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fret cleaning/repair kit

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recently i bought a cheap kit off ebay for cleaning and repair.



the stones were broken as when they were posted through the letter box and not protected by bubblewrap, they smashed when hitting the floor. i can still use them to some extent. are th stones any good for polishing? i want to clean the gunk off the fret board. i have bought dunlop polish and lemon oil. not looking into it properly i dont know if i can use the lemon oil on either of my guitars. i have just recently got a jackson ex stealth and shine strat. i have some wire wool but not too sure of the grade. i want to clean the fret board, then set up the guitar. i have made the neck on the shine guitar straight as it had a lot of forward bow. i have not touched the jackson yet. i noticed that a shim fell out after removing the neck. how will i know where this went?

i want to polish the frets, can i use those stones? i assume they are like the abrasive rubbers

what can i use to clean gunk off the fretboard and can i put lemon oil on the board after?

i imagine the shims were there for a reason, what would i have to check for to find this reason?



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That looks like a pretty cheap set of tools.

  • The fingerboard protector plates are OK if there's no burr on the edges. Some people make them wider with tape.
  • The fret rocker looks OK, but check the edges to be true against a straightedge.
  • The crowning file... I've got one and to be honest I've always chosen other tools. It may do the job especially when dealing with a couple of frets only
  • The stones... I'd test them on a piece of fret wire before attempting to use it on a guitar.

The fret rocker is for checking that the frets are level. First check that the neck is straight. Lay the edge over three frets and if it rocks/clicks the middle fret is higher. When going towards the body change to a shorter edge where needed. Don't file the frets until you've familiarized yourself with the subject of leveling frets!

For cleaning the gunk on the fretboard "lemon oil" can be used. It doesn't do any harm, it's mostly white spirit with a drop of oil. Works as well as lighter fluid. A single edge razor blade can also be used but rather not if you're uncertain about your skills. After cleaning a proper oiling with boiled linseed oil will moisten the fretboard. Flood, wait for some 15 minutes and wipe the excess off. Wipe again with a dry towel after another 15 minutes. That should suffice for a year or three!

For just polishing the frets I've been using an inexpensive nail polishing block. Step 1 seems to be too coarse but going through 2 to 4 they give a nice shine. Wet'n'dry sandpaper works equally well, for polishing starting from 600 or higher up to whatever you can find. For final polishing some chrome polishing paste like Autosol works well. Use either the steel plates (the shims you mentioned???) or masking tape to protect the wood, you don't want metal powder or chrome paste into your freshly cleaned fretboard!

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