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Fretting Problem


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I'm doing my first refret on my Yamaha SA and it seems EVERY fret won't go all the way down. Always stays about a paper's height off the fretboard (you can slip a piece of paper under the fret). I'm really puzzled by what causes this.

To check the depth, I filed the barbs (I think those small nibs in the side of the fret tang are called that?) off on a short piece of fretwire and it goes in all the way on every fret, so it's not like the fret slots are too low.

The old frets can also be installed back easily and seem to go in very easily. But when I try to install a new one, with barbs and all, it never goes in all the way and requires much more work to get in. Always stops just a paper's height from the fretboard and no matter how much I pound it won't go further.

I install them by bending the frets (with part of the tang cut to facilitate the fretboard) to a smaller radius than the fretboard, then tap each end in a bit with a hammer then tap the fret in by tapping from side to side along the fret. Have tried different hammers and techniques and the result always seems to be the same. Under the neck I have a padded block of wood as support for the neck.

Any advice?

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are the slots clean?

i would deepen the slots a bit...it gives a little room for the ca glue the wick in at the ends that way,,,when you glue the fret ends.

after you finish fretting and glueing the ends...take a sanding block and lightly sand the sides of your fretboard until the sawdust fills in the tiny leftover slot...then put a drop of ca on every spot...this hides the leftover slot.

but look..you WANT your slots slightly deeper than strictly needed...it keeps the frets from lifting when the wood expands and contracts with the weather and such

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You need to bevel the tops of the fret slots.

The fret wire has a little tiny round between the tang and the crown. Bevelling a small amount allows for this, and also easier installation (and removal, less chip out).

Can't really see the tiny round anywhere, but I'll try beveling them. I actually did that but maybe I didn't bevel them enough?

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Beveling didn't seem to help much. I got different fretwire with larger barbs and that helped quite a bit. I think I have to glue most of the frets though, because many seem to spring up a bit.

I understand you could make a caul out of a block of wood with the fretboard radius carved in? Then covered with sheet metal (since just wood won't be strong enough). I've already made a curved support block for the back of the neck so could I just put some glue in the slot and then use a big C-clamp with the homemade caul to both press the frets in and also keep them seated while the glue dries?

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