Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

397
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Nov 9, 2018 - 12:41:34 AM
262 posts since 10/2/2017

Planning a refret soon. Need some experienced advice. Do I need to remove the neck and tuning peg? How do I remove the 5th string pip and spikes without damage. Thanks in advance. Also, if there are any detailed websites on the order of doing things would be a help to.

Nov 9, 2018 - 5:44:52 AM
likes this

326 posts since 12/9/2010

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you shouldn't need to remove the spikes. After, the spikes should be no higher than the adjacent frets, and so the fret leveller shouldn't interfere with them unless they're too high. 5th string peg might need to come out, but it should just tap out with a mallet and a block of wood unless it's been glued in too enthusiastically. If it's loose when you put it back then just put a drop of glue.
The biggest problem is the pip.
I wasn't doing a full refret but when I fret levelled a couple of my banjos, I did the area under the four long strings with my block to level them and then did the area under the 5th string by working up from the pot end of the neck essentially biassing the pressure of my hand so as to only really sand the remaining high area. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter if the frets aren't absolutely perfect under the 5th string unless you fret it much.

Nov 9, 2018 - 5:46:03 AM

326 posts since 12/9/2010

Shouldn't need to take neck off any more than you would in a guitar, just put some cushions under it for support

Nov 9, 2018 - 6:00:22 AM
likes this

beegee

USA

20886 posts since 7/6/2005
Online Now

For a total refret, I prefer to remove the neck, spikes, nut and pip. That allows me to level and true the fingerboard without obstruction. If a partial refret and full fret dress, I leave all that stuff intact with neck attached.

To remove the spikes, frets and pip, take a small, flush cutting nipper and regrind the face so they truly cut flush, and GENTLY pry the spikes and pip out. If the pip is wedged or glued in, it may break, so be prepared for that possibility by having a replacement on hand.


 

Edited by - beegee on 11/09/2018 06:01:39

Nov 9, 2018 - 6:50 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

If the pip is glued in and it snaps off , would drilling it out then be the best option?

Nov 9, 2018 - 6:51:08 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

I'm a bit nervous about removing the 5th string peg. Could I get away with leaving that in?

Nov 9, 2018 - 6:55:45 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

I have some Jascar 43080 SS fret wire as I going to refret with SS. However I also have some 47095 ss. Would fitting the larger frets be better. Heard a lot about bigger frets making it easier to play.

Nov 9, 2018 - 7:29:32 AM

5081 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by Banjojono

I have some Jascar 43080 SS fret wire as I going to refret with SS. However I also have some 47095 ss. Would fitting the larger frets be better. Heard a lot about bigger frets making it easier to play.


I've heard that argument, but I've also heard it's not always true and that bigger frets is mostly a matter of personal taste and personal playing techniques. Some people prefer small frets, and if that's what you are used to, bigger frets might be uncomfortable for a time.

There could also be other issues to think about, such as the way the banjo looks with large frets, and that too tall frets can cause some intonation problems for heavier-handed players.

The final choice is up to you, of course, but do take all factors besides the claimed-by-some "ease of playing" into account.

Nov 9, 2018 - 7:49:16 AM

rcc56

USA

1836 posts since 2/20/2016

If this is your first fret job, I strongly recommend against using stainless steel fret wire. It is more difficult to work with than nickel-silver.

The 5th string peg can be difficult to work around, but sometimes it can be left in.  If you try leaving it in, remove the button and any washers or bushings before you start driving frets.

Heat the frets and spikes with a soldering iron as you're pulling them, and be patient and methodical.

For on-line articles on the re-fretting process, go to frets.com.  Getting some hands-on training from an experienced repairman would be better.  There are a lot of things that books, articles, and videos can't really demonstrate accurately.  Or try practicing on a cheap guitar that's ready for the dumpster.

Edited by - rcc56 on 11/09/2018 08:00:03

Nov 9, 2018 - 8:35:15 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

Yes. I'm practising on a cheap banjo that I have first. I'm also going to use an arbor press so I won't be hammering them in (maybe just each edge).
I will be using ss, as I only want to do this once and they last 10 times as long as ns.
I heard that bigger frets mean that you don't need so much pressure to fret the note and makes it much easier to play so I may go with the slightly larger frets. Anyone else find this?
However, I will double check the depth of the fret slot to make sure they will fit first.
As mentioned. I intend to practise on a cheap old banjo first.

