Two questions on refret job

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by andy007, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. andy007

    andy007 Premium Member

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    Frets are all in and nipped off as close to the binding at possible. Before I get too far along I'd like to ask a few questions. I plan on gluing the frets in with thin superglue.

    Question 1) Should I glue them in before or after beveling the ends and leveling the frets?

    Question 2) How much pressure do you apply to the fret bevel file?

    I have one of those beveling files that has the file blade set at 35 degrees. The frets are Jecso EVO gold. These things are HARD! After 10 minutes of filing I've only seen a little bit of progress. Holy cow, this is going to take an entire weekend. I'm not applying a lot of pressure because I don't want to slip and scratch the fretboard but this could take a while.
     
  2. WhiteEpiLP

    WhiteEpiLP Senior Member

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    Definitely glue them in first, if they are not solidly in place and you do your fret dressing and then glue them in you may mess up you nice fret work ie make a low spot.

    Preasure applied is always a tough thing to advise. Obviously less preasure is airing on the side of caution but takes longer. Also the type of file you use has alot to do with it, but slow and steady always wins the race. Diamond files are where its at in terms of quickness but even stainles frets can be done with standard files just very tedious.
     
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  3. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    Hmmm... 10 minutes is a long time to see only a little bit of progress. If the guitar's secured properly you should be able to provide a fair bit of pressure without risk of any slipping, at least sufficient pressure that you'd be done all of the bevelling in 10 minutes. As WhiteEpiLP has said, pressure's a tough thing to advise over the internet. If the file is one of the purpose built fret bevelling files, then it should make pretty quick work of it.
     
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  4. andy007

    andy007 Premium Member

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    It took me about one hour per side to get the bevels done. I slipped once and scratched the heck out of the frets. Went back to just a gentle stroke with only a little pressure. I filed until the file was taking off just a tiny bit of the binding and then I stopped. I'm going to gently reseat each fret in my "guillotine" fret press. Then I will glue the frets in, hand file the ends and continue with the fret leveling. This is actually starting to look good.
     
  5. andy007

    andy007 Premium Member

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  6. andy007

    andy007 Premium Member

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    I've discovered a problem now that I'm about done with this re-fret job. I've dressed the fret ends and they are as smooth as silk as you move your hands up and down the neck. The problem is right at that joint where the fret end meets the binding. If I run my finger across that joint and try to catch the edge of the fret, I can feel a sharp edge on about 25% of the fret ends. The first fret is the worst.

    When I play the guitar I'm obviously not going to be using that finger motion so it might be OK. However, when I check the edge of the frets on a different guitar, if I really try to dig in and catch the edge of the fret, I can't do it. I know I messed this up but it's not terrible. I have to decide whether to remove the frets and redo it all or see if it can be fixed.

    I think there is a microscopic gap between the fret end and the binding. If I look at it with a magnifying glass there may be a gap smaller than the thickness of a human hair. I'm not sure how to handle this. Here are some things I could do but I don't know if any of them make sense as I have no previous experience doing this.

    * I could take my 35 degree bevel file and file some more on the fret ends. This would also remove some more of the binding.

    * I could also take my fret file and gently file where the fret meets the binding. This would leave a slight indention in the binding since the fret end and binding are already flush.

    * Or I could wick some superglue under the fret end and maybe that would fill in the gap some.

    * I could tap the fret ends down with a dead blow hammer and re-level everything.

    That gap is the ever so slightest gap. A piece of notebook paper wouldn't even fit in it. Not sure how to handle this. Any suggestions?
     
  7. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Member

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    You need a safe edged file. There are many versions, of which I have two. I've tried to find a pic of the one I currently prefer, but couldn't and any pic I take of mine is not clear enough to give an accurate representation. The idea is that it allows you to rest that "safe edge" on the fingerboard and/or binding and get right down into that little corner to gently relieve that sharp spot, without damage to the board or binding. It's a VERY careful and fiddly operation, but not too terrible.

    Heres a plethora of pics of available units for purchase, safe edge fret file or you could "safe" your own http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Magnets/SafeEdgeFile/safeedgefile.html

    Best Of Luck,
    Gene
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  8. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Member

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    FWIW, this one is as close as I could find to my current preference

    http://store.fretguru.com/product/ultimate-fret-end-file/

    though currently out of stock! It's definitely not the holy grail, but even though I notice a few little shortcomings, I've not yet determined what needs to be different for me to have one that I like better. As a card carrying tool junkie, I must state that "specialty" tools, in particular, need to be "JUST RIGHT" to bond with me for specific tasks. :cheers2:

    BTW, really nice job so far, especially for what seems to be your first go around. I really don't think you need to pull 'em and start over! Just find the right tool to finish up this last, final detail and wear some strings out on those nice, hard frets! :naughty:

    Just My $.02,
    Gene
     
  9. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Member

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    Oh, and I forgot! If you have not already done so, watch and follow resident fretting guru/guitar builder extraordinaire Freddy G's chapter 5 of his re-fretting tutorial on fret polishing:
    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/refret-tutorial.139722/

    A full read of the thread isn't a bad idea, as is also a full watch of all 5 chapters on you-boob! The only thing I do differently on the polishing is when I get to the part where Freddy switches to steel wool, I instead use Turtle Wax brand polishing compound with a felt wheel on a variable speed Dremel, at slowest setting. The frets end up looking like fine jewelry and with those "hard" EVO frets, the glassy smooth polish will likely last a good long while!:cool:

    Have Fun,
    Gene
     
  10. andy007

    andy007 Premium Member

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    I have the StuMac fret end dressing file that has a safe edge. I'll see if I can remove some material from the edge of the fret end. I now believe I know why this happened. I used the Summit Fret Tang nipper tool, fantastic tool by the way. When that tool removes the fret tang it leaves an almost smooth cut. It was so clean a cut that I didn't think I needed to file it perfectly smooth. In hind sight I think that extremely tiny ridge is creating a gap at the fret end. If I can't fix it using the fret dressing file I will remove the frets and start over. Next time I will file the tang cut perfectly smooth.
     
  11. andy007

    andy007 Premium Member

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    Thanks for the info Gene. I will watch Freddy's video. Most of my fret dressing info came from Crimson Guitars' youtube videos. Thanks again.
     
  12. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Member

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    I would advise you to do all you can to avoid pulling the frets. The amount of possible damage to fretboard, especially after CA gluing, will likely be far worse than any tiny bit of damage from "fiddling" with the ends. You may produce a few "flaws" in the binding (I HATE binding, BTW, for many reasons), but even replacing/repairing/living with the binding would probably be less stressful to the fingerboard, and you, than another complete re-fret! Not to mention, pulling the frets again runs the serious risk of messing up the binding anyway and then you end up with even more work!
    Just Sayin'
    Gene
     
  13. scimitar

    scimitar Senior Member

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    By the way, if you need a safe edge file, just get a normal one and grind the teeth off one side, just make sure you don't overheat it otherwise it will lose its hardness.
     
  14. andy007

    andy007 Premium Member

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    I have a small StuMac safe edge file. I was able to carefully file all the way around the fret end which solved the problem. Even being careful, I buggered up the binding a little but some 600 grit sandpaper cleaned it up. This first refret has been a learning experience.
     

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