Working on my second build and first time fretting. Had trouble getting the fret slot depth consistent. Frets went in ok but now I’m having trouble getting the ends to feel comfortable. I’ve been working at them but can’t seem to get them feeling comfortable. I don’t want to overwork them and cause myself more trouble. Any tips or suggestions?y

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Hi, it looks like you have the fret ends rounded ok. It looks like the large radius (for a fingerboard) is making the fret ends stand overly proud of the board. You may have to rework the fret ends to better match the fingerboard edge.

A simple depth gauge is to use two small clamps to hold a strip of timber to the side of the sawblade. Set it a fraction deeper than the fret tang.


Ahhh. So my problem resulted from too much rounding of the fretboard edge. Makes sense. How should I rework the edge? File each individual fret or is there a quicker way? Thanks for the suggestions. Learning a lot fro this build for sure. Definitely got the “ how to make life more difficult” down.

Michael, I use a modified file, smooth or fine cut so as not to rattle the fret from their seating. I knock off the handle tang and epoxied to a suitable block of wood. Then at the angle I prefer I run it down the length of the fingerboard  across all the fret ends at the same time.

Then I go over all the fret ends individually to remove any burrs and file marks prior to polishing.

With a rounded fingerboard edge it can leave sharp edges of the fret to stick out more instead of blending in, so this has to be knocked of with a small modified file.

In your case be I'd careful you don't bevel so much as to lose playing surface on top of the fret. I have another file that is set into a block at an angle so the bevel is uniform. You see them on Stumac's site. I made my own.

Hopefully you only make things difficult the once. 


Thanks for your help Taff. I worked on them a bit more. Not as nice as I would like but passable. No blood was shed. No plans on repeating that mistake.

I sort of cheat a bit... My necks are 42 mm wide, so I pre-cut my frets to 41mm, clean up the ends & tap them in. It means my frets finish .5mm from the edge of the fret board, which is no drama because the strings are about 10mm from the edge anyway, & I never get any sharp bits! A light sand along the edge & its all good! 

Mitch,That is how I do my frets. I do mine a bit shorter, "4 baseball cards thickness" more narrow then the fret board. With more sanding. No rules! jeff

The title says it all, “First time fretter” so don’t expect to get it perfect on the first try, I didn’t? I’m not sure what kind of files you’re using, but it does make a difference, so if you’re planning on more fretting, get some good ones? You’re on the right track tho? Ask many questions before you get to the point of no return. It looks like you’re pretty much there, just take your time, looks to me like you’re almost at that 35 degree angle it requires? Cheers & good luck to you :)

Thanks Brian. Finished the build. Frets came out ok. Just took some patience. I’ll definitely watch the radius on the next one. Overall fretting was not as hard as I had feared.

Hey that's good Michael, all sorted.

Putting the frets in from the fingerboard edge is fine. I have to do it when refretting some necks with a bound fingerboard, but it is time consuming and getting all the fret ends to look perfectly in line when sighting down the neck is a chore.

On my CBGs this is the quickest way for me. Before gluing on the fingerboard.........

Tap in frets

Cut off overhang flush. Special nippers.

Go to belt sander sand the two edges so frets ends are flush

Then hold the fingerboard at an angle on the belt so that the ends all get done [beveled] at the same time. I can even roll the board over on its edges to get that worn in feel on the edge of the fingerboard. Timber and frets at the same time

Glue board to neck then level and polish frets and their ends.

The time I save in the early stages leaves me more time for the important stuff later.


belt sander!


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