I just did my ninth fret board and I noticed that the frets weren't being cut all the way through. The previous fret board had super jumbo stainless steel frets so I suspect that may have dulled my cutter. Is there any reason not to sharpen the cutter with a stone?

Another question" previously I always used the tool sideways but on this last fretboard  I tried with the jaws clomping up/down and found I got a cleaner cut. Anyone have any opinions on this?

PS. I just looked up the tool I bought from Gitty and it says not recommended for stainless steel. My mistake.

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It sounds like you have a choice- Own a pair of cutters that don't cut properly- or - Potentially ruin a pair of cutters that don't cut properly.

You might need something a bit more aggressive than a stone. I use a pair of side cutters that I ground down to cut flusher than the way they came from the shop.  

Yep, good point. I'll give it a try.

Hi, I was lucky many years ago of finding a pair of end nippers that would stand up to constant cutting of fret ends. I ground the end of the jaws flush so that they would leave no fret ends sticking out past the fingerboard. However after 20 years they lost the ability to cut cleanly. They were made in Germany. 

I tried many different, more modern, styles of end nippers only to have them fail after a few fret jobs. Some years ago I started using the fret end nippers from Stumac and they have been going well, even after a couple of stainless fret jobs.

i would always cut the frets from the sides, not top and bottom. This is because the fret tang is better supported by the slot sides, plus the cutting surfaces have less resistance as they bite into the lower part of the frets crown. But what works for you my be different. The fret wire I use in CBG,s is nowhere as hard as the wire I use for refrets or in the other guitars I build. Especially the gold Evo frets.


Thanks for the feedback. I'll try to rehab what I have but expect I'll eventually look for a higher quality tool.

I forgot to mention that sometimes when I misplace my cutters I use the old bend and snap method 

It is demonstrated in this old video around the 2:20 mark


The guy is putting in bar frets which were used before modern crown frets were widely available. He puts some cuts in the back with the blade that makes them stay in better and then he hammers them home and bends and snaps the fret wire.

It works really well though can cause issues with pop out of fretboard material especially on the higher frets (if you go that far).

Interesting; but I think I'll stick with cutters.

Hi, if it's the old uke video, I'm not seeing what you described, bending of fret ends to snap them to length.

What I see is: fret aready cut to length, fret tapped with sharp tool to put grooves in the bottom edge of the fret to aid grip in the slot, (I used to do this back in the day when Frets had no barbs on the tang), taps fret into slot, taps fret sideways flush with fingerboard on one side, files other slightly protruding end flush.

I could  be wrong as its all speeded up.

I have a Martin 1927 guitar on my bench with bar frets, I have removed one fret to do a neck reset, and it looks to me that that fret would not break off at the right spot by just bending it.

I'd be keeping my end nippers handy, ha ha.


The brass bar stock is hard to see it really onlybut it is quite long. The bend and snapping process is very quick, he bends it only 3 times. I have done it myself quite a few times though the ease of bending and snapping does vary with the hardness of the frets. I just did it with some brass fretwire the day before yesterday. It works really well on all the thin uke fretwire I use. It usually snaps  after 3 or 4 bends as long as you get that first bend nice and tight push in the wire hard at right angles  parallel to the fretboard (Not up or down) it can lift the frets slightly as you do it and you can finish up with a slightly hooked end to the fretwire. The main reason I don't do it more often is the danger of fretboard edge pop out.

On a related note I can't seem to find rectangular wire in anything other than sterling silver to try the old way myself and I don't know what size to use anyway. I may experiment with flattening round copper wire but I dont have flattening rollers. My pasta machine might work if I distemper the copper first, otherwise I may have to resort to the old knockometer/ Australian screwdriver.


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