FRETS.COM When Frets Go Wrong

Hoboy! The heated fret can actually
Burn the Binding
© Frank Ford, 5/17/00; Photos by FF

Well, you need to heat the fret to pull it safely, but sometimes, the hot fret can actually burn into the binding.

The celluloid binding on this 1916 Gibson F-4 mandolin is very old and brittle. The heat used in pulling these three frets was actually enough to burn rather than melt the binding at the ends of the frets:

The first step in fixing the problem is to scrape out the black remnants in the little craters:

Dunking a piece of matching celluloid (ivoroid in this case) in acetone, will soften the surface very quickly:

A quick scrape with a knife, and I have a little glob of melted binding:

Which makes a dandy filler material for the little wounds:

Here are the little fills, ready to be put away to dry:

Now, it will take quite a while for these little guys to dry thoroughly - at least a week.

So, here it is, after plenty of drying time, and a bit of leveling:

Fortunately, this particular injury is very rare around our shop. . .

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