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Fretting A Multi Scale

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Well, so I tried to put in a few frets on my multi scale this evening and it was a massive failure. Since the board is bound, I don't have tangs out to the edge of the board. Couple that with the fact that the radius is funky on a multi scale, and I can't get the fret ends to sit down well. Also, the maple board is softer than I am used to working with, so I am afraid of the frets getting down a little too low in the board, which will result in a lot of leveling. I actually damaged the binding on one end of one fret, which I should be able to fix, but still, it was tough.

Just as a note, my board is radiused to 12", I radius my wire to about 11", put the fret in and tap down the ends with a hammer and then work my way in. The ends like to pop up after this though. I am wondering if I will need to do the superglue thing to keep the ends down. Any ideas? This is stumping me. Please help... :)

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I had no problems at all with mine.Did you clean the slots first?I spent some time with my little slot cleaning hook tool...and I used my "binding specific" slot saw to make sure the slots were all plenty deep.

If those aren't the issues I also used my 12" caul with a couple of clamps to press the fret ends down snug and then did the medium CA treatment at the ends while the caul held them down,just to make sure nothing popped up ever.

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You are probably bending the ends by driving them in first. When I hammer frets in I have a rosewood block with a slot for the fret. I start at treble side and hammer across the fret.

+1 what Wes said Make a radiused caul for the fret and hammer the caul not the fret.

Another thing you can do is use an epoxy technique.

Get a dremel bit just the width of the tang.

Clean the slots with the dremel bit so that the frets will lay in without force. They have to be radiused perfect.

Smooth the underside of the hangover where you cut the tang back with a triangle file.

Then make a caul that will clamp at least a 3rd of the board. You can do this with 2 3/16" brass rods and a piece of plywood.

Mix up some epoxy.

Glue your frets in and clamp them tight. (if your caul only covers 6 frets then only do 6 at a time)

When your glue is set but not hardened use a sharp chisel to clean the excess glue up.

I know sounds complicated but it how I used to do refrets in the late 80s...

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My one concern about a radiused caul is that the effective radius of each fret is different. Or are you suggesting something that is not the width of the fretboard? On a regular board I use one of the stewmac brass inserts in a block of wood and it works beautifully, but since all but one of the frets have a radius flatter than the fretboard radius, I'm finding it a little difficult (and for that reason I'm not going to try the epoxy idea). I think that I can use the brass insert to clamp down the ends after putting in some glue, I will just have to be careful getting the glue in there since this is a bound board.

Another idea I had, but I don't know if I like, is to just slot up the binding, undercut the fretwire a little bit, then fill the slots back in using the old dust and glue trick. It is less appealing to me for reasons of aesthetics, but it would allo for some extra tang near the edge of the board to help keep the ends down. I'll try Wes' trick first, though.

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Ahh, yes, got it. That makes much more sense now. I only put four frets in, so I think I will yank them tonight and start over doing it thusly:

- Over-radius fretwire

- hammer in from one side

- put glue under fret ends

- clamp with caul

Does this sound like a reasonable schedule? This seems much more promising.

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Well, after some trial and error, I had reasonable success. Here is what I ended up doing:

- bevel fret slots

- over-radius fretwire

- use modified nibblers to remove fret tang

- file off remainder of fret tang

- put a small dab of thick CA (what I had) on the binding at each edge

- hammer in fret wire from center out to each side

- test each end by pushing down, if any of the CA was displaced or moved, used a caul and a clamp to keep ends down until glue set

- flush trim the over hanging fretwire

It seemed to work pretty well. It is fairly time consuming, especially when you have frets that need to be clamped down (it was cold, so the glue took longer to set). However, the results are much better than I was getting before. I now have high hopes for this fret job, though the maple is significantly softer than what I am used to using. I likely won't use it for a fretboard again. If I need really light fretboards, I have a nice large board of wamara sapwood (which happens to be just as dense and hard as the heartwood, just a very light maple color). Thanks to Wes and RAD for the help.

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