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Fret Tool Tutorial


Lex Luthier
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Takes much less space than the big plywood fret benders from the main siteĀ  B)

That will work better though. My tool is basically for filing the tang, but I found I could use it as a bender also, does take practice though, to get a smooth curve and not a bunch of bends in the wire. :D

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That's a good tutorial, but if your gonna be doing much fret tang removal, wouldn't it be better to have the fret tang nipper like Stew Mac sells? I know they cost quite a bit, but they are worth it in my opinion. I can cut the tangs off each and every fret end in a minutes time. I'm sure yours will work fine though.

Strat_fretting_10.jpg

Also, when your bending fretwire it's very crucial to have the fret radiused in a uniformed way. I learned this the hard way with the fret bending pliers I made. Sure they worked, but you have to be very careful or you'll have a curvy, wavy spots that you don't want, and it won't seat properly flush with the fretboard. That can make for a sloppy looking fretjob and can guarantee you'll have to level more than you should have too if it was was radiused correctly. I think that it would be just as easy to buy a cheaper fret bender off ebay, or build your own. They work so much better. Again, I don't want to knock you or anything, it's just that even though it sounds like a good idea to use it as a bender also, it's probably best just using it for fret tangs. Great tutorial though!!!

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That's a good tutorial, but if your gonna be doing much fret tang removal, wouldn't it be better to have the fret tang nipper like Stew Mac sells?

If you wanna spend $40.00, sure...plus you need two separate nippers for large and small wire. My thing works GREAT for holding the fret to file the tang, though I did say it takes practice to use a fret bender.

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That's true, luckily I found the one I got off Ebay for 20 bucks, some guy had bought a bunch of tools thinking he was gonna build alot of guitars, but he said he never even used them because he gave up and sold all his stuff before he got to the fretting part.. lol But I would have eventually bought one from Stew Mac though. I'm not saying your design is bad or anything, I was just wondering if you was doing it because you didn't want to pay $40 or thought it was just as fast. I think it's a great tutorial and one that alot of people will use to build one of their own. I'm sure there are plenty of people who wouldn't want to part with that much money for something like that. I really can understand not wanting to invest 40 dollars in a fret tang nipper, it's kinda high, but then again it works very great.

As far as fret bending, I don't see how your gonna get a consistent radius no matter how much you practice.

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i came up with a similar item, althoug mine was just a radius'ed peice of mdf with a slot.... it was just designed to hold the fret while i nipped and grinded the tang, where yours can do a bit more.

little fret holder peice...

i can see why GF would recommend the tang nipper though, i spent over an hour trimming the tangs perfectly so they would sit properly on a bound neck, so the tang nipper in effect would have almost paid for it's self there in one job, i guess it depends on how picky you are about getting that tang removed "perfectly" flat with the bottom of the crown.

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I've also been reluctant to buy the stew-mac nippers because you can't use all fret-wire sizes on it. Now, *if the little table could be removed* (which I don't know if it can), I would buy one (but not from stew-mac, because I recently found out he's a cross between Rod Stewart and Ronald MacDonald, and only about 2 feet tall). I would buy the same tool, which is actually a sheet metal nibbler, and extra little "tables" (like I said, *this would have to be possible for me to even do it*). I would grind a channel out of the tables. I would then fill the channels with JB weld epoxy/metal glue, and press waxed pieces of fret-wire in there, clamped in place until dry. Then if all this was possible, I'd have one pair of nippers with several little tables I can switch that would exactly fit all kinds of sizes of fret-wire.

Currently, I just use the fret-cutting nippers to get the bulk cut off, then I file what's left while holding the fret in fret-bending pliers (that I made myself)

I only need to mod the frets like this for bound necks, which I don't work on very often.

Please don't go off on me if my home-made nipper mod above is not possible to do, because I realize that might very well be the case. It's an idea I've thought of a few times. Further investigation is needed.

JFC's idea looks good, especially when I think about nipping the ends of stainless steel fret-wire.

Edited by soapbarstrat
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