Another question. When you guys run your 30 degree file along the edges of the cut off frets, does this ever damage the binding. Is it just experience tells you that it's filed back enough?

Nov 9, 2018 - 9:27:34 AM

776 posts since 1/9/2012
Online Now

I'm certainly an amateur but big on DIY. I've done two complete refrets and replaced a good many worn singles. The piece of advice that comes to mind pertains to removing the old ones. Typically, there's a lot of chipping in the process. Some on-line advice says it's not "whether" but "how much." The best trick I found involved using a gun soldering iron to heat the frets. You take a standard tip and cut off the very end so that two separate prongs remain. Separate them to the length of your shortest fret and file notches in the ends so that they sit on a fret without easily sliding off. Heat until it smokes or steams just a bit. This method heats the fret through and through and won't accidentally char the finger board.

Good luck. It's very satisfying when it works. ;)

Nov 9, 2018 - 9:29:13 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

21382 posts since 6/25/2005

Check out Frank Ford’s sites frets.com and frets.net. Lots of good info and pix.

Nov 9, 2018 - 10:28:54 AM

Waldguy

Canada

249 posts since 4/27/2013

I second the use of a split tip soldering iron to heat the frets. Depending on your gun, it can heat very quickly so don't over do it.

Big frets vs regular -- you won't really know 'til you try! Either works.

With SS, just make sure each fret is flush and well seated to the fretboard before final installation. There's no forgiveness.  EVO is also an option to stainless if you don't mind the slight yellow color.

One of the sites I used for reference is here:
fretnotguitarrepair.com/repair...tting.php

Edited by - Waldguy on 11/09/2018 10:29:37

Nov 9, 2018 - 11:58:09 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

I practised today removing a fret from my cheap banjo that will be my experiment. I heated the fret with a soldering iron and used my flat nippers to start the end. I then slid in a chip stopper and worked my way across sliding the chip stopper forward as I went. As I got towards the end part of the fret lifted before I had time to slide the chip stopper forward some more, so this resulted in some small chips breaking up.
This was my first attempt and gave me a bit of confidence to certainly continue doing the rest later.
My plan on this guinea pig banjo is to go through the entire process of refretting and hopefully gain knowledge and skills in the process.

Nov 9, 2018 - 12:03:34 PM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

Do you guys always glue your frets in? Or is this not a necessity?

Nov 9, 2018 - 12:55:07 PM

Waldguy

Canada

249 posts since 4/27/2013

Mostly, as you will have noticed, the slots tend to fragment a little as you pull out the original frets. This can create a slot a little too sloppy for the new frets (depending on the thickness of tang and barbs on the new frets).

A little thin superglue is just good insurance and doesn't create a problem with removal -- the bond breaks with heat; it's just a little smelly.

If the frets go in super tight, you may not need glue, but you may have a problem with the combined pressure bowing the neck, so you don't want that either. If that's the case, adjustments to the barbs on the new frets are necessary.

Nov 9, 2018 - 2:39:31 PM
likes this

rcc56

USA

1836 posts since 2/20/2016

1. If you're going to use an arbor press, it is better to remove the neck from the banjo. You will still need to follow with a hammer or the frets may not seat well enough. Then you would have much more difficulty levelling them without taking too much off the tops of the frets.

2. Work your pullers across slowly and rock them only slightly. If the fret releases at one end, don't hurry the job. Avoid pulling up on a fret, and do not pull up at an angle. Even if you're really good, you may still have to patch a few small chips-- it comes with the territory.

3. The fret slots will need to be cleaned out. On an unbound board, this can be done with a slotting saw. On a bound board, I use a Dremel mounted in a routing base and a tapered bit to give me about a .020"to .022" cut. I try driving one fret, and if the slots are too narrow, I make an extra pass with the Dremel.

4. I avoid the use of superglue on a re-fret job. I have several reasons for this, but the biggest one is that it makes future re-frets more difficult. That is because it makes it harder to clean the slots. Also, I don't like the fumes that are generated when I pull the frets with heat. I glue my frets with Titebond liquid hide glue. Yellow glue such as Titebond Original also works well. I only use superglues for loose fret ends.

