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Old April 29th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I need to dress my fret ends.. Which file?

I have a guitar with the fret ends poking out and I would like to file them flush. It's mostly the tangs thats are poking out and I was thinking about using this file from Stew-Mac http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting...sing_File.html.

Will this do the job or does anyone recommend a better tool for this work? Thanks...

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Old April 29th, 2006, 03:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The file you linked won't take care of the fret ends, just the edges. You can pick up a flat file anywhere, that's what you need.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 03:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a triangular file........ about a half inch wide on each side. I just run that down the sides of the neck. I live in a very dry climate so I get a lot of fret sprout.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 04:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I want to order the file from StewMac. Can someone point me to the right file on their site?
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Old April 29th, 2006, 05:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The file you linked to above is for rounding the ends of the fret after you've run a flat or triangular file down the sides of the neck. That file and a flat or triangular file is all you need to do the job you asked about. However, if you want to spend money unnessarily order the 6" one here.


and this one.

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Old April 30th, 2006, 11:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have found that a hard knife sharpening stone (not a rough gritty one) like a buck knife stone works well for smoothing and deburring after filing the ends.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 05:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I use the Stew-Mac 1175 safe edge fret dressing file, but I usually prefer to use the non-safe edge side and an aluminum fretboard shield. Any smallish, fine file will work - the 1175 just makes the job easier and quicker.
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Old May 6th, 2006, 11:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Rob, thats what I was looking for. The board is maple so I will have to tread lightly. The fret sprout is very minor, but all the tangs protrude some. When I look at it from its side, it's like 20 tiny zits! There must be some shrinkage, should I rehumidify the neck before doing this? I just moved to Arizona, and though I have been keeping humidity under control with my acoustic, I've not been able to dot he same for the electrics yet.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 02:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I would say do not re-humidify the neck. You're now in a drier climate. Just let the guitar acclimate itself and take care of those fret ends. Do a neck adjustment if needed.

I worked at a music store in Michigan that used to get Fenders from Cali and within a week or two, they had absorbed so much moisture that they all needed the relief taken out of the necks.

I mean, if you only plan to play your guitar in a humidified room, thats one thing. Otherwise, just let the guitar acclimate to the climate in which it now resides.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 05:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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wenis, as crawdad advised, rehumidifying the neck won't help much if at all to the fret sprout issue, and could cause other issues of concern ... time to file the fret ends flush to the fingerboard edge, then dress and polish the fret ends. Since the board is maple, the fret end trim will take off some of the clear coat - reapply some clear to seal - you can wipe on some polyU or lacquer or acrylic (even clear nail polish).
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Old May 11th, 2006, 12:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input gentlemen. I should consider taking it to a good tech, but I just had a fret dressing on this neck in September, before my move. I don't have anyone I trust out here yet.

Should I mask the fretboard?
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Old May 11th, 2006, 04:18 AM   #12 (permalink)
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What I've done lately is to make a shield by cutting out a thin slot in a piece of thin clear plastic and then I use sand paper (the tough black stuff) to round and smooth the fret ends. I've got good results with it.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 06:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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IMO, though the Stew-Mac safe edge dressing file if real nice, if yer Not gonna do daily fret dressing then almost any small fine file will do a great job as long as you use a shield - I cut shields from alum cans because you want the shield material to be as thin as possible, yet still protect the fretboard ... used like so (sorry, it really takes two hands to dress the fret ends using a shield and I needed one hand to work the camera, but you'll get the idea) ....

The Stew-Mac safe edge dressing file.


A triangular fine file.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 07:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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One thing sometimes overlooked is that various types of abrasive papers and cloths work can work as well as files when glued to pieces of straight wood,screwdriver blades and shafts,and other suitable objects.
I have made some very useful oddball shaped"files" that way.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 07:58 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TraditionalCountry
One thing sometimes overlooked is that various types of abrasive papers and cloths work can work as well as files when glued to pieces of straight wood,screwdriver blades and shafts,and other suitable objects.
I have made some very useful oddball shaped"files" that way.
Malcolm
Yes, for sure. However, a fine file will typically be more aggressive and thus faster - you've got at least 20 fret ends or so to dress, 4 corners per fret, at least 3 strokes per corner, it all adds up ... afterwards you can follow up with a MicroMesh buff out polish from 600 thru around 4000 grit. The fret ends will just glow. 8)
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