#1
Hey everyone, I am looking to try my first re-fretting and re-radiusing job, 60% for the fun of it, and 40% for the experience. Aside from a level and crown job I did that came out pretty well, I am a total fretting n00b and need your advice! I am looking to take a MIM Fender Strat 9.5" radius neck, re-radius it to 16", and re-fret it with some monster frets for a more shred-friendly feel. Here are the tools I was thinking of buying:

1. Stew Mac fret puller

2. Stew Mac 16" radius sanding block, the longer wooden one

3. Possibly a Stew Mac fretting hammer, unless I can get away with using something I have around the house, i.e., a rubber mallet or a regular hammer. Pardon my ignorance on that bit.

4. Warmoth .112 x .055 fret wire

5. Warmoth fret shaping file for large/jumbo frets, for crowning

6. Possably will be building the fret-radius tool featured on projectguitar.com

7. I already have a pretty nice file for leveling


I'll mostly be following the threads I've seen on here for advice, as well as Fretting Simplified by Brian Calvert on projectguitar.com and Refretting Musical Instruments on fretnotguitarrepair.com for guidance.

Any suggestions/recommendations/warnings you guys have for me? Just keep in mind I'm trying to save money where I can, so no suggesting things like "build a guitar shop in your back yard, it would be cool." This re-fret is going to be part of a major overhaul type "re-birthing" customization project on a beat up MIM Strat, so once I get your advice and get the tools and everything, I'll be putting up a thread about the "re-build" later on this summer. Thanks in advance!

#2
One suggestion I'm gonna make is that you get a file that you can bevel the fret slots with. I'd just get the hammer from stewmac because it wont dent the frets. why don't you order your frets from stewmac?
#3
Quote by carousel182
One suggestion I'm gonna make is that you get a file that you can bevel the fret slots with. I'd just get the hammer from stewmac because it wont dent the frets. why don't you order your frets from stewmac?


I don't understand that beveling bit, could you explain further?

Also, I'm getting the wire from Warmoth cause it's bigger ( not by much, but sill, I LOVE big frets ) than anything Stew Mac has, better for teh shr3dzorz!
#4
Build a guitar shop in your bac- oh... damnit.

If I were you, I'd just be careful and take my time. Focus on not denting any of the frets, and if you have any problems getting the frets into the slots, LIGHTLY tap them with a ball pin hammer.
Gear:
Ibanez RG7321 Seven String
Epiphone Iommi Signature SG
Digitech Scott Ian Black 13
VOX Valvetronix AD100VTH
Laney 4x12 w/Celestion 50s
#5
Quote by lumberjack
I don't understand that beveling bit, could you explain further?

Also, I'm getting the wire from Warmoth cause it's bigger ( not by much, but sill, I LOVE big frets ) than anything Stew Mac has, better for teh shr3dzorz!



Sure. basically before you hammer in the frets and glue them (if you do) you need to bevel the sides of the fret slots so that the frets can sit flush on the fretboard.

i made a stupid but possible helpful picture of why they need to be beveled.

#6
Quote by Dog454
Build a guitar shop in your bac- oh... damnit.

If I were you, I'd just be careful and take my time. Focus on not denting any of the frets, and if you have any problems getting the frets into the slots, LIGHTLY tap them with a ball pin hammer.


Are you suggesting I use the ball pin hammer instead of the Stew Mac one?

Also, thanks much carousel182!
#7
Quote by lumberjack
Are you suggesting I use the ball pin hammer instead of the Stew Mac one?

Also, thanks much carousel182!


I honestly don't care which one you use, because they both look pretty similar. Stewmac's is a double headed hammer with one side being brass and the other plastic. The head shape is basically the same as the flat headed side of a ball pin hammer, just a different material. The plastic head is probably for use if you're worried about denting your frets.

So, basically what I'm saying is you could buy Stewmac's hammer, or just use a ball pin hammer and use precaution.
Gear:
Ibanez RG7321 Seven String
Epiphone Iommi Signature SG
Digitech Scott Ian Black 13
VOX Valvetronix AD100VTH
Laney 4x12 w/Celestion 50s
#9
I have used a rubber mallet to put frets in before. And one of those plastic mallets you should be able to get at a hardware store maybe lowes. I use a drill press to put mine in way easier. I made a fret puller out of an old pair of wire cutters just ground the face down so the edge was even with the face, cheaper than buying a special puller. After my first fret job I found the bare minimum of tools doesnt do a very good job. Not sure how successful "converting" a 9.5 radius to 16 radius will be. Thats a pretty big difference.
#10
if you press them in, you will get a much more perfect fret job. MAKE SURE your fretboard is radiused perfectly, 90% of fender necks arent, which is why fretbuzz happens all the time, you can see bumbs and stuff where it was sanded incorrectly etc. use a flat BEAM not a flat block to radius with. i believe there are some on ebay for 20 dollars, made great. your fretjob/playability is only as good as your fingerboard, dont hesitate to sand it up to 1000+ grit paper.
#11
Quote by Tackleberry
I have used a rubber mallet to put frets in before. And one of those plastic mallets you should be able to get at a hardware store maybe lowes. I use a drill press to put mine in way easier. I made a fret puller out of an old pair of wire cutters just ground the face down so the edge was even with the face, cheaper than buying a special puller. After my first fret job I found the bare minimum of tools doesnt do a very good job. Not sure how successful "converting" a 9.5 radius to 16 radius will be. Thats a pretty big difference.



