Do not use the truss rod to adjust the neck – it just doesn’t have the strength to adjust the convex/concave neck orientation, but it does have the strength to maintain an adjustment made using appropriate tools.
What I did was use a Black and Decker Workmate and three appropriately-sized wooden blocks, after first slacking off the truss rod nut as far as possible, to set the neck’s orientation the way I wanted it to be.
Once I was happy with the convex/concave orientation, with the neck still in the Workmate, I tightened the truss rod nut to maintain that orientation.
The orientation that worked on this 12 string banjo was slightly convex when unstrung, which when strung with the 200 lbs. plus pressure of the 12 strings moved the neck into the ideal slightly concave position.
As the internet suggested, I followed the accepted technique (after Leadbelly) of de-tuning the 12 string by 3 semitones to lessen the string strain on the instrument. When I play Gus Canon’s/Rooftop Singers’ “Walk Right In” in A open positions, I’m actually playing F#, which is a comfortable fit for my baritone voice.
You can do it, with the appropriate tools and technique.
Regards …………… Glen
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