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May 14, 2021 - 7:28:20 AM
317 posts since 12/7/2017

I stupidly broke the extension of the fretboard. I'd want to know the best way to fix it. What kind of glue ? This extension is very thin I plan to make a small support underneath fixed to the neck since there is room over the head due to the arch top tone ring. Should this support be made of wood or metal ? Glued or screwed into the neck ? Interested in any suggestion, thanks.

May 14, 2021 - 8:47:02 AM
Players Union Member



295 posts since 5/16/2017

I'm thinking dowels or a spline in the center of the fingerboard. You could drill through the broken piece horizontally into the fingerboard and glue in a couple of dowels. If you sink the dowels into the fingerboard and leave a recess, you could fill the recess with sawdust that matches the fingerboard material and you'd have an invisible repair. I'm eager to hear what the pros have to say.

May 14, 2021 - 9:21:49 AM

57384 posts since 12/14/2005

I would like to suggest a pair of tiny metal rods, drilled into the fingerboard.

If you're friends with your dentist, ask what's available in titanium, and how much for her or him to do the precision drilling.

May 14, 2021 - 9:26:17 AM

1668 posts since 4/13/2017

Some hot glue or duct tape should work nicely.

Seriously, what the others have said so far is a great idea.

May 14, 2021 - 9:55:35 AM

317 posts since 12/7/2017

I thought on this solution (tiny metal rod) but it's not possible because the break is not straight but with an angle, so it would be very difficult to drill the fretboard correcttly, secondly the fretboard is too thin, and there is a fret very close to the break, so no drilling possible.
That's why I'm thinking on a support underneath. The question is just what mterial, wood or metal ? Screwed or glued ?

May 14, 2021 - 10:11:26 AM

10911 posts since 4/23/2004

Certainly some support underneath would be good. Depends on how much room you have to work with underneath. Since it is an archtop, you may be able to run some support structure (like dowels) under the extension. I would not compromise the fretboard by drilling into it. Thin CA should do for the broken ends, just make sure you don't do anything to them, don't file or sand or anything, just pull it together and gently clamp it in position. A block on top of the frets will maintain alignment. Wick the thin CA into the break.

Certainly wood glue would work, I prefer CA for this kind of stuff as it isn't flexible when it cures. Either way, any support you can add will be a benefit.

Once the break is repaired, install a dowel (or two) glued under the extension, drilled into the heel of the neck about 1/2" (12mm) and extending out as far as it can without contacting the archtop section of the head. Size the dowel commensurate with the clearance you have under the extension. If there is a wedge of clearance in the archtop area, you could make a wedge-shaped piece to suit, counterbore it and screw or dowel it to the heel (glued to the underside of the extension).

Many ways to skin this cat. Play to your strengths.

It doesn't need to be bullet-proof, it just needs to be a little stronger than before. Extensions like this were a bad idea from the beginning. 

May 14, 2021 - 10:32:59 AM



1708 posts since 11/3/2016

Drill two two holes in the extensions first , unattached from the neck to accommodate small diameter carbon fiber rods available at hobby stores or online . If needed , make a jig so the holes are parallel w/ top surface & each other . I don't believe there is any danger drilling thru fret tangs --- very slowly .
Then hold the extension tightly against the break & thru drill the 2 holes about 1/2" into the FB . Put it all together w/ good epoxy wiping residue w/ alcohol , invert the neck on a flat surface & clamp flat w/ the joint on wax paper . Heavily weight extension attaching rubber bands both sides of neck from extension end to neck clamp . Residue FB epoxy will easily scrape off w/ single edge razor blade .

This is only a suggestion as to how I would fix it & my wife says I can fix anything & has complained to friends she never gets many new appliances for that reason ?

As Marc mentions , there are many ways to skin this cat ---( I think we were typing at the same time )

Edited by - heavy5 on 05/14/2021 10:39:49

May 14, 2021 - 12:29:03 PM



8611 posts since 6/5/2011

I'm more of a putterer than a repair person, but my initial thinking is to saw a slot across both ends of the broken fingerboard  [below the depth of the fret tangs??] .... would look like Mike's ^^ illustration... and then use a full-width hardwood spline instead of the tiny metal rods. The ends of the spline would need finishing, but I think I'd have better luck with a saw cut than precision hole drilling.  YMMV....good luck... please keep us up-to-date on how this cat gets skinned.

Edited by - Owen on 05/14/2021 12:32:19

May 14, 2021 - 12:35:58 PM

317 posts since 12/7/2017

Thanks everyone, I will try to do the job as soon as I can and will let you informed

May 14, 2021 - 1:45:38 PM

3061 posts since 2/18/2009

I agree that it is possible to drill through fret tangs, but what will happen next time those frets need to be replaced, if they are held down by carbon fiber rods? I think this could be addressed by removing the frets, and then cutting a notch in the tang for each rod before they are put back in, but I may be missing something.

May 14, 2021 - 11:11:03 PM

269 posts since 10/18/2020

in the second photo is the piece that broke off laying over top of the piece that it broke from ???

the two photos do not look like the same break

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 05/14/2021 23:12:42

May 15, 2021 - 4:35:54 AM

5612 posts since 12/20/2005

The break is relatively clean, and it somehow broke in an L shape. This is in your favor. It gives 2 surfaces.
If the ends are clean, not oily, I think you just glue it back with a good brand of epoxy. Naturally, you have to prepare everything just right but I think it would be sufficiently strong to hold it together.

May 15, 2021 - 11:01:26 PM

269 posts since 10/18/2020

I agree with Leslie R

If you do not mind me asking how did the break occur

May 16, 2021 - 12:16:13 AM

317 posts since 12/7/2017

I had to travel with several banjos, since this one had a bolt on neck, it was easy to disassemble and put it in a suitcase but I underestimated how fragile was the extended fretboard. The most incredible is that I even did not notice the damage when I re-put the banjo together and set it up until finding the broken piece, because the clean break is jut after the 19th fret, and I never play further. As is it's just a regular 19 fret tenor banjo, I also coult leave it as is, just cleaning the end of the fretboard, nobody will guess something wrong. In nother hand a simple regluing will be invisible, if not playing further than the 19th fret.

May 16, 2021 - 4:41:26 AM

5612 posts since 12/20/2005

If the structural integrity of this overhang is in doubt, if at all possible, I'd just clean up the end, and let it stay that way.
I've come to the opinion, they look great. But overhangs are more trouble than what you get out of them.

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