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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
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Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

What are some good resources to go over before trying to file my fret ends ? I have two guitars to do. Ive been watching youtube videos and it seems theres a couple methods. Some people have a large bevel file and others use a small fret end file like the one I purchased from Stew Mac.

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools...sing_File.html

So the problem I have is that my necks have shrunk. So will this little guy do the trick ? I also have a 1200 grit fret eraser and the whole pack of sand papers that they sell. How should I start this project ?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 01:09 PM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

Learning how to do a refret and to dress frets is definitely on my to-do list, but the #1 resource I'd want before starting is a cheap neck to practice on.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 04:50 PM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

I would wonder if winter time is the right time to do a fret dress in case the wood expands again come spring?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 07:47 PM
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

Winter is the perfect time to do it. Otherwise you'll be shaving them back next winter.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 08:28 AM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

Good to know, I would've thought that if you did it in winter that the wood would expand past the fret ends come spring time. For someone living in the mid-atlantic, about what distance could a maple neck change against a fret end from season to season? Is rosewood similar?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 05:52 PM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

I recommend the book "Fret Work Step-by-Step" by Erick Coleman and Dan Erlewine (available on Amazon or on the StewMac webiste).

That book, plus some videos (back in the VHS cassette days) are where I got the "book learning" needed for doing fretwork. I do encourage you to practice on some junker necks though, to get a feel for the technique and the cut of the files first. I've seen junk necks on ebay for as low as $20 - $30 (including shipping).

However, before you file...

I always try a conservative approach first. Get your guitar back to proper humidity levels (50% - 55% RH) and keeping it there for 2-3 weeks solid. Sometimes, in minor cases of under-humidification, simply getting some humidity back into the wood is enough to eliminate the razor fret.

Note, however, that unless you KEEP your guitar at that humidity level, you'll continue to have this issue. So, be honest with yourself about whether you can do that or not.

Last edited by webmaestro; 02-11-2017 at 06:02 PM.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

I was talking with a luthier today and he gave me some great tips and advice. I just did a few of the frets and they feel great. I took my time of course and so far im happy with the result.

One question I have is what do I do with the frets that are over the body ?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 12:56 AM
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

There's only one thing you need to be, careful. And make sure they get a good polish,
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 04:16 AM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

Find yourself a reliable gopher and go at it!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-12-2017, 12:19 PM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorper View Post

One question I have is what do I do with the frets that are over the body ?
Mask-off & protect the body as best you can. Find some thicker paper, like 5 x 7 index cards, and put them on either side of the neck. Tape them in place with some low-tack tape (you don't want tape pulling finish off your guitar).

Then, just be very careful. You can still easily poke that file through the paper and scratch your finish.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 03:43 AM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

Check out those shields that StewMac have that are metal. They work great! I still use a bit of masking tape under it... but my fret polishes have been much easier with it. I use their erasers.

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools...rd_Guards.html
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 09:18 PM
 
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedot View Post
Check out those shields that StewMac have that are metal. They work great! I still use a bit of masking tape under it... but my fret polishes have been much easier with it. I use their erasers.

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools...rd_Guards.html
Unfortunately, those are no good for doing fret ends (which is what the OP is trying to do).

They're not bad for basic polishing though.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 09:43 PM
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

They're also not wide enough to fit over the Jescar jumbos used in Prestige [they're fine for 6105's]. So the very sharp edges of the cutout will scar the sides of the frets. Tape is all that is needed to mask the board.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
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Re: Got my tools. Time to do fret ends.

So the guy I was talking to at my local music store showed me a bunch of tools he uses. The bigger files for doing the job quicker, also the one with a 35' angle. I showed him the little fret end file I have and he said for someone whos starting out he recommends using that. Less chance of making a boo boo.

So, I started on my peavey and within about 7 or 8 frets I felt confident enough to tackle my S3040.

So I taped the body off and kept taping off the fret ends as I was moving around down the neck .

I started with filing the end in and than shaping it with the file. After I was finished I rubbed the fret eraser over it ( 1200 grit ). THan Went over it with the 6 oe 7 different polishing papers that came in the pack from Stew Mac. THe end result was very good. Im super happy with it. As I got down towards the 12th fret I was getting a better technique down and getting a real close to ball end on the frets.

Its probably not perfect to everyones standards but as a J Custom owner I know what good fret ends should feel like and I feel achieved a great feel to the guitar.

The white binding on the s3040 didn't make a noticeable mark like the plain rosewood if I did hit it with the file which made it alot easier but I still took the time to tape everything off.

I reckon I took to this quickly because I am used to working with metal on a day to day basis so it was rather second nature to me in terms of the shaping and filing. The biggest learning curve was to be careful not to damage the wood.

Ill try and post some pics later. Im glad I finally got the nerve to tackle more than a trem setup on my guitars. Through this community I learned that Truss rods are not a death wish :-) and fret ends are fairly simple :-). Win, win . . . Thanks alot guys.
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