Last night I rubbed out the finish with P600, P800, and 0000 steel wool and paste wax and got the banjo back together again. It was only a couple months torn down, but it felt like I hadn't played in forever!
I love the satin look.
I had one very big surprise during assembly. The head had shrunk beyond belief, which meant I still can't use my nice set of Rickard brass hooks and nuts. So for now it's assembled with the extra long steel hooks. I think the fix is going to be a new head with a higher crown. Then I can assemble again with the hardware it was designed for, and then it will be really done.
But as of this moment the hard work is all done, and I am completely thrilled with how it came out. Here's a set of phone pics. We'll make some better ones with a real camera once the head/hardware issue is sorted out.
Oh, and somehow it sounds better than ever, too. I'm not sure why. Maybe the tailpiece is more solidly connected due to one change I made with its bolt mounting bracket.