Anyone ever try such a fret crowning tool?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Yonatan, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  2. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    Something that would be a no-go for me:
    (from product description): " And that's it, that's all it takes. This also sands and smooths the fretboard at the same time. If you have a maple fretboard this does not apply you must tape it off first."

    I don't want something that is going to let exposed sandpaper rub right down on the fretboard potentially 'raw'. I tape off my fretboard when doing frets anyway, so that's no big deal, but it seems like overkill and not very precise when much more 'surgical' tools are available for the same or even better price.

    I just ordered one of these:
    Baroque Guitar Fret Crowning Dressing File Narrow/Medium/Wide 3 Edges Size Improved 3rd Generation Guitar Repairing & Luthier Tools for Guitars
    via Amazon (about $25USD)


     
  3. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I think this would work OK, but I don't like the fact that it doesn't extend all the way across the fretboard. Plus, I don't think I would be a fan of taping my fretboard if I don't want it sanded. I can usually crown frets freehand without taping. Probably takes longer though. I usually use one of these if I have a lot of material to remove:

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tools-and-supplies/types-of-tools/files/concave-fret-end-files.html

    Often I will just use one of these if they are pretty close to round:

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...nishing-papers/micro-mesh-touch-up-stick.html
     
  4. Fender-guy

    Fender-guy Tele-Meister

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    I use a 3 sided file to grown the frets. Once I have a slim little sharpe line on each fret I’ll slide 400 grit sandpaper between 3 of my fingers and go up and down the fretboard. I’ll work my way up to 2000 grit so basically this is just polishing the frets.

    I’d use that tool just to polish them after the crown. Probably not to do the initial crowning.
     
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    I watched the YT vid.

    The problem I see with this tool is once you level the frets' tops with a flat block, you do not want to contimue removing material from the fret tops. You profile the sides to establish a smooth round shape without taking any more material off the top. This guarantees all frets are on the same plane with one another.

    This tool rides over the frets' tops as it grinds off the little corners on the shoulders, and it removes material from the tops of the frets in the process. Unless you are meticulous and count your strokes, you have no control over how much material continues to be removed from the fret tops. Compounding the matter is the tool does not match the radius of the fretboard, so it relies on you to evenly 'roll' the tool as you work to shape the entire length of both sides of each fret. That cannot produce consistent results.
     
  6. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I didn't think about the radius issue. I think it would be a non-starter for me. I think you could produce similar results with a foam sanding block.
     
  7. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  8. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    It's a cute looking toy. For a little more you can get an actual diamond crowning file. The Gurian takes a bit of strength and control and leaves you with significant scratches/grooves to sand out. A diamond crowning file allows you to take long, smooth strokes, gives you a consistent crown, and leaves a smoother surface to sand and polish. The following link is for an American vendor, but probably you can find something similar available on your side of the pond. -TP
    https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...g-file-dual-width-medium-wide-jumbo-300-grit/
     
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  9. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted

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    It looks like the tool will work somewhat. It will give you a rounded fret but one size does not fit all. I prefer to "burnish frets if at all possible removing zero material. I have owned dozens if not hundreds of guitars and it is rare for me to break out a file to crown. When I have used a file it does not seem to take all that long, to be fair longer than 10 minutes. Possibly if I was doing this everyday and multiple times per day it might be worth a shot.
     
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  10. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    it's cute.. It looks like a truck
     
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  11. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    One way to do it right that I know of for polishing frets.

    20200902_111109.jpg
     
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  12. Cantbreak100guy

    Cantbreak100guy Tele-Holic

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    Haha!! There is no way I'd try that "tool".
    It cannot possibly work well. There is no way to stop removing steel from the crown. Dude says he's done 10k guitars? o_O Not with that tool.
    Screenshot_20200924-212022_Chrome.jpg
    I've used a triangle file as well as the above StewMac file. My friend (luthier) let me use the offset and it is awesome. This, then some gaurds and micro mesh. Obviously, it's a tool that a luthier is willing to buy.
    I also love the photoshopped frets in the ebay ad.
     
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  13. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    I use the Gurian tool because I'm cheap, have one, and had the pleasure of buying wood from Michael Gurian, who was wonderful, back in the day. It does take some firmness to use it well, but it's a good tool that executes the job properly, which is huge. My only gripe is baby-ish, but it's that I don't like the grind-y feel of metal on metal. I won't buy the diamond fret crowning tools, which look excellent, because I don't want t spend the money and no longer build or do significant fretwork, but if I were starting out now, I'd do so. I believe they're pretty much a lifetime tool.
     
  14. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    So...this thing gets moved along the length of the fretboard, with abrasive pads underneath, popping over every fret along the way, and sanding your fingerboard at the same time? And we're to believe that this "crowns" the frets?

    If that understanding is correct, that thing need to be taken off the market for everyone's protection. What an incredibly stupid invention in SO MANY ways. My mind might go numb trying to explain them all.

    Crowning takes place along the length of each fret, and you stop JUST BEFORE you start eating into the level surface you just planed beforehand. Then you blend that flat into the crowns you just cut.

    You need a half moon file (to do both sides at once) or quarter moon file (to do one side at a time) to crown frets properly. What he's doing is just slightly softening the very edges, leaving you with something like fretless wonder frets – a fret wire and fret dressing style that doesn't really use a crown at all. That works fine on fretless wonder frets, because they are no taller than .025", and its a deliberate part of the whole intended feel of them. But on standard height frets, its got to feel horrendous to play, and you can't really call it a "crown."
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  15. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    Is it me, or does that fretboard look uselessly ornate?
     
  16. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    it rounds over the fret but will also remove the bead line,dead center of the fret!the actual LEVEL of the fret[aimed for!!]simultaneously.Which leaves a ? able fret height.=uneven fret height.
    L & C' ng frets takes TIME=there is no short cut.
     
  17. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted

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    I bought one of these a couple years ago based on a recommendation from the guns n guitars YouTube channel. It was terrible. The Diamond grit was so coarse it left gouges on frets that I had to repair after trying it and the concave channels didn't make a good crown shape. I wouldn't give this thing away for fear someone might actually use it. I did hear that some of them were very well made but there were a few lemons. I think I got a lemon.
     
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  18. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Thanks everyone for chiming in!

    I know some people love it, it just didn't work for me.

    First issue was what's mentioned in the quote below about grooves and scratches. It very well may have been my technique.

    The other big problem I had was that none of the 3 inserts seems to be the right size, too small or too big.

    Lastly, I didn't like that I couldn't see what I was doing as I was doing it.

    I think I'll try a triangle file next time.

     
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  19. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the head's up. It maybe be better than the one I'm using now though! :lol:
    I'll evaluate when I get my hands on it.
     
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  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    A bit ironic, I just came in from the shop where this morning I did a partial refret on an old Guild acoustic. Cleaned up some divots in the fretboard, replaced the first 7, leveled with a beam and crowned with my 15 year old StewMac files. I need to give them a final polish and call the owner... Then I've got a mandolin to do.
     
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