Fret and fingerboard work neck support advice

Wallaby

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I'm looking for advice for neck support I might use when refretting a set-neck guitar.

I currently use a cork-lined hemispherical wooden "roller" support or a filled leather rifle rest for the neck, depending on what I'm doing - when I want more support for the neck to prevent flexing, I use the roller support, otherwise I use the rifle rest. For the body-end of the guitar I use a stack of folded terry towels.

This has been working okay for me.

I'm approaching the point of removing frets from a set-neck guitar, sanding the finger board with beams and blocks, and then installing frets using a Jaws 2 press and probably hammering where I can't use the press.

Working at a snails pace is not a problem for me :)

I'm thinking a tubular sandbag or shot-filled bag, something like that, but thought I'd ask experts here too!

All advice is appreciated !
 

Boreas

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I'm looking for advice for neck support I might use when refretting a set-neck guitar.

I currently use a cork-lined hemispherical wooden "roller" support or a filled leather rifle rest for the neck, depending on what I'm doing - when I want more support for the neck to prevent flexing, I use the roller support, otherwise I use the rifle rest. For the body-end of the guitar I use a stack of folded terry towels.

This has been working okay for me.

I'm approaching the point of removing frets from a set-neck guitar, sanding the finger board with beams and blocks, and then installing frets using a Jaws 2 press and probably hammering where I can't use the press.

Working at a snails pace is not a problem for me :)

I'm thinking a tubular sandbag or shot-filled bag, something like that, but thought I'd ask experts here too!

All advice is appreciated !
You are thinking correctly. But if you press the frets in, it won't matter much. Mostly you want a sandbag if you are tapping them in.
 

guitarbuilder

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If you are using a jaws you probably won't need anything to press them in. You should be able to get up to the heel and in that case, I'd have some light density wood underneath that won't scratch with a thin towel over it if you want. You might want to remove the strap button if it is there. I've found that a material that absorbs the blow solidly works out better than something mushy.

For fret removal, a towel and a neck rest should do the trick to steady it. I use some spare mahogany triangle shaped wedges on each side. These are cutoffs from making set necks. Use fret nippers and most here use a soldering pencil to heat the fret. For best results, I'd get the aluminum sanding beam too. For fret installation you may want to do a stroke on each slot with a small triangular file to help seat the fret and to reduce the fret to board interference. This is a Frank Ford technique and is a big plus.


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Freeman Keller

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Refretting a set neck guitar I always hammer the frets in supporting the back of the neck with a cork lined curved caul. I put the caul right under the fret that is going in, move it down the neck as I do each one. Often on set neck guitars (acoustics) I'm only doing a partial fret job so that works pretty well. I usually clamp the last couple of frets with a curved caul on top right after they go in while the glue kicks off (I use CA or HHG on all my refrets).

When I get to the heel I just put a piece of cork under it and hammer two or three frets in at the body joint. For the fretboard extension I reach inside the the guitar with a hunk of steel and hold it against the top from the inside, its a bit of a hassle.

On new guitars I always fret the board off the neck so I can press them in and do a good job.

Refretting is always a compromise - I like to do the entire board because I can sand and level it but often it makes sense to just do a partial. And each guitar is a bit different - I've made several different padded cauls to fit different necks.
 

Wallaby

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Thank you all for the great advice so far.

I think my concern about flexing is maybe overblown, and probably less important during the fret installation than it is during fingerboard and fret leveling.

I appreciate your help!
 

schmee

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For a set neck, if I have to hammer in the frets up high I only support with my fingers inside the guitar body at or under the neck. Anything else has got to be shocking the body neck joint and top. The heel/body is not even on the padded bench.
 

Wallaby

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I have one, and it does work well like you say!

I've been percolating an idea of creating a bottom caul for the Jaws 2 that has a "swivel" face, to allow it to clamp up under the body for those upper, above the neck-joint frets, for when the the regular bottom caul won't fit into the body cavity. Like with an ES guitar, which is what I'm working on.

If you are wondering, the Jaws 2 looks like this.

1656512735926.png


Maybe instead of a swivel-face for the bottom caul I could just use an appropriate wedge or good padding.

Pondering this, and not sure if it's really worth the effort for those frets.
 

KokoTele

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What kind of set-neck guitar are we talking about? A solidbody like a Les Paul, an archtop with f-holes? A flat-top acoustic? I might approach them each a bit differently.

There is a wedge-shaped caul that goes along with the Jaws-style fret presser. The one I have is an imperfect match for the back of a Les Paul body, but it does reasonably well.

The only frets I find really vexing are the ones that are near/on the compound curve part of a neck heel, where you can't really get a caul to fit, like frets 13-17 on a Les Paul. I have a heavy sandbag-like thing made for this that I mold to the area as much as I can and hammer those frets in.
 

Wallaby

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It's an ES-339.

I installed frets in a T-style practice neck yesterday. and had a workout with Jaws 2. Just like you mention it wasn't usable at a certain point with its supplied cauls. So I hammered, it worked.

For me, at least, the additional logistics and timing of wicking in the CA, blotting runoff, pausing, following up with accelerator, blotting runoff, etc. were challenging, but I found a routine after the first one :).

I am thinking a swiveling metal furniture leg "foot" could be adapted as a self-aligning caul.
 
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