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fret file problems

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Up until now i've just been using jewelers files for rounding frets after leveling, but it was kinda time consuming so i got one of those cheaper 36$ fret files (with the wooden ball handles) to round the files for me, i figured even for that price it should still do a decent job alot faster then i can with a regular file.... boy was i wrong, that thing sucks i was using the medium file insert, on my medium frets and all it did was scratch the crap out of the fret, barely rounded it at all, tried the other 2 sizes but they didn't fit, so i remember someone talking about using wax in the file to get better results, so i gave that a try once i put the medium file insert back in, it kinda improved but by then i was frusterated, and just went back to my jewelers file to clean it up before it got any worse.

Question: how do you use a fret file? Is there some kinda special trick i'm missing here?

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i use stemac files..

but i try no need to leveling work.

i think

1. fingerboard woking very importand

2. fretting work

this 1, 2 is no need leveling woking ..

at last is leveling.. leveling is last method..

sorry.. T_T english is not my language..

have nice day..

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I don't personally have that 3 in 1 file that Stew Mac sells but I watched a top notch Luthier use one with great results. I ended up biting the bullet and buying the Offset Diamond File they sell and couldn't be happier, but then again I think the 3 in 1 should work great for you also. Not really sure why your having those problems. You might be trying to go back and forth. Try just filing in one direction with those files, at least thats what I noticed he did. Maybe that will help.

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Metal work, by nature is entirely different from woodwork.

When cutting metal (I.e. stainless frets, gun parts, etc. I am speaking as a gunsmith that builds $2000 guns.) a great deal of finesse is needed to ensure that the metal is taking the same turn you are.

When I file a sear on a pistol, I am enclined to always file in a single direction. Fine, flat filing requires a lighter than normal touch, with a bit of patience thrown in as an aside. Visual reference when filing correctly should be a shiny surface, with minimal divot in the metal. No one tooth is cutting more, deeper, or harder than another. The finer the file, the more patience is needed to ensure that both the file and the "filee" (the metal being filed :D ) survive intact and in shape. The same pressure applied to the "grip" hand should be applied at the fore end of the file with the "non-grip" hand.

Compound filing on any metal surface is best perfected with a fine file that has a handle that is as large as comfortable in your hand. Minimal wrist/hand movement and higher leverage means that a smaller chance of misfile due to uncontrolled motion in the file end. When I compound file, I leave "no" pressure on the fore end of the file, other than to wrap my thumb around the top end of the file for pivot contol. When I say that "no" pressure is applied, I mean simply that I put nothing on that end of the file other than the weight of my thumb. Hard to practice, but once masterd, it is something that becomes second nature.

At no time while filing either flat surfaces or compound surfaces do I let the file "leave" my control. I also clean my files after every ten strokes with a wire file brush. This keeps buildup of metals from becoming slick and/or a gouge in the metal.

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I have no use for any kind of file that hides the top of the fret. With a complete fret-job, They hardly need any re-crowning, so my trusty 3 corner (that I modded myself 16 years ago) does that just fine. I never want the very top of the fret getting lowered by even a hair after I've leveled them all, so the files like you are talkng about would just make me nervous.

Those ones that just do one side of the fret seem to make much more sense to me, but I've never used one.

You were probably using it right, but the tool is just not made well. I can assume that because you already know how to use another kind of file on the frets, so you're not clue-less how files are to be used.

I highly suspect the sales of this tool are going down down down, so to keep making a profit, the file maker starts cutting corners (is that a pun ?)


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Well, with my post, I in no way intended to sound like a filing know it all, or make the impression that my way is the right way.

I am a fairly laid back person and I hope I didn't come across that way. I just know that, through my experience with files, it can go bad quickly and you will never see it coming unless you are "practiced" with your technique.

Make sense?

Again, I do hope that I didn't come across high and mighty, God knows I have a lot to learn on guitar building. Guns, now, I know.

Anyone want a custom built 1911? B) That I can do.

Any advice I have gathered here has been much appreciated, I was trying to help in an area that I am well versed in. (Filing metal :D )

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