5. There are several techniques for beveling fret ends. I use an industrial double grit file in a slotted file block that is designed to hold the file at a specific angle. I use the coarse side until I get close to the binding, then I switch to the fine side. When I hit plastic, I stop. If any individual ends are still overhanging, I take care of them free-hand with a smaller fine cut file.

6. Again, I strongly discourage beginners from using stainless steel. The harder the fret, the more difficult it is to drive it flush and get a good seat. For a first refret on a banjo, I recommend Stew-Mac # 147.

7. If you can find a luthier who will at least let you look over his shoulder while he does a fret job, it will be of great benefit to you.

8. Read all of Frank Ford's fretting articles at frets.com three times, then read them again. Some of my techniques are slightly different [we all have our preferences], but his work very well, and the articles are well detailed and well photographed.

9. If you are fretting a bound fingerboard, invest in Stew-Mac's tang nippers. They are well worth their it in labor saved. Mine paid for themselves in time saved 1/3 of the way through the first job I used them on.

Nov 9, 2018 - 3:04:03 PM
like this

rcc56

USA

1836 posts since 2/20/2016

I will add that I have done a couple of hundred fret jobs. In the old days, we were flying blind on many aspects of repair work and trying to figure it out as we went along. My early work was not very good-- loose or uneven frets, too much taken off the top in the levelling process, bad chipping problems, etc. I would have greatly benefitted if good training had been available to me.

Get to know your local luthier. Many of us are at least reasonably friendly and willing to give at least some help to beginners. It will save you a lot of botched work and hair-pulling.

Nov 10, 2018 - 1:41:25 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

I will add that I have done a couple of hundred fret jobs. In the old days, we were flying blind on many aspects of repair work and trying to figure it out as we went along. My early work was not very good-- loose or uneven frets, too much taken off the top in the levelling process, bad chipping problems, etc. I would have greatly benefitted if good training had been available to me.

Get to know your local luthier. Many of us are at least reasonably friendly and willing to give at least some help to beginners. It will save you a lot of botched work and hair-pulling.


Unfortunately in the UK luthiers are few and far between and certainly none local to me. That's why I need to learn and practise on this old banjo neck first before attempting my good banjo. That's the reason i'm using SS, as I don't want to be doing it again in 3 years. SS lasts 10 times as long. I watched a video of a guitar guy using pva glue that wipes off. Also saw a tip where the fret board was waxed before glueing to make it easier to wipe off glue. Some people seem to use lemon oil before removing frets as it help the wood to release the fret with less chance off fragments.

Nov 10, 2018 - 1:42:25 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

quote:
Originally posted by rcc56

1. If you're going to use an arbor press, it is better to remove the neck from the banjo. You will still need to follow with a hammer or the frets may not seat well enough. Then you would have much more difficulty levelling them without taking too much off the tops of the frets.

2. Work your pullers across slowly and rock them only slightly. If the fret releases at one end, don't hurry the job. Avoid pulling up on a fret, and do not pull up at an angle. Even if you're really good, you may still have to patch a few small chips-- it comes with the territory.

3. The fret slots will need to be cleaned out. On an unbound board, this can be done with a slotting saw. On a bound board, I use a Dremel mounted in a routing base and a tapered bit to give me about a .020"to .022" cut. I try driving one fret, and if the slots are too narrow, I make an extra pass with the Dremel.

4. I avoid the use of superglue on a re-fret job. I have several reasons for this, but the biggest one is that it makes future re-frets more difficult. That is because it makes it harder to clean the slots. Also, I don't like the fumes that are generated when I pull the frets with heat. I glue my frets with Titebond liquid hide glue. Yellow glue such as Titebond Original also works well. I only use superglues for loose fret ends.

5. There are several techniques for beveling fret ends. I use an industrial double grit file in a slotted file block that is designed to hold the file at a specific angle. I use the coarse side until I get close to the binding, then I switch to the fine side. When I hit plastic, I stop. If any individual ends are still overhanging, I take care of them free-hand with a smaller fine cut file.

