#1
I was recently thinking about doing my own fret leveling but I cant find any fret leveling blocks other than stewmac.com and there kind of expencive. Any idea on what I could do to cheapy make my own fret leveling board of at least 16" long and maybe a substitute tools for recrowning the frets?
#2
You can level frets with lots of different things. A nice flat file, a block of wood with sandpaper, an oilstone, a radiused sanding block, etc.

They just need to be flat.

You can recrown frets with a simple triangle file with smooth corners. Takes significantly more skill that using an actual crowning file though.
#3
Quote by Metalhead_28
You can level frets with lots of different things. A nice flat file, a block of wood with sandpaper, an oilstone, a radiused sanding block, etc.

They just need to be flat.

You can recrown frets with a simple triangle file with smooth corners. Takes significantly more skill that using an actual crowning file though.

i just used painters tape. and once it went through the tape, i retaped so it didn't get to the fingerboard. using a triangle bastard file (no rounded edges)


TS; as far was what tool to use, i'm going to the hardware store today to see if they have flat aluminum like 1-1/2" wide to use self adhesive sandpaper with.
#4
Well the technique I plan to use is putting black marker across the top of the frets and then sanding until There isnt any marker left. Ill be waiting to hear what you find at the hardware store.
#5
Quote by Metalhead_28
You can level frets with lots of different things. A nice flat file, a block of wood with sandpaper, an oilstone, a radiused sanding block, etc.

They just need to be flat.

You can recrown frets with a simple triangle file with smooth corners. Takes significantly more skill that using an actual crowning file though.



^this.

I've used all kinds of weird stuff for fret leveling, and it never came out bad; files, metal blocks, sanding blocks, radius blocks...I've stuck with the short flat file technique for a while now with good results. Just finish off with a radius sanding block with a radius bigger than your fingerboard's to smooth it out. Also, I personally hate crowning files with a passion. In my humble opinion, the only kind worth using are the micro-diamond style files, a-la ( I hate to say it ) StewMac. Those are actually fantastic, but I sold mine a while ago and switched over to using little triangle files and such like Metalhead mentioned.

If you press your frets carefully enough and have a really good radius, you don't need to take off much material at all, which means you don't have much to do when it comes to crowning...as such I've done some crowning jobs by wrapping my finger with sandpaper.

If you want to do the triangle file thing, you can round the corners yourself with a mild grinder. Worked for me.
#6
Quote by lumberjack
a-la ( I hate to say it ) StewMac.


Why does everyone around here hate StewMac?

I use the radius sanding blocks and the offset diamond crowning file to dress frets and they work really, really well. It's a simple approach, but it's hard to mess up.
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#7
Quote by Darkdevil725
Well the technique I plan to use is putting black marker across the top of the frets and then sanding until There isnt any marker left. Ill be waiting to hear what you find at the hardware store.

i just bought a 3-1/2" wide hand sander with a couple wingnuts to old the sandpaper. i grabbed some 220 and 400 grit sand paper; 0000 steel wool too.


and gravyfish, they're just highly overpriced for just about everything.
#8
Quote by GravyFish
Why does everyone around here hate StewMac?

I use the radius sanding blocks and the offset diamond crowning file to dress frets and they work really, really well. It's a simple approach, but it's hard to mess up.



It's just that the prices are a bit steep, that's all. No one, I would think, claims their products are bad or anything like that...on the contrary, most anyone on here has probably got a tool or two from them, and would agree that their stuff is high quality for sure. And from that perspective, you get what you pay for in the sense that you pay a lot, but get a good quality item. It's just easy to gripe about having to pay a bunch of money for anything I suppose, regardless of its worth...

That offset diomond file is the best fretting tool I've ever owned though, don't you love it? It rocks!
#9
Quote by lumberjack
It's just that the prices are a bit steep, that's all. No one, I would think, claims their products are bad or anything like that...on the contrary, most anyone on here has probably got a tool or two from them, and would agree that their stuff is high quality for sure. And from that perspective, you get what you pay for in the sense that you pay a lot, but get a good quality item. It's just easy to gripe about having to pay a bunch of money for anything I suppose, regardless of its worth...

That offset diomond file is the best fretting tool I've ever owned though, don't you love it? It rocks!


