Page 4 of 7

Now I've replaced the inlays I removed and I've sanded the fingerboard to its final finish (280 grit.) It looks just like new!

It should look like new. Now is the last chance I'll have to work on the fingerboard without having frets in the way, so I'd better do the best I can.

In order to avoid chipping when I tap frets in position I'll chamfer the top of the fret slots just a little. This little bevel will also make it safer to remove frets in the future. Here I'm using my cantsaw file and very little downward pressure:

Preparing the frets for installation is not a complex process, but it is time consuming. The new fretwire comes in straight lengths and is just flat bar stock. You can see a little piece of it laying flat under the hammer head in the picture below. It's a trifle too wide (0.055" compared to the original 0.050") so I'll try the fit of each fret and hand file it thinner as needed to achieve a tight fit. Too tight, and I'll spring the neck into a monumental back-bow.

I cut each fret a little overlength and file a notch into each end so it will overhang the binding.
As I tap the frets in place it would be easy for me to drive some of them too deep, so I place a scrap piece of 0.052" thick fretwire next to the fret as I tap. That way I can't over-drive the fret. I'm aiming for a finished fret height of 0.040" I'm using a steel hammer for these frets because I don't have to worry about making scars on the tops - I'll be filing them like crazy soon.

This wire is incredibly stiff stuff, so my overhanging ends must be bent down over the curved edge of the binding. I just tap with my 2oz. ball pein hammer.

Here's the way the ends look before and after bending down:



Back to Index Page