FRETS.COM When Frets Go Wrong

A bit of prevention, too
Bevel Fret Slots
© Frank Ford, 3/3/00; Photos by FF

I've heard luthiers say that they bevel the fret slots to make it easier to install the new frets. I still can't say if I really notice the difference, though. I've also heard that it pays to bevel the slots to help the edges of the fret crown to seat firmly against the fingerboard.

Personally, I think that it's a good idea to bevel the fret slots to reduce chipping when the next guy has to take out my frets. After all that next guy is likely to be me.

I have a teeny, narrow triangular file that I use for beveling fret slots. I broke off the front edge of the file, so it acts as a sort of "plow chisel" to work right up to the edge of the binding:

The file has one full face ground safe, so I'm only cutting one side of the fret slot at a time. I flattened that face so the corner of the file would be especially sharp. That way, the file doesn't tend to ride out of the slot as I file each side of the slot separately.

Close up, you can see that I'm producing an even, very narrow 45-degree bevel:

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