plumber's epoxy putty for leaky faucet?

I've got a three-handle shower with a hot-water tap that's been leaking for quite awhile now. The stem and seat look old and are pretty corroded, but I've been able to control it by simply replacing the washer every month or so. But the corrosion is getting worse, I guess, because a new washer doesn't do the trick anymore.
The problem seems to be the seat (if I've got my parts all straight). When I look inside, I can see that there's a gap corroded in the lip, if that makes sense. So the washer presses against this lip, but water still flows out around it. It looks a little like this, with the stem out, staring into the hole at the seat:
x x x x x x x
If I put packing around it it's a temporary fix, but after turning the hot water on and off a few times the packing comes loose and the leak is back. From what I can tell looking in there, it doesn't look like the seat is intended to screw out -- although I've never done this sort of work, so what do I know?
What I'm wondering is whether plumber's epoxy putty might be worth a try? I thought I might mold it around that gap and let it dry, so that the washer has something to seal against.
Of course, I could just call a plumber, and that's probably what I'll end up doing. But I thought a $2 putty solution might be worth a try, unless there's a serious risk of screwing things up worse.
Thoughts?
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Keep the putty out of the faucet body. The majority of seats can be removed with either a square or five point wrench (seat wrench) available at most hardware stores or plumbing supply houses. They do unscrew although some earlier models had seats that were pressed in place. If you look into the opening and see the center of the seat - define which one you need and remove it. When you put in a new one, put a little bit of pipe dope on the threads. Replace the washer and when you put the stem back in, be sure it's in the full open position. If it's that corroded and apparently you're choice at this juncture is not to replace it, get yourself some stem grease and apply it to the threads of the stem. Replace the packing and tighten your packing nut. This will prolong the life just a little bit longer.
Jim Mc Namara

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Thanks. I'd love to replace that worn seat, but I don't think it's the kind that unscrews. When I look in there, it's just a round hole -- no angles or slots I can see that would let a tool be used. (Again, I've never done this before, so I could be wrong). Assuming it's not the unscrewable kind, is this a job for a plumber? I'm happy to call one, as long as it's not the equivalent of calling an electrician to replace a light bulb.
Thanks for your help.

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If the seat is not removable get the seat resurfacing tool as was mentioned in another response. If you can see the "notch" in the seat, you'll have to work it pretty good. Once you've used the tool, I would recommend using a bevelled washer in lieu of a flat one. The seat tools work on minor problems with seats, but to get one "perfectly" flat is a job. The seat wrench is usually under $4 - so it wouldn't hurt to get one and give it a shot. Do you happen to know the brand of the faucet?
If all else fails, call your plumber - but let us know what you find out.
Jim Mc Namara
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I have to admit I didn't try the resurfacing tool. Looking at the seat, the metal is so chipped and corroded that I honestly don't think I've got enough good metal to resurface. (This has gone from a bad leak to a trickle to a small flow just in the last few days, by the way).
My wife, tired of watching it get worse every time I monkeyed with it, finally called the plumber. He told me the plumbing in there is about 40 years old and they can't get replacement parts for the faucets (guy at the hardware store said the same thing when I took the stem in; no visible brand name anywhere). The plumber recommended replacing it.
Because it's masonry behind tile, he figures it's a two- or three-hour job to chip everything out, and gave me a $350 quote for labor (I'm in Toronto, in case that seems out of line). We're going out to buy new faucets today, and we'll let him install them for us. (I'm in way over my head). In the meantime, I'm keeping the hot water turned off, otherwise we go through about a tubful of water every hour.
If any of this seems unreasonable to anyone, let me know. Otherwise, thanks for all the help.
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"Al Sponsor" wrote in message:

If he can't access the opposite side of the wall (behind the faucet) I suppose there are no other alternatives, Al.
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Al Sponsor) wrote in message

there's a place below that's hard to see which has a square or hex. A couple of standard size wrenches fit almost everything. The seat screws right out, seldom very tight. I made my own set of wrenches by grinding down allen wrenches after looking at the real tool in the store. The tool is tapered which makes it somewhat universal within a large size range. I seriously doubt you need or can succeed with plumber's epoxy for this standard maintenance procedure.
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On 8 Jul 2003 11:08:51 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Al Sponsor) wrote:

You can get a gadget called a seat-dressing tool that's used to resurface/smooth the seat. Here's one style:
http://www.ainspect.com/images/vlfig2.gif
It may or may not work, but they're pretty cheap and worth a try if the seat isn't removable. Replacing the seat would be better if it's removable.
jim ___ Have a home upkeep question? Try my help page. It's sort of an alt.home.repair FAQ. http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair
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I got tired of messing with mine a while back and just replaced the whole thing with a new single handle model.
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