Stainless Steel Frets on a Banjo

I’ve started back working on my banjo project. I got the Padauk fretboard and headstock overlay glued to the neck, levelled, and am starting to get the frets installed. For this banjo, I decided to use stainless steel frets since I’ll likely never need to replace them. I’m using Jescar Medium/Medium (.043x.080) Stainless Steel Fret Wire. It was cheaper to buy a small quantity (6ft) on Amazon than from either StewMac or Jescar directly.

This has been pretty slow going since I’m using a belt grinder to grind and “dome” each fret to length. I’m then using a Jeweler’s Buffer to polish them before installation.

I don’t have a fret press and am not sure that it would help a lot since this is a compound radius fretboard (7.5″ to 11″). I’m using a brass hammer to tap the frets in and have a cheap neck rest to support the neck. It seems to be working well. I will likely use some thin superglue on them also. This should wick into the slots and make them rock-solid. This can be removed using heat later also without much trouble.

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