Fret end dressing in bound fingerboards

JohnnyThul

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Hi all,

I just saw this link on a German forum. It is a video of Ken Parker showing how he dresses the fret ends for bound fingerboards. I usually put binding on my fingerboards, so, I know the issue quite well and found Ken Parker's approach pretty helpful:

 

pshupe

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I fret over binding on a lot of my guitars as well. I used to file the edge like he initially says is a problem. I never had a problem with it. Recently I stopped even doing that. My fret tang nippers seem to flatten it out quite nicely. I have not checked lately with a magnifying glass but I have not seen any issues with the fret ends having a gap to the finger board. Maybe just a bit of OCD.

He may also charge enough for a custom guitar that, he thinks, it makes a difference? ;-) I can see how this would be quicker and better than filing after nipping but I just don't think it makes a difference. Next board I fret I will pay close attention to those ends and may report back. Thanks for linking. Definitely interesting.

Cheers Peter.

PS - edit - I checked out his site. There are no prices and the guitars look spectacular. I think this is a case of, if I charge $10k - $20k for a guitar I'd better make sure it is perfect. I bet some people take a magnifying glass to those guitars and complain about microscopic issues because of the $$$$ paid.
 

Freeman Keller

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Both Ken Parker and his guitars are legendary. And that is a neat trick, but I've never felt a need for any more that filing the tang off flat using a block of wood and a small bastard file (I don't even own nippers). Most of my fretboards are bound and I do a lot of refrets on bound boards. Just hasn't been a problem
 

pshupe

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I fret over binding on a lot of my guitars as well. I used to file the edge like he initially says is a problem. I never had a problem with it. Recently I stopped even doing that. My fret tang nippers seem to flatten it out quite nicely. I have not checked lately with a magnifying glass but I have not seen any issues with the fret ends having a gap to the finger board. Maybe just a bit of OCD.

He may also charge enough for a custom guitar that, he thinks, it makes a difference? ;-) I can see how this would be quicker and better than filing after nipping but I just don't think it makes a difference. Next board I fret I will pay close attention to those ends and may report back. Thanks for linking. Definitely interesting.

Cheers Peter.

PS - edit - I checked out his site. There are no prices and the guitars look spectacular. I think this is a case of, if I charge $10k - $20k for a guitar I'd better make sure it is perfect. I bet some people take a magnifying glass to those guitars and complain about microscopic issues because of the $$$$ paid.

Also you want to over bend the radius slightly and press the frets in with a radius caul and an arbour press. This will ensure that the ends stay nice and flat to the binding. If I could sell a guitar for $20k, I'd do what Ken does as well. 😁

Cheers Peter.
 

old wrench

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I use this little jig to remove fret tangs :) -


It's super-simple to set up and use, and it removes the tang and leaves a perfectly prepped fret end with only 6 or 8 quick strokes.

LMI sells their own version of it - that's where I got the idea for it.

No moving parts like abrasive discs spinning at 20,000 rpms waiting for you to stick your fingers into ;)



But, since I built that jig, I also bought a pair of the new re-designed fret tang nippers from StewMac and I have to say that they work extremely well - they actually make a clean enough cut that filing is hardly needed - they work way better than the old type of tang nippers.


I bought mine on sale, and before SM raised the price - I think I paid $52 bucks for them, which is still a lot of money, but they do work really well even on stainless steel frets, which are pretty much all I use ;)

.
 

JohnnyThul

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Well, I have to admit, I personally liked the approach from Ken Parker. I always struggle a little, to file the tangs perfectly flat and sometimes that shows at the fretboard's edge. I use nippers only, to do it and then file the tang, but even when the fret is clamped, I find it not always easy to file it perfectly flat. The clamping block he made for the Dremel I found also pretty cool, simple and easy, was a real "D'Oh" moment for me. Same for the idea to brake pieces out of the cutting disc to have good visuals during operation. Maybe that is all well known stuff, but that was the 2nd "D'oh" moment for me and that in only one short video.
So, having he option of using both hands as a guide and have visual control of the "filing" seems pretty good to me.
As for the specialized fret tang nippers from Stew Mac, they do really work well, even with Stainless steel? If so, that would be something to consider....there is a lot of toys at the Stewmac store which seems to be nice to have to save time..
 




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