If you have a string instrument of any kind that needs fixing, a mistake you made in building a new instrument that you need to "disappear," or a question about the ethics of altering an older instrument, ask here. Please note that it will be much easier for us to help you decide on the best repair method if you post some pictures of the problem.
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I'm repairing a mandolinetto (a ukulele size instrument played like a mandolin)for a friend. It's maybe a hundred years old and made by Bruno of NY. It has some badly worn frets that should be replaced to make it playable. Does anyone know of a source for these bar frets ( they measure about .038"wide)
You could check with T. J. Thompson, he has and sells bar fret stock... however, you'll probably have to hand file each fret to fit the slot, so you might as well start out with frets that are too thick. Also, you can often "lift" the frets; pull them out and then put them back in but not as deep, or flip them over so the worn side is down. Some people put wooden shims under them, but when they fit just right, they don't really have to go all the way to the bottom of the slots, and for good measure, may of us glue them in the slots to help them stay put anyway.
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Depends on the brass, of which there are many alloys. Industry standard frets are mostly brass with some nickel added for the silver coloration. Brass frets have been used for many years mostly on inexpensive instruments like the lower grade Harmony instruments.
You could buy nickel silver sheet and cut your own bar frets. The sheet comes in various thicknesses and is sold in small quantities for the hobby trade. It cuts easily with a metal cutting blade on a bandsaw. A hacksaw would also cut it fairly well.