#1
So I am planning on starting my own build (a wolfgang style body) and I would like to get the full experience on building a guitar and make my own necks and fretboards. Meaning i would like to fret the neck myself.

Now I have been doing some searching and find myself in some confusion. Stewmac has a bunch of tools that they say are absolutely necessary for fretting a guitar, but they are awfully expensive, while other diy guitar sites only use a few of those tools and still crank out quality jobs( unfortunately they are vague on which tools they use).

So what is a list of tools that are absolutely necessary for cranking out a quality, yet not too difficult fret job (from blank piece of rosewood to radiussed and fretted board)?


I dont want to be buying a bunch of expensive specialty tools that perform the same tasks as much cheaper and common tools(i am willing to do give a little bit of extra effort too)

thanks
#2
I've been thinking the same thing recently, and I'm pretty sure a piece of PVC pipe, some sand paper, a saw, and something to attach the frets with is all one would need. I mean, I've never done it, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense.
#3
yeah i agree with you.

I would just like some input from someone with experience in this matter
#4
PVC pipe? That confuses me.

This is what I use.
-Fret Saw (of course)
-Radius Block
-Rubber Mallet
-End Nippers
-Small Triangle File
-Block of wood with a 45* angled file
-Block with 90* angled file
-Crowning Files
-Straight Edge

The end nippers are just some that I grabbed from ace. I took them to the belt sander and sanded down the face so they cut the frets as flush to the side of the fretboard as possible.

The blocks are important to my process. Once I cut the frets close to the freboard, I take the 90* block and file until they are flush with the fretboard. A little sand paper makes it perfect. After that I use the 45* block to get the fret ends a little easier on the hands. Then I just use the triangle file and crowning files to get them to the right shape.

For leveling, I usually run some high grit sand paper over the frets in the radius block. That shows the high spots and low spots. I get them all set then I go back with a straight edge and check 3 frets at a time. It's the same process for the rocking level thing that Stew-Mac has.

I hate fretting to be honest. It's the worst part of a build, because if it's not perfect, it ruins it. I am considering having someone do a fretjob to my most recent build, just because I don't want to deal with it.
#5
There is alot of precision required when cutting fret slots. Not something you would want to try to do free hand. There are plenty of preslotted fretboards out there. And its well worth the investment in proper tools to do fret work. You get better results and save yourself alot of work.
#6
A few tools you can actually make yourself, most of the others you can get the exact same product with the term 'luthier' in its name for much cheaper. Everything that has luthier in it, the price automatically jumps high.

Mitre Box
0.55mm Japanese Saw (cut on the pull stroke)
A set of crowning files
A fret press (Arbor Press/ Drill Press with stewmac attachments) Or a fret hammer
A set of standard files
Radius Blocks (there are many tutorials to make your own)
Straight Edge
End Cutters
Small Triangle File (not necessary, but if the neck ever needs a refret it will prevent most wood chips.
Sandpaper
Fretwire