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Thread: frets and fretboards

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    227

    Default frets and fretboards

    I'm just completing my 4th fret job. I ordered a StewMac fret end dressing file to finish off the fret ends - and to improve the fret ends on my most recently completed instrument. Obviously, I'm still learning the black art of fretwork. I used Micromesh pads through 3600 grit to polish the frets after recrowning them, but I can still see minuscule scratches when looking closely. Any tips on getting really clean and shiny frets?

    Also, how do you prevent chip-out when drilling the holes for side fret markers? I've tried running the bit backwards briefly to start the hole, and I also use a punch to make sure the bit is centered, but I still seem to end up with the bit grabbing and lifting tiny wood chips that have to be glued back.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Stockport, Cheshire.
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    A simple tool for polishing frets is a 4 sided nail buffer/ polisher, available from pharmacies very cheaply. No real need for micromesh .
    I'll monitor this thread for the answer to your next question!
    Mike

  3. #3

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    I recently bought the Stew Mac fret erasers, tried one for a minute, and sent them back. I, too, think there are simpler and better ways to do it, but I'm still working on perfecting my own method. In the past I've sanded up to 600 and then ran a buffing wheel (dremel) over them.

    As far as the side dot thing, don't know what to say as I've never experienced that. I would suspect your bit over anything, and try a new better one.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    So. Oregon
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    These brad point drill bits are very helpful. They might seems a little on the expensive side...until you have to fix a bad hole. The center point stays where you place it so that it doesn't wander before getting well started and the outer point scores the perimeter of the hole, which makes it perfectly round without chip-out. Never had a bad hole with these.

    https://www.lmii.com/492-drill-bits
    Last edited by saltytri; 12-14-2019 at 06:40 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Grand Junction, Colorado
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    Yes for the brad point bit- I have a dedicated 2mm bit just for side dots.

    If you have crumbly wood (sometimes koa can be like that), wipe ca glue on the area where the dot will be drilled.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    227

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    Thanks for the tips on the fret polishing guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by saltytri View Post
    These brad point drill bits are very helpful. They might seems a little on the expensive side...until you have to fix a bad hole. The center point stays where you place it so that it doesn't wander before getting well started and the outer point scores the perimeter of the hole, which makes it perfectly round without chip-out. Never had a bad hole with these.

    https://www.lmii.com/492-drill-bits
    Thanks for the link.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Hannam Ukuleles View Post
    Yes for the brad point bit- I have a dedicated 2mm bit just for side dots.

    If you have crumbly wood (sometimes koa can be like that), wipe ca glue on the area where the dot will be drilled.
    Thanks for the CA tip. I thought of that . . . *after* I drilled my holes. The smallest brad point bit I have right now is 3mm. Time for another order, it seems.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Australia.
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    181

    Default

    For a quick clean/polish, those model electric train track cleaner (eraser-type) thingies do a reasonable job.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Canberra, AU
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    54

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    For frets I use a fret file to get most of the rounded shape (leaving a slight flat top on the frets), then 400, 600 and 1200 grit wet and dry paper (used dry) used along and across the fretboard. Then Brasso on some paper towel for the final polishing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    227

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    Thanks for the further replies.

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