Jump to content

Expanding The Fret Tang

Recommended Posts

One thing if you dont have tools to make tools this information is useless.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crudely made tools make baby soapbar cry.


That's my " oh man, dude's obsessed" version.

Started out as this.

Main thing I wanted was a "depth stop", which is the 4-40 bolt/nut you see sticking out of the right side. Then I thought I'd use carbide shafts from broken dremel bits for the punch part, so had to drill a hole for that, then a set-screw plus grind a little flat in the shaft. Ground different punch shapes. One punches tang from top to bottom, another punches little dots in the middle of the tang.

Pretty sure Frank is the original inventer of fret tang expanding pliers. Maybe I would have made ones identical to his if I had a belt sander like he does.

Before such pliers came along, tang expanding was usually done with the "B side" of a hammer head which had been ground to a chisel point. Fret-wire would be held upside-down on a table or whatever and chisel gashes would be hammered along the bottom of the tang.

I had also thought of making a set-up that would work with a drill or arbor press, where the fret would lay in a table with a half fret-crown notched into it (picture the table part of the Klein tang nipper tool, only bigger, mostly longer) then you'd bring down a punch with the presses handle.

Also important to know that if you radius your fret-wire, then use pretty much any "tang expander" on it, it will flatten out the radius, so on jobs where I know the whole neck is going to need expanded tangs, I do it while the wire is still in long lengths, then radius after expanding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. It was no easy task. Most impressive part for me, is that a bottle of Everclear on the shelf went untouched even after I broke off a tap in the tool steel (eventually got it out and tapped through with a new tap)

And the 4-40 nut is a "jam nut" , to keep the 4-40 bolt locked in it's set position.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gotta say Soap, I love that tool! Isn't it great when a plan comes together, better yet when a tool gets custom made for it's exact purpose. You are a tool maker, we tool makers can trace our roots to the earliest cave men. With out us how would the wheel have ever been made. Well now that I've gone on about it I guess it's time to go find out what my wife wants me to do, Mrs. cave man wants some work done around here, something about the lawn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They want you to fork out $75 for what appears to be two meat tenderizers taped to scissors (obviously an exaggeration. Haha).

StewMac Fret Fitters

Does anyone know of a cheaper alternative to widen the fret tang to fit them into larger fret slots? Primarily for refretting, where the old slot winds up being slightly larger.


I bought one several years ago, when the expander and crusher were two separate tools, and never regretted it. I made the crusher out of a pair of pliers.

Stewmac's "forever return" policy, is worth something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...