Made in the South Awards 2017

Deanocraft Custom Banjos

With an eye for detail and an ear for music, crafts runner-up Dean Robinson turns out beautiful instruments


Banjo from Deanocraft custom banjos.

You can identify a picker playing a Deanocraft Custom Banjo by the grin he’s sporting. Because the luthier Dean Robinson carefully considers each player’s specifications as he designs, hand carves, and assembles each instrument. The former CPA, who began woodworking as a child (and learned to play the banjo later in life), employs decades of experience to create beautiful pieces that produce stellar sounds. “Comfort is key,” Robinson says of the banjos, which take up to sixty hours to make. That’s why he innovated a flange (the circular band attaching the resonator to the head) that makes his banjos lighter and feel nicer sitting on your lap. His material choices are equally significant. American walnut or maple for the neck and pot provide the right tone, while exotic wood and shell inlays patterned on his love of the outdoors add eye appeal. “There’s no greater artist than Mother Nature,” he says.

>Banjos, $1,400-$3,000 from 


> Crafts winner: Hibiscus Linens
> Crafts runner-up: McKenzie Knife Company
> Crafts runner-up: Deanocraft Custom Banjos
> Crafts runner-up: Bluegrass Bookbinding

See all winners and runners-up