6. Again, I strongly discourage beginners from using stainless steel. The harder the fret, the more difficult it is to drive it flush and get a good seat. For a first refret on a banjo, I recommend Stew-Mac # 147.

7. If you can find a luthier who will at least let you look over his shoulder while he does a fret job, it will be of great benefit to you.

8. Read all of Frank Ford's fretting articles at frets.com three times, then read them again. Some of my techniques are slightly different [we all have our preferences], but his work very well, and the articles are well detailed and well photographed.

9. If you are fretting a bound fingerboard, invest in Stew-Mac's tang nippers. They are well worth their it in labor saved. Mine paid for themselves in time saved 1/3 of the way through the first job I used them on.


I'm suprised you mention I may still need to hammer the frets after using a fret press as I thought that was the whole point in using a press.

Nov 10, 2018 - 6:06:06 AM
likes this
Players Union Member

rudy

USA

12988 posts since 3/27/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Banjojono

Planning a refret soon. Need some experienced advice. Do I need to remove the neck and tuning peg? How do I remove the 5th string pip and spikes without damage. Thanks in advance. Also, if there are any detailed websites on the order of doing things would be a help to.


Removing the neck is so easy I can't think of any reason you'd want to leave it in place.  One of the huge advantages to removing the neck is that it then becomes so easy to move around of clamp in a padded vise to do the re-fret effectively.

The subject of re-fretting is too complex to really answer here, but there are tons of helpful websites and Youtube videos to demonstrate how its done.

A few tiny points:

Use a small squeeze bottle to run a tiny bead of Original Titebond in the actual fret slot.  For fretting this is really about lubing the slot and not so much about "gluing in the frets".  Water is often parroted, but it's not particularly good because it swells the wood fibers exposed by the tang slot too much.  The glue bottle I use is readily available and the bead of glue is small enough that you don't have any squeeze out to clean up if you're careful.

I used to press frets and switched to hammer years ago, finding the hammer to give me much better control of the fretting process and allowing me to use the perfect amount of force and direct it where needed.  Pressing frets sounds really good in theory, but during actual fret installation there are enough variables in the process that the "one size fits all" fret press doesn't deal effectively with that.  Pressing doesn't allow the subtile tactile feedback that you get from using a small hammer.

Having the neck off the instrument also makes it easy to back up the neck with a shot or sand-filled bag so the frets can be easily driven.  You really don't want the neck to "bounce" while frets are installed.

I dislike working with stainless frets for a number of reasons, but one thing you hardly ever see mentioned relates to how frets are manufactured.  The material is formed by drawing it through a series of dies and due to the hardness of the stainless material the inner corner that forms between the tang and crown has a larger radius than nickel silver or EVO wire.  That small radius makes seating the frets to the board more difficult, and in some cases the base of the crown doesn't lay flat to the board.

Unless you work with stainless a bunch then your results may be less than satisfactory.

I LOVE EVO.  It technically sits half-way on the hardness scale between NS and stainless, but in the real world most EVO jobs are going to outlive the player.  It looks great, feels great, is relatively easy to work, doesn't destroy good tools, and seats easily to the board.  Once in a while something comes along in life that is just too good to pass up.  For me, it was first my wife, and now EVO.  I won't use any other wire.

Here's a few of my essential fretting tools:

I prefer to do the fret bevels until I start beveling the actual board, that makes for a tiny recess of the fret ends and ensures the edges won't bee felt as you run your thumb and fingers along the board edge.  They get sanded afterwards, and end up feeling like the famous Fender "rolled edge".  You'll also want to practice rolling your fret ends, and my Youtube video demonstrates how to make your own safe edge file to do that, as well as beveling, filing, and finishing.

Fretting is WAY to complex a task to explain or demonstrate in a single topic post, but hopefully this hits a few high points; rcc56 spells out a lot of the essentials though.

Edited by - rudy on 11/10/2018 06:15:06

Nov 10, 2018 - 7:14:49 AM

262 posts since 10/2/2017

Thanks for the great info. As I mentioned, I will try out this ss first on my cheap banjo and if as you say it ends up unsatisfactory because of the problems you mentioned I may go for evo. Thanks again.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.25