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Thread: Slot wide enough for fret?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default Slot wide enough for fret?

    Greetings all,

    I am fixing this old Favilla for my wife. I am fine replacing the the nut, shaving down the bridge and replacing the tuners but I have never installed a fret before. This is one of those ukes with no fretboard. The frets are installed directly into the neck and the 12th fret, which is where the body and neck meet, is missing.

    The fret wire I purchased from StewMac is made for 0.58mm slots. I measure this slot at 0.5mm. Is that close enough or do I need to widen the slot?

    Thanks for any ideas,
    Doug

    Favilla_12th_Fret_Missing.jpgFavilla_Full_Size.jpg
    Last edited by Doug W; 09-13-2019 at 01:00 PM.
    I am the best ukulele player on my block!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Australia.
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    Default

    Doug,
    The combined tang + barb measurement of that fret wire is likely to be around 0.9mm. In my opinion you will need to be too heavy handed to seat it into that slot... further down the neck you might get away with this, but not in this position.
    I suggest pre-cutting the fret wire to the exact length, match the curve to the fret board (it looks flat), then roll the ends over to match the existing frets.
    Widen the slot slightly (a very thin serrated knife will suffice in lieu of the correct tool) and put a slight entry chamfer on the channel with a few light strokes of a small triangular file. With this preparation it should tap in without much force. If you think that it seats too easily, carefully wick some CA in from the sides.
    Some repairers might consider widening the channel to 'press in' proportions and setting it with epoxy and clamps. Alcohol may be necessary to clean up epoxy squeeze out (or to drink if the job goes pear-shaped)…. but this will mar a shellacked finish.
    Finally, you may have to modify the profile of the crown to match the original frets and use some ingenuity to colour it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bazuku View Post
    Doug,
    The combined tang + barb measurement of that fret wire is likely to be around 0.9mm. In my opinion you will need to be too heavy handed to seat it into that slot... further down the neck you might get away with this, but not in this position.
    I suggest pre-cutting the fret wire to the exact length, match the curve to the fret board (it looks flat), then roll the ends over to match the existing frets.
    Widen the slot slightly (a very thin serrated knife will suffice in lieu of the correct tool) and put a slight entry chamfer on the channel with a few light strokes of a small triangular file. With this preparation it should tap in without much force. If you think that it seats too easily, carefully wick some CA in from the sides.
    Some repairers might consider widening the channel to 'press in' proportions and setting it with epoxy and clamps. Alcohol may be necessary to clean up epoxy squeeze out (or to drink if the job goes pear-shaped)…. but this will mar a shellacked finish.
    Finally, you may have to modify the profile of the crown to match the original frets and use some ingenuity to colour it.
    bazuku,

    Glad I asked because I was just going to wing it and then it occurred to me that I had no idea what I was doing. This is great information. I will give it a shot this weekend.

    Thanks for saving this project from disaster.

    Doug
    I am the best ukulele player on my block!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default

    Remembered that my son had given me a saw just the right width for frets so I sacrificed a small length of fret wire on an experimental block of wood then, widened the slot on the uke and now the fret is ready to be leveled to the right height.

    Thanks for your help.Favilla_12th_Fret_Installed.jpg
    I am the best ukulele player on my block!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    292

    Default

    It’s a great looking ukulele, a beautiful gift for your wife.
    LACole
    Laurie Ann Cole

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Australia.
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    Default

    Nicely done, Doug.
    Thanks for the feedback.

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