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dofthesea
03-16-2016, 06:34 AM
So I'd like to switch to another method of fretwire install other then hammering in. What is everyones preferred method a dedicated fret press with cauls, a drill press with cauls or maybe one of those Stew mac vise grip or stew mac Bessey clamp design? If you could please explain why you like the method you're suggesting.

Timbuck
03-16-2016, 06:56 AM
I have several presses in the workshop , but I prefer to use the bench drill press with a caul I made out of a piece of steel bar with a bit of rod screwed in the centre to make a T shape...I like to do it this way co's its its at eye level and and doesn't cost anything.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-16-2016, 09:12 AM
ive been using the stew mac Jaws 1 & 2- i like em, but they are expensive- but worth it for a professional or repairer etc.

If i was a hobbyist, id press them in with a normal F clamp and scrap wood

Allen
03-16-2016, 09:43 AM
A mate of mine has been making some fret press pliers for a couple of years now. I use them exclusively and even got rid of my arbour press with dedicated cauls because these things work so much better.

He doesn't list them on his website, but if you email him he'll be able to fix you up.


https://youtu.be/rN7H-70AQbE

mvinsel
03-16-2016, 10:05 AM
...If i was a hobbyist, id press them in with a normal F clamp and scrap wood

Thanks Beau,
I'm a hobbyist and I agree sort of - I tap them in with a hammer to get them started and make sure they're straight up not tilted in the slots, then I put the whole fretboard between two very flat same size pieces of hard maple and squeeze it as tight as I can with five or six heavy iron C clamps and leave it overnight. It gets them so level I hardly have to do any filing.

It leaves a little grooving in the part of the maple that meets the metal frets, and I'll swap them then replace them after a few uses.

This only works on flat fretboards, of course.

-Vinnie in Juneau

Kevs-the-name
03-16-2016, 10:12 AM
A mate of mine has been making some fret press pliers for a couple of years now. I use them exclusively and even got rid of my arbour press with dedicated cauls because these things work so much better.

He doesn't list them on his website, but if you email him he'll be able to fix you up.


These look great. Its a shame they are produced half way around the world!

Kekani
03-16-2016, 10:15 AM
I use a press with the StewMac caul.

I bought a cheaper press online, but by the time I had it drilled and tapped, then got an iron plate for the base, I should've bought the StewMac one.

I did a workshop the other year at the UGH Exhibition, and I was surprised at how many guys were banging in frets.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-16-2016, 10:19 AM
I used a hammer for 12 years!

Pressing is soooooo much better then hammering- i used to get finish blowouts on some fret ends with the hammer which sets you back weeks- now i don't ever get that so my $250 JAWS 1 and 2 have paid for them selves.

I fret after finishing otherwise id be using the arbor fret thingy from stew mac (Mya Moe, Aaron (Kekani) and Chuck moore use this method- i've never been able to fret prior to finishing as i always find my fingerboards need a second trueing after i glue the neck on, even though they go on to the body dead straight.

I still find i need to use a hammer around the heel area however I use it to push the frets in rather than 'hammer' with it. Around the last frets, i sometimes file some tang off so they slide in super easy. i also use glue on on frets.

BlackBearUkes
03-16-2016, 02:59 PM
I use a hammer and skill.

sequoia
03-16-2016, 05:17 PM
I also hammer in my frets as I think is appropriate for the Fred Flintstone School of Lutherie. Whack that dang thang! However as a method it leaves a some things to be desired. Such as consistency and this is an operation where you want to be consistent. The one thing it has going for it is that it is pretty straightforward. Pretty much anyone can swing a hammner. The biggest drawback as I see it is that there might be more work down the line leveling and dressing your frets and this no small job. True, if you are good like Duane says, it works just fine and basically really, we are not making rocket engines here. It really ain't that hard.

If I was to throw my frethammer on the scrapheap of history I would go with Ken's method and turn to my drill press. What I would NOT do is pay the exorbitant prices that suppliers of fretpresses and cauls charge. Unless you are in factory setting, not necessary.

FarmerBill
03-17-2016, 02:38 AM
I use a drill press and then clamp the finished board in a wood vise and let it sit. Has anyone used the slide in from the side that some guitar makers are said to have used?

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-17-2016, 03:19 AM
I use a drill press and then clamp the finished board in a wood vise and let it sit. Has anyone used the slide in from the side that some guitar makers are said to have used?

You would need a hefty machine to do the slide from the side method that Fender used.

Timbuck
03-17-2016, 07:07 AM
You would need a hefty machine to do the slide from the side method that Fender used.
Like this Beau :rolleyes:
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/hammer%20job_zpstrbwap0x.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/hammer%20job_zpstrbwap0x.jpg.html)

Hluth
03-17-2016, 08:20 AM
Drill press here. I made a self leveling tool that fits in the chuck. I also put a leg under the drill press table for a good solid push into the fret slot.

89424 89425

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-17-2016, 08:37 AM
Like this Beau :rolleyes:
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/hammer%20job_zpstrbwap0x.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/hammer%20job_zpstrbwap0x.jpg.html)

HAHAHAH- yer....- perhaps it is, ummm...., semi possible with a hammer !

chuck in ny
03-17-2016, 02:02 PM
bought a couple 'thor' hammers a while ago, made in england, very reasonable on ebay shipped to the states. tool snob you see. one is a light copper/rawhide deal, the other a bit heavier, perhaps a pound, impact nylon faces. thinking of using the nylon hammer for frets as to keep life simple. any trouble with that frets can be pressed in with the mill/drill press and a block of wood.

