#1
i was wandering ebay today and ran across 2 fingerboards for $6. so i got them. now ive never put frets in a guitar, however i spent a good part of the day doing my research on what all needs to be done.

my question is whats the cheapest way, or i should say the tools i NEED to have. leveler? i have a flat 12" sharpening stone, will that work? hammer? will a metal one with a cloth wrapped around the head to not ding the frets work? or placing a block or somehting to keep the metal/metal to a minimum? crowning? bite the bullet and buy the $50 stewmac tool?

i know im forgetting something, help me. i got 2 boards, neither are for a "good" build, they are not the scale or number of frets i want. ones gonna end up on my 100gbp build probably, the other... we'll see.
#2
In our shop we used a $0.50 block of wood that's radiused to the same radius as the fretboard so the pressure from the hammer is evenly spread out over the fret ensuring evenness and no dings. We run superglue down the back of the fret, palce it into the slot, one tap on each side of it then place the radius block over the fret and hammer several times. You can get away with using a normal hammer or mallet but fret hammers are recommended since they are made out of rubber which is harmless to the fret. Fret clippers I belive are a necessity since they are much more heavy duty then wire cutters and will make you life much more easier. To bevel the fret you can get away with cutting a 15 degree angle slot into a block of wood then fitting a file in. To crown and dress the fret a finishing tool really is required though.
#4
A deadblow hammer will work for putting the frets in. You can get one at a hardware store for very cheap.

There is a tutorial on PG about how to make a fret bender jig for very cheap. You can also use pliers for this.

Fret clippers are basically heavy duty nippers... a couple minutes at your local tool shop can save you some money in this department too.

If you're just learning how to do frets for the first time, I would suggest purchasing an inexpensive set of files that has a lot of different shapes in it.
I got one for like 10 bucks and if you know the right way to do it, you can level/crown/dress the frets and have them ready to buff with nothing more than a relatively fine flat file (no handle), a small triangular file (get a handle for that one) and sandpaper grits 100, 300, 400, and 1000.

The most important thing is taking your time when it comes to that part though.
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I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
Last edited by Rebelw/outaCord at Jan 25, 2009,
#5
ok ive got a decent file set with the kinds your talking about in it. i'll give that a try. i do have 2 finger boards, or about 40-45 frets to practice with and try and figure out a good technique and if i need more tools.
#6
Quote by Rebelw/outaCord
relatively fine flat file (no handle), a small triangular file (get a handle for that one)


NEVER!

...ever...use a file without a handle, unless you cut the tang off.

If I had a $1000 for every time I have seen someone with a file sticking out of their wrist and blood shooting all over the place...I would have $4000.

Don't do it.
#7
Along the same lines, obviously one technically can use simple flat and triangular files for dressing and crowning, but do people here think it's worth it to drop the 30 bucks on a fret crowning file (warmoth is cheaper than stewmac for that)? I mean it would probably do a better job right? Or at least harder to botch the job?

edit - could you also use a radius block and fine sand paper for leveling?
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2003 Fender Standard Strat w/ Texas Specials
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Last edited by Musicman48858 at Jan 25, 2009,
#8
Quote by Skeet UK
NEVER!

...ever...use a file without a handle, unless you cut the tang off.

If I had a $1000 for every time I have seen someone with a file sticking out of their wrist and blood shooting all over the place...I would have $4000.

Don't do it.


Four thousand.. divided by one thousand.. equals.. FOUR.

OH MY GOD YOU'VE SEEN THAT FOUR TIMES?

Badass.
#9
^

Skeet UK is pro at witnessing industrial mishaps in the workplace.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
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#11
Yeah, I want vids! Man you think files is bad?

In my electronics class, a kid was using a dill press to put a 1/2 inch hole in a sheet of aluminum, for a chassis for an amp.

Except he didn't use a clamp to hold it.

So it slipped out of his hands, he panicked, didn't turn off the machine, and it spun at the same speed as the drill bit, so he got cut pretty damn bad.

It was gross.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
Quote by Scowmoo
Otter, you're my new god.
#12
Quote by Øttər
^

Skeet UK is pro at witnessing industrial mishaps in the workplace.


Saw it happen once at school...once while working in a factory (I didn't work there, but I was working there) and twice while working in a house and the carpenters apprentice was trying to be clever (we called him Doughnut, so it wasn't going to work) and was using two, yes two 1 inch rasps, side by side trying to bevel a bit of timber...neither had handles.

He slipped and stabbed himself in the wrist with two rasps, at the same time. Thoroughly retarded.

I also witnessed a guy cutting a large piece of steel tube at a car breakers, with a 9 inch cutting disc. It was on a stand, but the tube slipped, because the disc hit a bracket that was welded to the tube, part way through the cut.
The tube fell off, dragging the cutter and his arm with it, so cutting an 8 inch long, bone deep gash in his inner right thigh.