In theory, couldn't I do it like this? The board would be thinner in the middle, but it would work, right?




Quote by LP Addict
if you press them in, you will get a much more perfect fret job. MAKE SURE your fretboard is radiused perfectly, 90% of fender necks arent, which is why fretbuzz happens all the time, you can see bumbs and stuff where it was sanded incorrectly etc. use a flat BEAM not a flat block to radius with. i believe there are some on ebay for 20 dollars, made great. your fretjob/playability is only as good as your fingerboard, dont hesitate to sand it up to 1000+ grit paper.


You pretty much destroy ( in a good way ) at guitar making, so I'll take your advice to heart; would buying a drill press/arber press be worth the money if I plan on doing more and more building/fretting/modding and whatnot? All the "cool" builders seem to use them on here...also, about the raduised beams, all I could find on eBay were sanding beams designed for fret leveling, which were way too skinny .
#12
****, hes not a member on ebay anymore. sucks man. i got one of all sizes from him for 12 dollars each, at a discount.

here is a cheaper fret file, works great :
http://guitarpartsresource.com/tools.htm

Buy a small bench-top drill press. an arbor press is really a waste of money if you have a drill press. i use a 7.25'' radius block with cork laid on it, but the stewmac neck caul is great. if there is one thing i know how to do, its put frets in a guitar with no need to level them (leveling requires taping the finger board, marking frets, levelling, crowning, polishing, etc.) i never have to level them because i sand my fingerboards so perfectly, and when you press your frets in, they all go in ALL the way, so there is no hammer-fault.

oh and converting the radius will be easy, just double stick tape on to a 16'' radius beam and sand away, you wont remove much material but from the middle of the fingerboard, so you have no worries in going through the neck.
#13
Actually, that file is $5 more than the Warmoth one; would you recommend it over the Warmoth? Also, what about beveling the fret slots like courosel182 said, is that a good idea?

I watched your fret jobs on the last couple tele's you did, and yeah, you crushed em!

Would a press this small work out for me?

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=251521-46578-B13F&lpage=none

Also, do you know of a good tutorial that shows how to do a fret job with one of those bad boys? I'm not really sure how it would work, I was counting on the 'straight-aheadness' of wacking them in there with a hammer .
#14
Quote by Tackleberry
I have used a rubber mallet to put frets in before. And one of those plastic mallets you should be able to get at a hardware store maybe lowes. I use a drill press to put mine in way easier. I made a fret puller out of an old pair of wire cutters just ground the face down so the edge was even with the face, cheaper than buying a special puller. After my first fret job I found the bare minimum of tools doesnt do a very good job. Not sure how successful "converting" a 9.5 radius to 16 radius will be. Thats a pretty big difference.


What do you mean? If you ground it flat on it's point, wouldn't it be to fat to grip under the fret? I can't get an image in my head of what you made ...

Pardon my ignorance on all these n00b questions everyone, and thanks for your input.
#15
that should do it, but i would recommend spending 50-75 dollars more and getting yourself a decent drill press, they are essential for mounting hardware and drilling bolt holes on a guitar, and pot holes, etc. basically you buy the press caul from stewmac, with all of the sizes..

this is where i used to work, all of the equipment is top notch.

http://cgi.ebay.com/LUTHIER-FRETTING-AND-FINGERBOARD-TOOLS-GUITAR-PARTS_W0QQitemZ320275177385QQihZ011QQcategoryZ47067QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262

great deal for all of it too.

you can also make fret pullers out of small nippers, just grind the face of them flat, you can get a good set of nippers for like...7 dollars at a hardware store. i lost mine, need to buy/remake some more.
#16
Awesome deal, thanks so much for your priceless wisdom! Final question ( I hope ): Do you personally use any glue at all in the fret slots when pressing? I know it can be done, I guess I'm asking if it SHOULD be done.
#17
i use a small bit of titebond if the slots are narrow. i just saw youre in maryland, if you want to do your first fret job in my shop, and you arent a creep, you should come down south some time.
#18
^definitely go for a press if your looking to invest that much in tools. I personally go with hammering because I get them in there really good with hammers. I'm thinking of switching to pressing them in soon. beveling is definitely a must though.
#19
Quote by LP Addict
i use a small bit of titebond if the slots are narrow. i just saw youre in maryland, if you want to do your first fret job in my shop, and you arent a creep, you should come down south some time.


That would be jammin', but I recently had shoulder surgery on my dominant right arm, so it will probably be quite a while before I'm healed up enough to do guitar work ( let alone make the 2 hour drive in my right-handed stick shift car! ). The next couple months will be devoted to snagging parts and tools at bargain prices on eBay . Anyhow, I really appreciate the offer, and will let you know when I end up getting back to workin'.
#21
Quote by lumberjack
That would be jammin', but I recently had shoulder surgery on my dominant right arm, so it will probably be quite a while before I'm healed up enough to do guitar work ( let alone make the 2 hour drive in my right-handed stick shift car! ). The next couple months will be devoted to snagging parts and tools at bargain prices on eBay . Anyhow, I really appreciate the offer, and will let you know when I end up getting back to workin'.



Stick is terrible with an injury. I had to drive stick with my cast. every time I shifted i pinched my elbow. atleast you have time to think it all out before you refret.