I find it's easier to precut to length and shape ends of frets before putting them in the slots. I have also been using a hacksaw to cut the slots. I use a piece of square 1 1/2inch steel tube which I clamp on top of the frets. This ensures that all the frets are level on the flat surface of the fret board. Then I put a drop of super glue on end of each fret. This works for me.

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So using the hacksaw, you are basically dropping the finished frets into place rather than hammering them I assume? Curious what type of blade you use.

The fret tongue measure 0.6mm in thickness with the Barb's it goes to 1.1mm. The thickness hacksaw blade on a standard hacksaw is 0.9mm. The frets will grip when using this blade. But I also use a drop of super glue on ends. I also have a mini hacksaw which has a blade thickness of 0.7mm this is a tight fit. This is fiddley to use but works well.

This is what I use


If you use a fretting saw, you won’t need glue? I know this works for you, but I don’t recommend using a blade with potential to warp for cutting fret slots, fretting saws have more rigidity than hacksaw blades do & make tighter cuts, but to each his own? 

I'd suggest an economy grade fret saw, with the proper blade thickness, would be one of those things you wish you had gotten far sooner once you use it.

It is also very simple to create a basic miter box that both guides your cut, and controls the depth of cut.

All that said, you may find it necessary to use glue in softer woods. 

And pre-cutting is doable as you have discovered. But with a good sharp set of wire cutters and a good quality file, I can trim and bevel a set of freshly installed frets in about ten minutes. Its the optional detailing from there that takes time!

This guy likes his glue.

Hi Gus, I think what he says makes a lot of sense. I have been gluing my frets in since around the late 1970's. Some Customers actually comment on how much better their guitars sound after a refret, so l keep ding it.

I use Titebond and run a bead of glue along the bottom of the fret tang, otherwise the same as in the video. I do refrets and new fret installations the same.


Hi Neddy, Brian Q and Mark B offer good advice there. I have been through the finding the correct saw dilemma, many, many years ago, and have many, many saws to show for it. Even filing the set of the teeth down to get a good fit. Its hard to beat the saw made for the job. You can use it for other tasks but I keep mine for just fretting only.

You need a stable saw as Brian mentions, and a "back saw" gives you that. Shown in the photo is what I mean. If you feel happy using the hacksaw blade you could make it into a back saw, as also shown in the photo. But does not give much room for slot depth control devise.

A good fit is essential. Fingerboards are not normally protected from the elements with lacquer or varnish so are susceptible to movement, this can cause frets to come lose. I would imagine that loose fitting frets can  allow a neck/fingerboard to bow up more easily under string tension, the same as too tight fitting frets can bow a neck back as they are tapped in.



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