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what fret file do you use and how do you rate it?


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so... doing frets on my lp/tele.  I got wide/med frets.  The file I like best right now is the stew mac dual grit.  I've got a wide one but it seems a hair too wide for even jumbo frets so was thinking I might snag something with a medium? 

I thought I might draw on the great wealth of knowledge here... is the stew mac offset worth it?  I will spend that much only if I hear rave reviews on it. 

the gurian is tempting... I know they leave marks... but are supposedly very effective and the shape seems great.  Dirt cheap so... might be worth having either way?

could consider the phili or other knock off offset files... but if I don't hear reviews on them I'd just as soon get the stew mac and know it's solid.

please tell me any/all comments you have.

 

here's my take on what I have tried...

no name chinese - horrible.  waaaaaay to wide and the diamond comes off super easy

unknown ebay find - just a tube with a crown slot.  this wore down a bit quick (better than some) but really made it hard to make a mistake.  great feel... but also would fatigue you easy.  can't find another.

baroque - waay too wide.  feel is horrible.  you have this really long bar but it's hard not to just try and use the end... which has sharp corners.  a step up from the chinese (that's about the nicest I can say)

stew mac dual grip wide - this has lasted me a very long time.  i pretty much only use the 300 grit and have used it on many guitars with no real signs of wearing.  my one complaint is it's easy to accidentally detach the file from the handle.  It would also be improved with a bit more of an ergonomic shape to the file instead of the hex... but it's a great feeling file, no fatigue. 

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Well... My first buy was this American tool: http://neckcheckguitar.com/diamond-coated-fret-crowning-tool/ which basically works as promised. However, the ergonomics are non-existent. Muscles I didn' know to exist cramped and I got blisters on my fingers.

At some point I got a Chinese cheapo, no diamonds, orange heat shrink or dipped-into-hot-plastic handle. Never used.

Then I placed an order at Crimson's to get me their triangular crowning file. Again, no diamonds but otherwise good quality.

Since the StewMac and other brand name models didn't immediately ring a bell I googled for them. Seeing the shape I then remembered having seen similar ones at some Chinese shop for less than $20. At least AliExpress has several different ones by searching for "diamond crowning file".

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3 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Well... My first buy was this American tool: http://neckcheckguitar.com/diamond-coated-fret-crowning-tool/ which basically works as promised. However, the ergonomics are non-existent. Muscles I didn' know to exist cramped and I got blisters on my fingers.

At some point I got a Chinese cheapo, no diamonds, orange heat shrink or dipped-into-hot-plastic handle. Never used.

Then I placed an order at Crimson's to get me their triangular crowning file. Again, no diamonds but otherwise good quality.

Since the StewMac and other brand name models didn't immediately ring a bell I googled for them. Seeing the shape I then remembered having seen similar ones at some Chinese shop for less than $20. At least AliExpress has several different ones by searching for "diamond crowning file".

wow, that is the exact tube one I was talking about.  I rather like the way it works but I hear ya on fatigue.  looks like they don't sell it anymore. 

aliexpress - I'm guessing their $35 offset file is the same as the philli luthier or elmer/amplified parts file.  probably worth the $35.  that said the stew mac stuff will easily last 5 or 6 times as long for 4 times the price.  I've used my stew mac (to some degree) on every guitar I've done and no signs of wear.

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I use Ibanez/Chikyu diamond fret files. A set of narrow, medium and wide files with two sides, one rough and one fine.

not cheap but since I regularly have to do some fretwork for customers they are well worth their money.

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, 10pizza said:

I use Ibanez/Chikyu diamond fret files. A set of narrow, medium and wide files with two sides, one rough and one fine.

not cheap but since I regularly have to do some fretwork for customers they are well worth their money.

 

 

 

 

thanks for chiming in.  I have their nut files and they are indeed great quality. 

My one concern with their crown file, is that it's not very ergonomic.  good to have another option and I didn't realize they made crown files so thanks!

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I've used several of the various Stew Mack files. I got one the their Z-files for the last few builds. That's my current favorite. For me it's the easiest one to get a consistent crown with the least amount of work.

SR

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2 hours ago, ScottR said:

I've used several of the various Stew Mack files. I got one the their Z-files for the last few builds. That's my current favorite. For me it's the easiest one to get a consistent crown with the least amount of work.

SR

thank you for the response scott!  very good to know.  I like the idea of that file... having a space at the center to prevent accidentally wiping out your crest. 

On the other hand... it would seem that it would be hard to get a very fine line there? 

Also, it would seem less ergonomic. 

would love your thoughts on two assertions above.  also, have you used the offset diamond file from stew and how does it stack up?

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1 hour ago, mistermikev said:

thank you for the response scott!  very good to know.  I like the idea of that file... having a space at the center to prevent accidentally wiping out your crest. 

On the other hand... it would seem that it would be hard to get a very fine line there? 

Also, it would seem less ergonomic. 

would love your thoughts on two assertions above.  also, have you used the offset diamond file from stew and how does it stack up?

I actually like it best because it is the easiest of the files I have to get fine line. I have not tried the offset file.

Ergonomics have not been a problem. I crown sitting down and tend to rock the neck a little with one hand and run the file with the other. Reminiscent of bowing a cello.

SR

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44 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I actually like it best because it is the easiest of the files I have to get fine line. I have not tried the offset file.

Ergonomics have not been a problem. I crown sitting down and tend to rock the neck a little with one hand and run the file with the other. Reminiscent of bowing a cello.

SR

interesting.  perhaps I'm "doing it wrong" hehe.  giving this file pretty strong consideration right now so... thanks for the input. 

last q: are you using the offset one? 

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1 hour ago, mistermikev said:

last q: are you using the offset one? 

Yes, I think that was the only one offered when I got it. Each side is offset opposite of the other. I'd have to take another look at mine, I don't remember if it only has grit on the long leg of the Z or both. The short edge mostly works as a guide and the long edge knocks the shoulder off the fret crown.

SR

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1 hour ago, ScottR said:

Yes, I think that was the only one offered when I got it. Each side is offset opposite of the other. I'd have to take another look at mine, I don't remember if it only has grit on the long leg of the Z or both. The short edge mostly works as a guide and the long edge knocks the shoulder off the fret crown.

SR

thank you so much for the detailed info! 

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