View Full Version : Fiddley fretting...

Pete Howlett
04-06-2009, 11:30 AM
Mandolin fretwire sucks!:wallbash: Well not if you do this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRdp-mNoFKA)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-06-2009, 11:51 AM
I'm not sure what problems you've had but I have no trouble at all seating fine fret wire. It's super fast and easy, no need for glue, and use Stewmac #764, with the drill press caul. Many of us use it here with equally successful results. I used to use #147 but switched to the thinner wire about 150 ukes ago, partly because it dresses out so nicely.

Pete Howlett
04-06-2009, 12:45 PM

Most people who go it alone only have recourse to a hammer. These vids are for amateurs who don't have all the kit we do. Like you, I've been pressing frets since day 1 and use my hammer and mallet for other things :shaka: I have another set of vids which show the way I do it in production mode - the idea is to inspire budding luthiers and help those who can't get it right. I hope that is what I do anyway...

Say, why don't you guys, my peers and in some cases my betters do the same - share your experience and make the whole thing richer for everyone instead of just shimmying with the finished product? I use my still camera in video mode and the free software 'Movie Maker'. I'd personally love to see some of your tricks...

BTW - the glue is an industry technique I picked up at Collings Guitars. I'm not gluing the frets in and the slot is still a tight fit with the fret tang - you can see the fingerboard 'springing' slightly as evidence of this. It just ensures the fret never works lose.

04-06-2009, 12:57 PM
I fought with the little stuff on the ukurine. That may be in part because the saw I use may not be exactly the right size. It is just a skinny one I happen to have. I will try filing a little relief on the next on to see if it helps.

I like your videos a lot. Theres a big gap between how I build and how you big boys do it, and these glimpses into techniques I can use or adapt are great.

(I get the fret started, then cover it with a scrap of maple and wack it with my nail driver.)

Chuck, do you have something you put in the drill press chuck when you use it for fretting? Less wacking would probably be good when it comes to working with my fingerboards.

Pete Howlett
04-06-2009, 01:20 PM
It's a tool you can buy from Stewmac. I use a rack and pinion arbor press similar to this (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Pressing/1/Fret_Press_System/Pictures.html#details). And yes, the video is to address those times when you have cut the fret slot incorrectly. Dedicating Stewmac fretwire to the fret slotting system makes sense and won't require brute force...:nana:

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-06-2009, 01:33 PM
yes, it's very important to match your fret wire to your fret saw for a proper fit.
Pete, I really think your video service is a great one but I honestly don't know how you have the time. I brought a laptop into the shop a year ago and I'm thinking of getting rid of it soon. I'm doing THIS instead of working. I've become a lot less productive because I've become more responsive to the computer. Most of my customer want pictures of their ukuleles and they are being built and I hardly have enough time to do that. I post the only on Fridays now. Outside of the time issue, I'm not a techie and never learned the computer properly. Only a week ago I learned how to post pictures here! I do however do lots of building workshops that are done for free as well as being active in our builders guild where I share everything I know.

Pete Howlett
04-06-2009, 01:56 PM
I don't sleep much Chuck and I use my breaks to shoot and load up the video. It's normally the result of a problem I have once come across or something someone has asked me. Now I have a template for the basic production it doesn't take too long to do.

You should charge if you are doing workshops...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-06-2009, 03:03 PM
Nah, I couldn't do that Pete. I don't mean to sound pollyanish, but it's truly a gift to be allowed to live here, one that I am daily grateful for. I'm thrilled that I have a gift that I can share in return. I'm a firm believer in karma. Aloha is a way of life here, not just a word made up by the visitors bureau. You know as well as I do, we don't do this for the money. I do it because it's what I was meant to do in this place at this time, there's simply no other choice.

Pete Howlett
04-06-2009, 03:42 PM
You are like a Sekonda watch Chuck... easily wound up. I'd be doing fine if I wasn't so generous...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-06-2009, 04:05 PM
Not sure what that means but come on Pete, go to bed already. It's got to be three o'clock in the morning there.

Vic D
04-06-2009, 05:20 PM
I'm using a saw I bought from harbor freight to cut my fret slots. The dadgum saw is just a HAIR smaller than the fret wire I've purchased. I really appreciate the tips.