Fitting the frets

Category: Guitar building

2017-01-29 15:40:37

Time to install the frets. I wanted to do this near the end, so I could get the fret board nicely lined up, levelled, etc, but it's made installing the frets a real pain. Not being able to detach the neck, and having the body come up one side of the fret board makes it hard to get files around the edge of half the frets. :-(

I've ended up marking the fret board as I hammered the frets in, and also scratched the edge of the board when filing the fret ends. I put glue in the edges, some of which flowed straight out the other side. #*@*!

Next, time to file the edges. I got one side done in about an hour, before I realised I was doing it all wrong - I was using the tiny little finishing file to carefully sculpt each fret. Once I realised that I could just run a large file along about 8 at a time, it was a much quicker and neater job, and then a quick file with the finishing file to take off the sharp edges.

I also realised much too late that something as simple as electrical tape on the board would have stopped the scratches. Learning experience.

Once the frets were all on and filed, used dark wood putty under each fret end, then another coat of oil/wax to try to hide all the scratches. :-/

I've also updated the fret markers on the side of the board. I'd previously drilled small holes and filled them, which looked a bit crap as it was uneven and not particularly neat. I redid them using a rotary tool with a diamond bit, which was able to make them nice and round. Filled with a light coloured wood putty, and they look pretty neat. The frets in this photo haven't been finished, and you can still see where glue has come through.