Michael N.
03-18-2016, 11:49 AM
I tap them in with the cheapest Chinese metal hammer known to man. I do cut the slot a little wider than the norm and brush a bit of glue on the barbs. It really is a very simple and easy task if all the factors are right. It's a nightmare if they aren't. If I support the board on my little anvil it's unbelievably easy. If you are hammering make sure nothing is bouncing underneath. Middle of the bench is terrible. Mass is good. it really does make an enormous difference. Same with trying to tap frets in over the body on a guitar. Lead is your friend, plenty of it and not just under the soundboard/fretboard area.

Titchtheclown
03-18-2016, 01:13 PM
Normally I have used a home made hardwood mallet, which i narrowed one face of for tapping in and left the wide face for levelling but i just looked at my collection of clamps on the wall and saw a welders locking plier clamp almost identical to the modded one used by Allen and a Cresent connect clamp (tm) which has a wide plastic face and a big pair of snap on rubber surface protectors that seems almost to have been made for the job. Unfortunately the Connect feature of these clamps is not stable enough to last an entire fretting session so I just clamped it in my Workmate copy and it works fine like that.

https://m.masters.com.au/mob/product/101094595/crescent-connect-clamp-150mm.jsp;jsessionid=y+ehKf5V8AsE79j9dZHiDA__.ncdl morasp1202?bmUID=ldzLw4h

moetrout
03-19-2016, 02:24 AM
Drill press here. I made a self leveling tool that fits in the chuck. I also put a leg under the drill press table for a good solid push into the fret slot.

89424 89425

Thanks for the picture. I do all my own work and have only refretted one banjolele so far. I pounded them in with a bit of scrap wood and a leather mallet. I have a really nice freestanding drill press (my father was a millwright). I would have never thought about using that as a press. Could you please tell me what you mean by "I also put a leg under the drill press table for a good solid push into the fret slot."?

Timbuck
03-19-2016, 03:10 AM
Some file a start into the fret slot with a tri corner file, this also helps bed down the frets co's they do have a small radius fillet where the tang meets the crown...I use a polished scriber point to do the same thing / burnish the edges, co's it dosn't leave dust in the groove and bends the fibers downwards...and it's quicker. ;)
like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLtZzJ7ak6E

sequoia
03-19-2016, 05:52 PM
I like this tip. Never thought of that but it makes perfect sense. Thanks Ken. Has anyone ever had a fret tang jump out of its slot and make a horrible little dent in your fretboard? I have. Ease of entry is a great idea.

Allen
03-19-2016, 05:59 PM
I would have thought that bevelling the fret slot was standard and common knowledge. Apparently not. On some of the Aussie hardwoods I use you will never get a fret in unless you take this step.

I use a needle file with an appropriate shape for mine. Cheap set that I got at the local hardware chain. Under $10 for the set. Been using them for the last 10 years, so pretty good value.

sequoia
03-19-2016, 06:38 PM
I would have thought that bevelling the fret slot was standard and common knowledge. Apparently not.

Never underestimate the ignorance of the aspiring luthier Allen. I've re-invented the wheel more than once...

Michael N.
03-19-2016, 11:37 PM
Bevelling the fret slot helps to minimise breakout should it ever need a refret. In fact I always thought that was the primary reason for using the file but it certainly helps to seat the fret flush with the board too. If you've ever tried to removed frets from a board that hasn't be bevelled you'll know just how easy it is to chip out the fretboard.

Inksplosive AL
03-20-2016, 12:39 AM
Could you please tell me what you mean by "I also put a leg under the drill press table for a good solid push into the fret slot."?

Just a reader here but likely to use the knowledge at least once before I go to dirt.

I would think it safe to assume a simple piece of wood under the middle of the table of the press to the floor. This would make the table less susceptible to flexing or stopping the rear mount from trying to act like a pivot.

chuck in ny
03-20-2016, 02:10 AM
I would have thought that bevelling the fret slot was standard and common knowledge. Apparently not. On some of the Aussie hardwoods I use you will never get a fret in unless you take this step.

I use a needle file with an appropriate shape for mine. Cheap set that I got at the local hardware chain. Under $10 for the set. Been using them for the last 10 years, so pretty good value.

this is how lex luthor prepares his fret boards. thanks for the tip, i honestly would not have thought to do so. i will try either needle files or the triangle hand saw sharpening file and see what is most facile. i have also resolved to spooge glue into the slot. fine points really do make the work, don't they.

Hluth
03-20-2016, 06:44 AM
Just a reader here but likely to use the knowledge at least once before I go to dirt.

I would think it safe to assume a simple piece of wood under the middle of the table of the press to the floor. This would make the table less susceptible to flexing or stopping the rear mount from trying to act like a pivot.

It's a steel post that extends to the drill press base and acts to take the flex out of the table. Whenever you back something up (like pounding a nail into solidly supported wood) it will drive and seat easier with less effort

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
04-21-2016, 08:33 AM
Like this Beau :rolleyes:
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/hammer%20job_zpstrbwap0x.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/hammer%20job_zpstrbwap0x.jpg.html)


stew mac just did this vid - skip to 7:15 in for the side tapping
http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Trade_Secrets/Refretting_the_Mike_Bloomfield_Tele.html?lac_guid= dee3871f-c907-e611-ad62-bc305bee17b9&utm_campaign=ts0260&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=ts0260_B_20160421