Anyone used 0000 steel wool for fret polishing ?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by AJ Ray, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. AJ Ray

    AJ Ray Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    130
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    dundee
    With so many people against steel wool and the damage it does to pickups. I wonder what you guys have done ? I figure if I mask the pickups and go over the guitar afterwards with a magnet i should remove any small pieces which have came loose?
     
    DrPepper likes this.
  2. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    10,427
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Location:
    Georgetown, TX
    Yep. I do. Just as you described, for the last 35+ years. Be sure and mask the fretboard, too; especially glossy finishes.
     
  3. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,352
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    Steel wool is exactly what I use. I just tape over the pickups (and a little bit around; my goal is to cover any area the steel wool bits may stick to), and when I'm done I tape over those same areas again and pull off the whole tape-steel wool-tape sandwich in one go and toss it.
     
    DrPepper, ElJay370 and JuneauMike like this.
  4. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    7,255
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    I've done it with steel wool, and IMO it's just not worth it. Files and sandpaper are how I deal with my frets. You could turn it around and say "What's so special about steel wool that you can't do with files and sandpaper?" too.
     
    8barlouie and Bendyha like this.
  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    10,356
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    I dont find it that helpful even overlooking the iron dust. 600 grit wet dry works great. I use it with WD40 to ake ridges from flattening or the like off.
    If I just want smooth shine then a Dremel cotton wheel with a polish like 3M Finesse-It will make a fret shine like a mirror in 5-10 seconds each.
     
    guitarmikey, 8barlouie and wrvond like this.
  6. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,222
    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Location:
    Alaska
    Yeah, it works great. Regardless of what you use, anytime you are taking material off the frets you should tape over the pickups.

    But with steel wool, I buy a few of those asprin shaped earth magnets from the hardware store and wrap the steel wool around them. Works great at keeping the steel splinters down.
     
    rand z and E5RSY like this.
  7. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    12,135
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    are you guys kidding? do you actually tape off all the pickups and everything? Man, you all have a lot more time to waste that I ever did.

    Rubbing compound - the red stuff. A rag. 10 minutes. Done.
     
  8. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,222
    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Location:
    Alaska
    Someone else can swoop in with some facts here, but I don't think its a good idea to touch a pickup with something magnetic. Hmm, anyone else?
     
    vid1900 likes this.
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    35,312
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    If it is bolt-on neck, take the neck off. If it is a set neck or neck through, then I usually have at least the neck pickup out of the mounting hole and taped back by the bridge...away from any harm....maybe bagged up and with the bridge p-up taped off. This is because usually if I am polishing frets I will leveling with a file, then using radopius block/s, then sanding, and finally using 0000 wool for polishing. So, the pickup needs to be out of the way of the file and the radiusing block.
    IF for OEM reason I am using 0000 without removing the pickup, then I mask the pickup off very well. Before removing that tape, I use another piece of tape to pull whatever pieces of 0000 have been attracted to the magnets...they Are plainly visible on top of the tape. No problems in 30 years......and glass like fret tops that bend like a dream.
     
    SamIV, E5RSY and JuneauMike like this.
  10. matmosphere

    matmosphere Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,021
    Joined:
    May 27, 2015
    Location:
    earth
    Wally likes this.
  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,219
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    Fret material is non magnetic--even stainless steel fret wire--so no need to tape over the pickups when doing fret work unless you are using steel wool.

    I use steel wool to polish frets and clean non-finished fretboards, and I tape a sheet of printer paper or newspaper over the face of the guitar.

    If you do get metal particles on the polepieces, you can use duct tape or chewing gum (chew it up first haha) to remove the particles.
     
  12. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    10,427
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Location:
    Georgetown, TX
    Dude, that's so RADOPIUS!

    [​IMG]
     
    Wally likes this.
  13. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,214
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    Earth
    Put blue painters tape over the pickups before using 0000 steel wool on the frets. Afterwards, put another layer of blue tape over any shavings that stuck to the blue tape above the pickups, trapping the shavings. Pedal it off and throw it away when done.
     
    vid1900 likes this.
  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    75
    Posts:
    3,308
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    I use steel wool and micro mesh to polish all my fret work. I avoid polishing compound and dremel - too easy to burn thru binding and damage the f/b itself. I do mask pickups if I'm working on an electric guitar and I also mask around the head and body anytime I'm working on frets.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  15. darkwaters

    darkwaters Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,907
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    I use the white Scotchbrite pads. They're gentler than the green ones.
     
    8trackmind likes this.
  16. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    35,312
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    E5RSY...I’ll leave my IPad Air’s spell correction there so that your post works for the comedic relief we all need!! thanks for the chuckle!!!!
     
  17. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    I have no idea why you would use steel wool when micromesh does the job better and does not create problems. Wet-or-dry paper in superfine grits works, too. (I start at 800 and go to 3,000 to 5,000.) Micromesh and paper come finer than steel wool.
     
    matmosphere and kingofdogs1950 like this.
  18. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    10,427
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Location:
    Georgetown, TX
    To add to the comedy, I was actually compelled to try to look it up initially. I thought I was gonna learn a new word from you. :lol:
     
  19. SithTracy

    SithTracy TDPRI Member

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    75
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2020
    Location:
    S.E. Wisconsin
    Tape off pickups with painters tape and use 0000 steel wool... I also have a magnet I run around the guitar to make sure I get any straggler pieces of steel wool before removing the tape to prevent any little pieces from finding their way in later.
     
  20. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,705
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I use steel wool as the second to last step. I use a high-quality metal polish as the last step.

    Steel wool doesn’t really damage pickups IME. It’s just an annoyance sometimes because the magnets collect the dust, if you leave the pickups uncovered.

    IME, don’t be an impatient slob in the way you work, and you won’t have any problems with steel wool. I’ve only had problems with it when being an impatient slob. And even then, all it takes is some compressed air to blow it off of the magnets.

    All this being said, there are many things you can use to polish frets well. It’s not like only one method will give good results. Scotch-Brite is fine. Emery paper can be fine. Etc. I use steel wool because I’m familiar with it, I always have it on hand anyhow, it’s classic, it works, it’s available everywhere, and it is as cheap as dirt.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.