Fair enough. I've done my best to look for comparable items, but they have good prices on a few things you can get elsewhere and steep prices on other things. They make great tools that are perfect for the job, so I guess I just don't mind saving my money to get the right tool for the job. I do my diamond crowning file, it's one of my favorites as well.
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MIJ '86 Strat, MIJ '95 Foto Flame Tele, Jackson JSX-94
Schecter C-1 Classic 3TSB, Takamine EG544SC-4C
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Fender Geddy Lee Sig Bass, Ibanez DTT700 Destroyer
#11
Quote by blandguitar
and gravyfish, they're just highly overpriced for just about everything.


But like what? I mean, sure the price for Naphtha is ridiculous, but I've compared some of the other prices and it's not all bad. They sell the 3M Stikit sandpaper for less than anywhere I've been able to find it, and the Mitchell's abrasive cord is less per-foot than it is on the manufacturer's website or Amazon. Maybe it's because I don't buy parts there (I work at a music store) but the tools are really second-to-none, and I don't see steep prices for good tools as unreasonable. I mean, if you knew the margin at which many musical accessories are sold, StewMac probably wouldn't look so bad.

Quote by divinorum69
Any pics on an offset diamond tool?




One of my favorite tools. Makes crowning quick and painless.
I Japanese Fenders
MIJ '86 Strat, MIJ '95 Foto Flame Tele, Jackson JSX-94
Schecter C-1 Classic 3TSB, Takamine EG544SC-4C
Warwick Corvette Fretless MIJ '89 P-Bass Lyte
Fender Geddy Lee Sig Bass, Ibanez DTT700 Destroyer
#12
i littterally just finished leveling 2 minutes ago. i used an oil stone.. took me maybey 20 minutes?

now onto crowning.. ala diamond file. worst part is, i have to fret another neck tommorow =[
#13
Quote by GravyFish
But like what? I mean, sure the price for Naphtha is ridiculous, but I've compared some of the other prices and it's not all bad. They sell the 3M Stikit sandpaper for less than anywhere I've been able to find it, and the Mitchell's abrasive cord is less per-foot than it is on the manufacturer's website or Amazon. Maybe it's because I don't buy parts there (I work at a music store) but the tools are really second-to-none, and I don't see steep prices for good tools as unreasonable. I mean, if you knew the margin at which many musical accessories are sold, StewMac probably wouldn't look so bad.

you're right in saying hat good tools are well worth the money. but being a teenager/starting adult, buying from them isn't much of an option is all.
#14
Do you have to straighten the neck first (truss rod) before leveling? I know you have to wait a day after doing this before you actually start leveling.
#15
Quote by sfx
Do you have to straighten the neck first (truss rod) before leveling? I know you have to wait a day after doing this before you actually start leveling.



Yes, you need to get the neck as straight as you can get it. And if it's straight, start working. Why would you wait a day?
#16
Quote by Metalhead_28
Yes, you need to get the neck as straight as you can get it. And if it's straight, start working. Why would you wait a day?

I think he means so the neck can settle.


You dont need to wait a day. I never do when I adjust my neck. I just say give it a slight front bow before taking the strings off. The lack of tenson should allready put in a pretty straight position from there. Then just make the small adjustments to straighten it more.
#18
Once I get the neck straight with a truss rod adjustment, I'm going to be done levelling the frets in about 1 minute. I think waiting for something to settle before you do that is a waste of time.

I think it's a carried over concern from when you're doing a set-up on a strung guitar, but those are totally different circumstances.
#19
This is my first time attempting this but I tried to detailed what I did here...

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1211604&page=1&pp=20

I have to hear what it sounds like but it looks awesome. I did it by hand with a LONG(almost the length of the fretboard) surface ground leveler, a diamond triangle file, sandpaper (400/600/1500) wrapped aroung a stone ware plastic scraper, and some 0000 steel wool. The single most important part was the stoneware scraper and the rounded angle side.

One side is flat and the other side has a really good taper to get the crown perfect after you figure out the angle to use. I havent tried a purpose built file but I imagine it's faster... however I got such good results even with never even attempting this before that I might not change. I like the control and being able to see with the triangle file! Plus those Stewmac things are expensive! I bought the cheapy files at harbour freight and made other tools that cost next to nothing.
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Last edited by burnoutking999 at Dec 30, 2009,