took some creative problem solving and a LOT of glue and clamps.

You can read the full builder’s diary of how I crafted this heirloom homemade instrument in the blog over at I hope that this creation inspires you to try your hand at creating your own heirloom instruments!