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Thread: Absolutely hate installing frets

  1. #1
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    Default Absolutely hate installing frets

    Just ruined a lovely fretboard when one of the frets turned sideways on the first tap with a hammer and a big chip came out of the top of the board. Out of all the frustrating steps to building a ukulele, none is more frustrating than installing fretwire. I even have the stewmac press for my drill press and find it helpful not at all. Not in the least.

    /rant

  2. #2
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    Try beveling the slots with a triangular file first. A bit of a chamfer should help them go in easier.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Clara View Post
    I even have the stewmac press for my drill press and find it helpful not at all. Not in the least. /rant
    I love my stewmac cauls for my drill press and it made fretting so much easier than hammering. Consistent depth which made leveling a thing of the past.

    Here is what I do: prior to setting the fret, I run the tip of a worn screwdriver into the fret kerf opening it up slightly and creating a slight bevel and taking that sharp edge off. I apply a significant amount of downward pressure and sometimes do it twice. Then I just barely tap the fret in place on the end and then put it under the caul and seat until the caul makes contact with the fretboard. Fast easy and no fretting about chips. Most of the time if the fretboard is nice and flat level I don't have to level at all avoiding all that work of re-crowning. Hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    Hi Matt ..I always run the point of a scriber in the slots opening em out a bit .. and I find tapping the frets in just at one end with a plastic hammer with the fretboard on a flat steel block improves the fitting ..then I finish off with a small 1/2 ton press.
    F0B5B625-7471-40D7-9741-4C22D5C7803F by Ken Timms, on Flickr
    Last edited by Timbuck; 05-09-2021 at 07:55 AM.
    http://ukulele-innovation.tripod.com ebay i/d squarepeg_3000 Email timmsken@hotmail.com

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  5. #5
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    ..then I finish off with a small 1/2 ton press.
    ... to which (it appears) I have added a good quality torque wrench so that (in true Timbuck style) I can be assured every fret has exactly the correct amount of pressure needed to be perfectly seated.

    Well done, Ken
    Miguel

  6. #6
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    Matt, presumably you have pre-bent the wire if it is a radiused board?

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the advice, guys, I'll try opening up the fret slots at the top on the next one. Fortunately, I decided to use a different wood for the fretboard on my current build than that lovely desert ironwood. Still, it was Texas ebony, and I see a 12" x 2" stick of that is going for $50 these days.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauburu View Post
    ... to which (it appears) I have added a good quality torque wrench so that (in true Timbuck style) I can be assured every fret has exactly the correct amount of pressure needed to be perfectly seated.

    Well done, Ken
    Miguel
    That is really cool with the torque wrench, but I find that once the fret shoulders hit the wood they really can't go much further and are seated. Then again if you really over torqued it...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    That is really cool with the torque wrench, but I find that once the fret shoulders hit the wood they really can't go much further and are seated. Then again if you really over torqued it...
    You just start off with light pressure then increase the torque setting until it seats them nice ... (Mine is set at 46 Newton Meters or 34 Foot Lbs) then lock it in place for good. Simple.
    Last edited by Timbuck; 05-09-2021 at 09:06 PM.
    http://ukulele-innovation.tripod.com ebay i/d squarepeg_3000 Email timmsken@hotmail.com

    If you can believe that moving images and sound, can fly through empty space across the universe and be seen and heard on a box in your living room ?.. then you can believe in anything.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbuck View Post
    You just start off with light pressure then increase the torque setting until it seats them nice ... (Mine is set at 46 Newton Meters or 34 Foot Lbs) then lock it in place for good. Simple.
    Ken, I'm surprised! Surely you need a different torque setting depending on the density of the fretboard? Softer woods would need less force to seat the fret? I would have thought you would have measured the required force per species and established a table for such eventualities? Very slap-dash. (Joking obviously).

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