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Radiusing Fretwire

Bmth Builder

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I made this fret bender for a 12" radius


but when I put the fret wire in and bend it to shape it just pops back out to semi straight again, how can I get it to keep the 12" shape? Do I have to clamp it on the caul for a while or something?


What I did, using a similar bender, it used it as a guide. I fed the fret wire into the slot from one end, holding the wire down with the palm of my hand, and with my other hand, I pre-bent the wire as I fed it on. I could tell if I was bending it the right amount easily, by the way it sat in the slot, and the tang sitting in the slot prevented the fretwire wanting to twist as I bent it. Worked quite well!

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I'll second the link Mike P posted. I think the price is about $5 higher now, but it works great.

+1 more. I tried the one in the tutorial and it didn't work. The other one works great.

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Would it matter too much if the fret wire was not radiused at all before fretting?

It's just easier to make sure it's well seated on the ends, particularly if you are hammering it in, like I do. On my first neck, I just gave the length of wire a bit of a curve by hand before cutting off pieces for frets. It turned out nice and flat, not requiring much/any levelling. As I said in a earlier post, now I just use the tool described in the OP as a template and to prevent the wire wanting to twist as I bend it. I have watched a video on youtube where the guitar maker just bends it a bit by hand too.

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I use a 7-1/4" radius block and bend the fret wire over it with a pair of pliers holding the tang so it cant twist and work it thru bit by bit. Once it springs back it pretty close to 12" radius. It is always better to overbend slightly than underbend so the fret ends seat well.

I cut piece of plywood into a curve and sawed a slot into the edge. Keeping the tang in the slot stops the twisting as you bend the fretwire around the curve. MY problem was that it springs back (the wood has a 12" curve) so if I make a new one with about 7" radius, then it sounds like I'll have a tool that will work!

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