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Jul 23, 2021 - 10:13:22 AM
824 posts since 1/21/2004

One of my frets is buzzing.  I’d do a complete fret job, but I have neuropathy and it limits what I can do with my hands.  I think I could dress the frets with the limitations of my hands, but a complete fret job is out of the question.  Additionally, I have replaced the frets on this banjo six or seven times over the fifty plus years I’ve been playing this banjo and getting new frets in a really tired fretboard is beyond the current ability of my hands.


I was thinking of mixing brass/bronze filings/dust with epoxy and filling the divot(s) with that and then dressing the fret.


What type of epoxy should I use?  Will that work?  Any other suggestions?


TIA

Heavythumb

Jul 23, 2021 - 11:03:04 AM
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lapsteel

Canada

606 posts since 8/13/2015

This would make a huge mess that you would still have to dress .
Epoxy and metal filings would not last too long.
J & B Weld is a good epoxy but its colour is grey.
Get a buddy to help you with a refret. Then you can enjoy a nice cool one after the job is done.

Jul 23, 2021 - 11:19:18 AM
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rcc56

USA

3706 posts since 2/20/2016

If the fret is deeply grooved, it will have to be replaced. I don't know of any technique of filling a groove in a fret that is effective. And if there is a way to do it, it would probably take more time and trouble than it would to pull and replace the fret.

If you can no longer do the work yourself, someone else will have to do it. Unless you have multiple loose or uneven frets or your fingerboard is no longer reasonably level, a good fret man should be able to restore the banjo to good playing condition by replacing only a few frets.  There must be someone in the northeast who can handle a partial re-fret on an old instrument without charging you a king's ransom.  If you were in my part of the country, I would give you a senior discount.

Wallowed-out fret slots can be handled in several ways. They can be partially filled and re-cut. Or, in the old days, we used to ding the back of the tang of a fret with a sharp tool to help it to grip in an oversized slot. Stew-mac now makes a tool that will crimp the tang of a fret, making the job a lot easier.

Edited by - rcc56 on 07/23/2021 11:27:11

Jul 24, 2021 - 3:41 PM

1575 posts since 2/9/2007

I once used hard solder to build up a couple of badly worn frets on a friend's mandolin banjo. Once it was filed into shape it looked great, and it worked fine for the week or so I had it around. I don't know how long the fix lasted, but I didn't expect the solder to be nearly as hard as nickel silver fret wire....

I doubt that JB Weld (or any other metal-dust/epoxy mix) would be any more durable, though.

At best a very temporary repair, either way.

Have you considered stainless frets?

Jul 26, 2021 - 3:43:12 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14498 posts since 8/30/2006

It's impractical, but epoxy is a good idea, and don't you know we would have tried it if it was workable.

I made a 48" x 60" garden chain link gate frame using top rail and epoxy about ten years ago.

He has neuropathy, so mobility is an issue. The banjo is willing .

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