Not far from his **** and luckily, it only clipped (meaning the slightest of nicks) his Femoral artery. Needless to say, there was much running about, blood squirting out and running all over the yard, screaming, vomiting, sirens, tourniquets etc...
#13
Quote by Øttər
Yeah, I want vids! Man you think files is bad?

In my electronics class, a kid was using a dill press to put a 1/2 inch hole in a sheet of aluminum, for a chassis for an amp.

Except he didn't use a clamp to hold it.

So it slipped out of his hands, he panicked, didn't turn off the machine, and it spun at the same speed as the drill bit, so he got cut pretty damn bad.

It was gross.



lol. Nah that sounds gross, someone was drilling their project and i had my back to the drillpress as I was sitting at my desk. He proceeds to drill through and hit the metal table. I jumped to the floor and put my hands over my head


Tru dat about not using handles. I have cuts on my hands from when the handles keep coming off and i get stabbed with it, bitches need glue!
#14
Thank's for all the stories *wonders wether buying a load of power tool's is such a good thing*
Black Knight CF-60F Semi-Acoustic.

Black Knight CP200 (Red flamed maple).

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Acoustic 6 string.
#15
Maybe wear one of those chain-mail gloves they have at restaurants.

Seriously though, if you're accident prone enough to hurt yourself while leveling a fretboard (the most low-speed, low-impact operation possible), you might want to consider taking up a safer hobby. Trying to use 2 rasps at once or using a high-speed cutter without enough clamps are hazardous activities in and of themselves-- you might not want to blame the tools for that.

In fact, the method that HGT outlined for beveling the fret ends uses the same file, and also requires that it not have a handle.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#16
I'd say you can get away with hammering, try to make one of those radiused wooden blocks for wacking the frets in like the fellow a few posts back mentioned. I don't know about the whole super glue thing, but whatever works for you.

Also, check out the beveling tool and method described on Project Guitar under refretting in the tutorials section. I've tried 3-4 dressing methods/files, and that one is by far the best, and will cost you about $7 at the hardware shop. You can also find plans for a fret bending system that works beautifully that you can make out of a scrap of pine board.

Also, if you're good with your fingers, you don't really need a crowning file. I've got one and depending on the size of the fret, I won't even use it, I'll just go at it with sandpaper tightly wrapped on the tip of my finger, works just as good as long as you keep track of the tip top of your crown with the sharpie marker technique.

So, you only really need the hammer, a block of wood for wacking frets, another block of wood, file, and epoxy to glue it in and some kind of mitering saw that will cut your 35 degree angle in there, a short flat file for leveling, and sandpaper and 2 sanding sponges to go with your angled filing block for the Project Guitar-style dressing. You could snag all that at a hardware store for under $25 no problem at all. Minus the miter saw of course you could cut that with a handsaw and flatten it with a sanding block/beltsander if you don't have a miter though.

I've done fretting jobs with that exact set of tools and they come out pro man, just check out my project threads on here for proof. Good luck!
#17
Anyone know what I should use to buff/polish some of my frets? There are a few rough ones that I think the previous owner may have sanded/filed a bit. Should I use emory cloth or ??? Thanks !
#18
My tools are pretty cheap. I used to use a brass hammer my grandfather gave me, now I bought one of the fret press cauls and made one with scrap wood a nail and a spade bit and it works great. I have a flat piece of mdf type wood that I used double sided tape to tape 120 grit sandpaper on one side and 300 on the other. My straight edge is a $3 one from the hardware store. I bought a replacement file for stewmac's crowning file set and made a wooden handle for it. Then I use 0000 steel wool and stewmac's micro -mesh paper set. I also have a radius block from stewmac which should be used after gluing on the fingerboard so everythings perfectly flat. Also 1/2" masking tape is handy to have for masking the fingerboard so you don't have to cut as much tape. With these tools I have had great results and this is pretty much close to the minimum of what you can get by with. I also cut a jig to hold a file at a 35 degree angle to file the ends of the frets. It's just a block of maple cut on a table saw with the blade at a 35 degree angle and the fence moved a couple times to adjust for the width of the file.
Last edited by 420 FREAK at Jan 25, 2009,
#19
Steel Wool will work for polishing, like 000 or 0000 i think, as fine as possible, or really fine-grit sanding pads. Could you maybe buff the fretboard and frets at the same time with a buffing wheel?
#20
Quote by qotsa1998
Steel Wool will work for polishing, like 000 or 0000 i think, as fine as possible, or really fine-grit sanding pads. Could you maybe buff the fretboard and frets at the same time with a buffing wheel?


Thank You! I will try the steel wool.
#21
Quote by Tempoe
Thank You! I will try the steel wool.



Yeah, you gotta use 0000. If you're anal about fret polishing like me, use a metal polish afterward to get them looking better than you've ever seen in yo life!
#22
Quote by lumberjack
Yeah, you gotta use 0000. If you're anal about fret polishing like me, use a metal polish afterward to get them looking better than you've ever seen in yo life!


I was wondering about metal polish, its pretty fine abrasive in there, thanks for confirming...I will get some in the morning, cheers!