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  1. #1
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    07.04.16 @ 08:03 PM
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    Default Filing Fret Ends

    Hi All:

    The especially dry start to this Minnesota winter has once again made the fret ends on many of my guitars poke out a little more than what is comfortable for me. I've found that oiling and waxing the necks about once a month helps keep them better moisturized and can thwart the neck drying somewhat, but I think in a state with a solid three/four months of cold and dry sharp fret ends are an inevitability. My tech has always done a phenomenal job filing them down for me (and those necks traditionally do quite well during winter once they've been filed), but at this stage I don't have the time or funds to pay him to do every guitar that needs it (including some new necks that have yet to be attached to guitars). So I'd like to learn the process myself.

    My questions are:

    1. What type of files are best suited for this type of work?

    2. What is the procedure for filing fret ends? (I once watched a tech do it and was quite surprised at how fast it was; he simply ran a long file along each side of the fret while not touching any part of the neck wood. Is this a normal method?)

    Thanks in advance for tips and advice!

    -AT

  2. #2
    Romeo Delight TopJoey's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Hi All:

    The especially dry start to this Minnesota winter has once again made the fret ends on many of my guitars poke out a little more than what is comfortable for me. I've found that oiling and waxing the necks about once a month helps keep them better moisturized and can thwart the neck drying somewhat, but I think in a state with a solid three/four months of cold and dry sharp fret ends are an inevitability. My tech has always done a phenomenal job filing them down for me (and those necks traditionally do quite well during winter once they've been filed), but at this stage I don't have the time or funds to pay him to do every guitar that needs it (including some new necks that have yet to be attached to guitars). So I'd like to learn the process myself.

    My questions are:

    1. What type of files are best suited for this type of work?

    2. What is the procedure for filing fret ends? (I once watched a tech do it and was quite surprised at how fast it was; he simply ran a long file along each side of the fret while not touching any part of the neck wood. Is this a normal method?)

    Thanks in advance for tips and advice!

    -AT
    Hi AT,

    Great question, having the same prolem here in the Boston area. Cold dry winters always wreck havoc on my guitars. I also need to start learnig these things myself, too many guitars and not enough money to keep bringing them in to the shop. I'm curious what others do to combat the problems winter brings to guitars.

  3. #3
    Forum Frontman
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopJoey View Post
    Hi AT,

    Great question, having the same prolem here in the Boston area. Cold dry winters always wreck havoc on my guitars. I also need to start learnig these things myself, too many guitars and not enough money to keep bringing them in to the shop. I'm curious what others do to combat the problems winter brings to guitars.
    I'm hoping a few of our regular knowledgeable tech guys can offer some simple answers.

    Once I've got this down I'm going to finally buy a set of nut files and learn that process. Then it's learning fret leveling and dressing. I find it kind of absurd that I've built guitars from raw parts but have always had to lean on other people to do these basic guitar luthier things. Time to learn...

  4. #4
    Baluchitherium
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    Donor

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Hi All:

    The especially dry start to this Minnesota winter has once again made the fret ends on many of my guitars poke out a little more than what is comfortable for me. I've found that oiling and waxing the necks about once a month helps keep them better moisturized and can thwart the neck drying somewhat, but I think in a state with a solid three/four months of cold and dry sharp fret ends are an inevitability. My tech has always done a phenomenal job filing them down for me (and those necks traditionally do quite well during winter once they've been filed), but at this stage I don't have the time or funds to pay him to do every guitar that needs it (including some new necks that have yet to be attached to guitars). So I'd like to learn the process myself.

    My questions are:

    1. What type of files are best suited for this type of work?

    2. What is the procedure for filing fret ends? (I once watched a tech do it and was quite surprised at how fast it was; he simply ran a long file along each side of the fret while not touching any part of the neck wood. Is this a normal method?)

    Thanks in advance for tips and advice!

    -AT

    it's not a job i have ever done (too scary if i balls it up) so i tend to leave it to a pro, but this is a webiste i tend to use should i encounter any problems that i may be able to repair myself
    http://www.projectguitar.com/menu/tutorial.htm



    it also has a section on neck building/fretting which covers filing fret ends, im not sure how comprehensive it is, as, like i said above, its not a job i would normaly attempt myself...
    http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/fretting.htm


    hope this is of some help.
    tom
    http://www.facebook.com/Tommywho5150

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  5. #5
    Eruption
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    Default

    I got lucky.
    During the summer months, there is a flea market in Ademstown NJ. There was a vendor there that sold surgical and jewlers tools.
    I bought all kinds of files and dental tools real cheap.
    In the file stash, there are a couple files that are the same thing as you would but for fret filling from guys like Stewet Mac.
    I'll snap a pic for ya.
    They are flat, curved, only about a quarter inch wide and very fine. They are perfect for the job.
    These tools are an awesome addition to my arsonal. I use them for all kinds of things.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "Talent is God Given, But Success is Hard Work"

    www.ronscustomguitars.com

  6. #6
    Eruption
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    Here they are.
    As you can see, they're all different sizes. Some round, some flat, some round and flat.



    This is the one I file frets with. Ya have to be a little carefull untill you get the hang of it. Always use a down stroke. Round off all sides. With some care, you wont eat into the wood at all.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "Talent is God Given, But Success is Hard Work"

    www.ronscustomguitars.com

  7. #7
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    Default

    Install a humidifier in your furnace line if you have one. I recently moved and my new house has a humidifier built into the furnace ducts. It is simply a water line that allows you to adjust the amount of moisture that gets into the hot air from the furnace every time it kicks in. My one guitar with a raw neck started buzzing like crazy as soon as the cold weather settled in. I turned up the humidifier to like 40% and the problem is gone. It's also better for me too, I used to wake up in the morning with a dry, sore throat and now that there is more moisture in the heated air, I don't have those problems. It's a very simple installation and if you are at all handy, you should be able to do it in an afternoon.

    Option 2 would be to get a scrap neck and practice refretting and filing. I tried doing a refret to a cheap old neck I had lying around. It turned out ok, better than I though for my first attempt, but it is really difficult to do well without proper tools. I used small, fine metal files and managed to stay away from the wood for the most part. The greatest difficulty I had was bending the fretwire to the appropriate curve to match the radius of the neck. Luthiers have great tools to do these jobs. I eyeballed it, and it was hit and miss. Some frets turned out nice, others didn't. I'm going to pull those frets soon and try again. Fretwire isn't that expensive and it's a great learning process.

  8. #8
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Great file set. One thing to do to foolproof it somewhat especially your first time doing it (depending how proud the frets are from the fingerboard) is to run good quality 3M masking tape along the edges of the neck. Then you can do the coarser filing through the tape and then stop when you start abrading the masking thus protecting the fingerboard edge from accidental removal/nicks. Then remove the tape for the fine removal and dressing. Again as said. downward strokes are the best for final dressing, but you can do the filing running down the length of the neck as long as you do the tape method first. I've found however that when people do this unprotected, the problem will just reemerge again and again because your removing the material uniformly. Sometimes it comes back worse because wood blasts away faster than metal obviously.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

 

 

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