Fret Crowning File

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Intubator, May 4, 2019.

  1. Intubator

    Intubator TDPRI Member

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    Hey Folks, I have a 98' American Strat (and maybe another guitar or two down the road) that I'm going to be doing a fret leveling on and of course I'll need a crowning file. Already have the straight edge, sand paper, etc... Any recommendations for an enthusiast level file to buy that will work well? I've seen both all metal as well as diamond chip impregnated files. I'd assume a fine grit would be better for a beginner such as myself. The Stew M. stuff looks awesome but I can't quite justify the upfront cost on some of it for something I may use 5 times or less... Or, maybe I Should... Open to suggestions of all sorts, Thanks! Here's a pic of the guitar too since we all like pics!


    20190504_174524_resized.jpg
     
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  2. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    I bought a cheap file off eBay

    Tried it on a cheap guitar: rough and actually lopsided, which when you look at it was obvious

    Got my money back, bought another for a little more. Still rough but acceptable

    Be careful!
     
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  3. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Some good videos online to see the procedure others follow.
    I purchased a triangular fret file (with the smooth corners).
    Does the job. The one file does all the shaping.
    Then the process of making the frets smooth and sparkley.
    Go slow (slow ends up being quicker in the end).
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here is what I use. The thin flat rat file is from a $3 Harbor Freight set, I ground and polished the thin edges and the tip so they don't dig into the fretboard or stab the body down at the high frets.
    The second I bought off ebay for under $15 just so I could crown faster, but I found on used guitars the file was too deep and could gouge the board so I ground one side shallower for used vs new frets. The rat file gives more control though.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    Www.philadelphialuthiertools.com has hosco crowning files for good prices, I think mine was like 20 or 25 bucks. Well worth the price, it does beautiful work.

    Edit - they're $33 now. Still not stewmac stratospheric prices.
     
  6. Rev Rhythm

    Rev Rhythm Tele-Meister

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    I bought a twenty dollar baroque crowning file off Amazon and it did a great job for me
     
  7. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I mentioned a UK ebay seller of diamond fret files and refretting tools in a thread yesterday. Still cant remember his name but he goes by his real name on ebay. His files look great, he shapes the ends himself and makes Oak or black plastic handles for the custom files. Thousands of sales and 100% positive feedback from happy customers.
     
  8. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Chris Alop on eBay (from the UK). His diamond crowning tool doesn't work the greatest for me.
     
  9. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Stewmaz Z-file, centered or original. Most foolproof solution for novices (also good for pros). Least likely to lead to mistakes, or "I'm not sure I'm doing this right" moments, IMHO.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  10. Intubator

    Intubator TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions guys. I suppose in the next week or so I'll be picking something up. Again, appreciate the input!
     
  11. coloradojeff

    coloradojeff Tele-Holic

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    StewMac has both the tools and helpful videos you might want to check before you start.
     
  12. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I also purchased the diamond file from Chris Alsop on Ebay. Very nice file for the money and the shipping time to the east coast was less than two weeks. Just be sure to purchase the correct width file for your particular frets.
     
  13. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Buy the best you can find. American or English made. Cheap files are horrible. Real files are solid high carbon steel. Cheap files are pot metal with a thin layer of carbon steel on the outside.
    I found a good deal on quality nut files from Philadelphia Luthiers Supply.
     
  14. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I bought one of these. It’s not cheap, but the above post illustrates why I’m glad I did. It was pretty much impossible to screw up using it, and it was extremely fast. No regrets buying it and I look forward to using it for many years.
     
  15. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Meister

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    I bit the bullet a long time ago and got a diamond fret crowning file from Stew-Mac. It was expensive, but it has lasted and I'm glad I have it. Mine has the concave surface (not flat like the Z files) with two different widths on each side, and I've found that it's not hard to prevent the files from touching the tops of the frets. I also use 400 - 800 grit paper to smooth fret sides prior to polishing with a Dremel polishing wheel - after polishing, the frets really look like new!

    This reminds me that I need to allocate some time to do a few light fret levels this Spring to correct some upper fret buzzing and fret outs on a few of my Fender necks...
     
  16. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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  17. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Depending on how much you end up taking off. If it's pretty good to start, and you only end up taking a a couple of thousandths off, you dont end up with much flat top. I just smooth the top with 600 grit wet dry paper, sanding along the fret, not across the fret before polishing. This takes the flat "corner" right off and preps for final polishing.
    If you really want to be prepared buy the tool. They are not that much really amortized over a few times use. I have this one.
    https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tools/Files/Three-in-one_Fret_File.html
     
  18. Intubator

    Intubator TDPRI Member

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    Any opinions or experience with this Baroque diamond file by Kalish? It's on the bay for about $30. Does narrow through wide...

    baroque file.png file detail.png
     
  19. mangus

    mangus Tele-Meister

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    link please?
     
  20. Intubator

    Intubator TDPRI Member

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    John Nicholas likes this.
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