Hi all, just taking a break to let my frustrations subside and I thought I might discuss my problem with my peers. I have fretted over 20 necks, the first few were a pain, but I finally figured out a good method that works for me and now I can go from cutting the slots all the way to dressing and leveling the frets in about 2 hours. Today, I have spent two hours and I still have 9 frets to install, let alone dress and level them. The only thing that I did different was bevel my fret slots just a tiny bit prior to installing the fretwire. I cannot get the frets to bite the slots for nothing! Seems that the fretwire keeps wanting to roll over on me. I just barely beveled the slots with a triangular needle file. I believe that I may have beveled them too much causing the fretwire to lean a bit, therefore not seating down into the slot. If I beveled them much less, I don't really think that there would be any diffence had I not beveled them at all.

Does anyone who has used this method have any insight for me??

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is the problem that the fret slots are too tight for your fret tangs ? - i have found that on hard woods that it takes a lot more effort to install frets - i usually file the barbs on the fret tang when i'm using a hardwood fretboard such as cocobolo and find they go home a lot better - i have seen a fret barb removing tool (think it was at stew mac but dont quote me on that ) which removes some of the barb when you pull/draw the fretwire through it

another idea may be to slightly taper the bottom of the fret tang rather than adding the taper to the fret slots

also is it the same fretwire you have used before because some have a variation in tang thickness ?

I am using "ebonized" oak which I have used on a few other builds with no issues. I am using fretwire from the same one pound lot that I have used for at least 12 other builds with no issues. I am using the same saw that I have always used. All of my tried and true methods were used, well, this time I am fretting the fingerboard prior to laminating it to the neck, but other than that, the only variable is the beveled slots. At first I thought maybe my trouble stemmed from not have the fretboard laminated to the neck yet, so I put it on a neck black with some 2 sided tape and tried again, but the results were the same. Which leads me to think that it must be the beveled fret slots. Any other ideas?? I am open to anything. Appreicate the reply.

Thats a strange one - i can't see why adding a slight bevel to the fret slot would cause such problems - i always make my fretboards and fret them before i glue them to the neck

fretting oak for me has never been a problem the frets usually just pop straight in

infact the only problem i ever had with fretting was the saw i was using (brass Back From Stew Mac) lost its teeth offset pretty quick which did infact make the fret slots tighter maybe this is the case - you could try just cutting a fresh slot in a off-cut of the same wood you have used for your fretboard and try fitting some fretwire without adding the beveled edge to the fret slot and see how that goes !

BTW i now use the japaneese Pull saw from stew mac it's much better than the standard Brass backed type

thats about all i can offer mate hope you get it sorted

juju :)

Thank you for lending an ear. I really do need to get a new fretsaw. The one that I use I bought from the son of a luthier that had passed away around 10 years ago, hard to say how long he had used it. I appreciate the vintage feel of it and the "mojo" (lol) that it has, but it is due time to get a nice stew nac fretsaw with a depth guide.

Going back to give it another go now that I have relaxed. If there is one thing that I have learned is that you should never try to work frustrated or distracted. Way to many opportunities to make mistakes.

Thanks again Juju.
Definately time for a new saw. Once I filed the barbs down on the tang just a bit everything went as normal.

cool mate at least you know what the problem was :) - if your going to buy your new saw from stew mac i would suggest buying the japaneese pull saw it also accepts the depth stop and its only a few quid more than the standard Brass Backed saw they sell - i have both and the japaneese is far better IMO

I mildly (very slightly) radius the slot, especially in harder woods to compensate for the slight filet or radius in the underside of the fret wire, it seems to help make sure the frets lay flatter (and stay there.) But I agree that it makes the wire a little trickier to get started straight. One thing that helps me is to leave a little more of a wire "tail" to hold as I start them into the slot. And yes, as noted-the right saw makes a big difference.

Bevellling the slots, very lightly, can seem a useless exercise unless you want to pull the frets out again - causing splits and tiny shards of wood to come away with the fret, ruining an otherwise perfect slot! )-:

I usually lightly bevel along the slot using a triangular needle file, place the end of the fret wire strip along in the slot then push in with my thumb, then when sure it is "in" gently tapping with a small nylon hammer - then snip off the ends and a few more taps with the fret hammer... done - only 21 or so to go! (-:


You may be able to have your old saw sharpened. Sounds like it is a cool one with a history.


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