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ruby50
05-16-2016, 04:43 AM
I have built 5 guitars, all with a radiused fretboard. The fret wire has come curved/bent and I have had no problems installing it in 1/4" or so thick fretboards.

I am building my first uke, an Osage Orange copy of a Ditson Style 3 from 1916. The StewMac tiny fret wire came flat, and I assumed that was correct for a flat fretboard - this one is about 5/32".

The fret wire did not want to behave, but stayed relatively flat for the first 12or so frets. However, the upper 5-6 frets did not want to behave and the sound hole end of the fretboard ended up curved side to side, with the edges higher. Of course they are glued in with thin CA.

I have heated these frets until I get good smoke out the ends of the slots then clamped the area flat with hardwood cauls, but I can't get them flat so they will hold:


https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/26776822810/in/album-72157668383466386/

What am I doing wrong?

I am thinking I will pull these troublesome frets and start over, but what would I do differently?

Many thanks

Ed

saltytri
05-16-2016, 05:03 AM
It helps a lot to bend the wire, even when installing on a flat board. I use a homemade bender similar to these commercial models:

http://www.lmii.com/products/tools-services/fretting/professional-fret-bender

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Tools_by_Job/Tools_for_Fretting/Pullers_nippers_sizing/FretBender.html

Timbuck
05-16-2016, 05:19 AM
Nice job on the fretboard .. I think you've got the slots a bit too wide and and the fretwire tang isn't gripping in the slot...It should grip without gluing..The fret wire I use in the UK comes in straight 24" lengths and I've never had that problem...Or maybe its something to do with the stripe down the centre ?

cml
05-16-2016, 07:08 AM
I had the same problem on a few frets on my recent build. As Ken says, it was because the slots were a bit wide for a few of them, and the tang got no/little grip at the ends. Solved it by pre-bending a little and then clamping down with CA.

ksquine
05-16-2016, 07:09 AM
I put a bend in the wire before cutting the frets. I just bend the whole 24" strip to about a 20" radius with my hands, just enough to give the ends a little spring downward.
Like Ken said.....The frets should grip with no glue. Maybe your fret slots are too wide and won't grip the fret tang. I'm not sure why you're heating the frets until they smoke. I don't think scorched wood will help hold them

Michael N.
05-16-2016, 07:37 AM
You need to measure the slot that your saw is giving you. You can do that with feeler gauges.
I fret a little different than the norm. I cut my slots a little wider than usual. The fret can be literally tapped in with the handle of a chisel, very easy. There's some mechanical grip but it's not as firm as the standard method. I use Fish or hide glue, tap them in, clamp with a wooden caul. After the glue is dry they are very firmly glued in. Pre curved fretwire will help. I was never happy using the standard method on thin fretboards, fretting off the neck. I often ended up with the board going a little concave across it's width. Going to the wider slot prevented that kind of distortion.

ruby50
05-16-2016, 08:12 AM
All

Using heat to un-glue frets is not controversial in the guitar world. I have done a couple of refrets using a soldering iron, but saw this trick and decided to try it - great success. I get the glue to smoke in about 4-5 seconds:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruby1638/14722670967/in/album-72157646021648968/

My slots are definitely not too wide - I have never had to tap as much before in the 5 new and 3 re- fret jobs that I have done on guitars. I am using a StewMac .023 saw just as recommended.

Tipping the fret wire so that I can start tapping at one end, the wire developed a bend upwards before I reached the other side of the board, so I think that pre-bending the frets will make a difference. Maybe those last couple of frets did not have enough grabbing power to flatten an already-warped fretboard.

Also, I think clamping the entire fret board flat in a vice against a hardwood caul on the frets as I glue will freeze everything in place nice and flat.

Thanks all for the comments

Masonguitars
05-16-2016, 01:36 PM
I've had uke fretboards cup on me (my boards end up .18-.20" thick), and started filing the tangs off the frets. Haven't had any cupping since.

ruby50
05-16-2016, 01:59 PM
File them completely off? At the ends only?

Ed

Masonguitars
05-17-2016, 03:21 AM
Completely. I then press and glue them in with medium viscosity CA glue.

Timbuck
05-17-2016, 03:42 AM
Completely. I then press and glue them in with medium viscosity CA glue. looks to me that the excesive tapping is causing the wire to bend upwards..I just hold the wire across the slot and press it in with the drill press with a full width caul in one go.

Doug W
05-17-2016, 03:50 AM
Not being a luthier, I don't understand the relationship between frets and pictures of a framed room with insulation and romex. Am I the only one seeing the construction pictures?

Timbuck
05-17-2016, 04:06 AM
Not being a luthier, I don't understand the relationship between frets and pictures of a framed room with insulation and romex. Am I the only one seeing the construction pictures?
Yes! I see them too :confused:..so i'm not going bonkers after all ;)

ruby50
05-17-2016, 05:30 AM
If you cut them off completely, do you cut the grooves? What holds them in the right place while the glue dries?

Ed

lauburu
05-17-2016, 10:14 AM
Am I the only one seeing the construction pictures?
I'm pleased someone else mentioned it. I am currently renovating the lounge so, when I saw the strangely familiar pictures, it took me a while to figure out what was wrong.
Miguel

ruby50
05-17-2016, 10:28 AM
Sorry about the pictures - I thought I was doubling up on the 2 pictures on the Flickr page,but alas, I am a Luddite. I like the idea of a full width caul to press them in all at once. On guitars, I tap them in at the 2 ends and use an Ipe (VERY hard wood) caul and a C-clamp to squeeze them in. I haven't had much luck getting them started on this flat board.

Anyway - pulled 6 frets, and tried another approach and I think I got it. On to finishing!


Ed

Masonguitars
05-17-2016, 01:51 PM
You know, I misspoke. I don't file the tangs off, I file the barbs off. Sorry for the confusion.

Michael N.
05-18-2016, 12:07 AM
I've had uke fretboards cup on me (my boards end up .18-.20" thick), and started filing the tangs off the frets. Haven't had any cupping since.

You won't get any cupping, if you file the barbs off. It's the barbs that distorts the board. I don't bother filing the barbs, I use them to my advantage. The slightly wider slot that I cut results in much less pressure exerted by the barbs, with the frets going in very easily. The hide or fish glue fills in around the barbs and once dry provides the grip. Fretting couldn't be easier and just requires the most basic of tools.