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Fret Erasers

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by WrayGun, Feb 1, 2021.

  1. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Micro Mesh can be washed and dried... or it can just be kept soaking in a pan of water (or naphtha), and used moist. It's not so much 'wet sanding' where the liquid carries off the waste. I just find that MM works better when soaked before use. Since it doesn't seem to degrade with soaking, I leave the material in a pan of water for days at a time.

    MM isn't a simple abrasive. It's a fairly engineered product.

    Is it best to use Micro-Mesh wet or dry?

    "If possible, it is always better to use a lubricant. This will extend the life of the MICRO-MESH™ greatly and keep the material from loading. It will also keep heat generation to a minimum. There are many types of lubricants, but generally water is best. It is best to work using a light mist or spray. Flooding the work surface or work piece is not recommended as it will cause the abrasive to skate across the surface, making less contact and removing less material."
     
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  2. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    I thought the issue with Dremel is the buffing/speed heats up the fret and that's a no-no when it comes to either effecting the fret shifting in it's seat or literally loosening it from the slot. At least, that's the reason we didn't use it for fretwork at the shop I apprenticed at.
     
  3. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Re-reading this, I'd like to clarify that while the manufacturer recommends wet sanding (misting the surface to help eliminate loading, and keep heat down), I don't do that with fingerboards and frets. Guitar finishes are a different story, but with frets I pre-soak the pad in water, and return the pad to the water to rinse as needed. Then I briefly pat the abrasive dry on a towel before using it on the guitar.
     
  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    I've used the Crimson Guitars fine grade eraser. It works as well as anything for what it's meant to do. I got just the one to experiment with. It hits the same finish as one of the paper grades (polished smooth but matte finish).

    If you are sitting there wondering what to buy:

    -get a sanding shield (old drafting eraser shields often work, or cut a piece of cardboard as a disposable solution, put masking tape on both sides before you cut it out).
    -get a pack of sanding paper from the auto parts store in 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000 types of options. A single pack will be cheaper than an eraser.
    -get a flat maple block that is large enough to span at least two frets but not so big it's like a leveling beam.
    -Use the low grits with the block to maintain your fret level job while removing the beam scratches. Then the high grits with your fingers to polish.
    -masking tape. Run a strip down one side of the neck before you put the cross-pieces on. That way when done you lift off the one long strip and the rest come off more or less together without picking at a couple dozen ends of tape.

    If I'm doing a guitar I'm playing, I'm not trying to get to mirror polish as that's just for Instagram pictures. I'll use 400, 600, 800, 1500, and go on with other projects.


    And to all those steel wool addicts ... get rid of that stuff! It doesn't belong anywhere near a guitar. It's just not worth the risk. People worry about what kind of 'tone polish' they put on the body or what brand of oil on the fretboard so their frets don't soften but then go to town with the steel wool. All those metal bits that break off while grinding away get into everything and the pickups, even if 'protected', the pickups vacuum all that up. Eventually it gets into the bobbin wires of the pickups and contacts of the pots. Just avoid it and tell your buddies to avoid it too.

    ..Guitars listed for sale should include not only smoking and pets but 'from a steel wool free home'.

    .
     
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  5. Johne1

    Johne1 TDPRI Member

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    My cheaper alternative is the Gorgomyte cloth. They last through many string changes, if you cut out approximately 2" squares, per the instructions. I'll go thru 3 or 4 squares to clean the frets and fingerboard. It always leaves the frets very shiny. I follow up with Nomad's F-One fingerboard treatment to put oil in the fingerboard to prevent drying and cracking. (NEVER use F-One on maple or finished fingerboards!)
     
  6. blewzman

    blewzman TDPRI Member

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    I have a set of three from Amazon and the work really well. Very happy with the results.
     
  7. douellette

    douellette TDPRI Member

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    I bought the fine & super fine from Stew-Mac. I like them a lot.

    I just go over each fret a few times with both when I change strings. I spend maybe five minutes in total.

    Also, I've had them for 8-10 years, and I think they'll last forever. They've hardly worn down at all.
     
  8. agejaded

    agejaded TDPRI Member

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  9. Blackie1956

    Blackie1956 Tele-Meister

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    I buy these online for around 2-3 bucks. It is intended to buff and polish fingernails, but they work beautifully on fretwire. Makes the frets smooth and mirror shiny. I haven't tried the other methods, as this has worked perfectly for me. Photo on 2-5-21 at 5.48 AM.jpg
     
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  10. MusicBill

    MusicBill TDPRI Member

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    I use them . They work well , but there are cheaper ones out there. You can even use Emory board for finger nails and they would work well
     
  11. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a set. They work okay. They do wear down kinda fast. Happy to learn that there are similar alternatives.
    I've used emery boards myself. Prefer them after they are halfway worn out.
     
  12. ALNICOJOE

    ALNICOJOE TDPRI Member

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    I've used Gorgomyte cloths and if so you want to do is polish the frets and take the oxidation off it works great
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've gone through a lot of nail polishing sticks.
    I like the idea that the eraser form puts the grit inside mixed through the backing material, so theoretically they will last longer.
    Wear down the edge and cut a fresh edge etc.
    All theoretical though as I haven't used them yet.

    As far as the worry about steel wool, I would not use it on anything connected to electronics.
    That really is a horror.

    Using tools poorly doesn't make the tools poor.

    The great product known as sawstop is a good example.
    A tool engineered to take some of the responsibility for safe tool operator skills.
    The right tool for schools, well funded hobby and homeowner woodworkers etc.

    But operator error, or the possibility of operator error, does not really reflect on the tools the operator made the error with.

    Operator error potential based tool selection might tell newer woodworkers to never buy philips screwdrivers or electric drills!
    If a hobbyist learns on a traditional table saw and loses a finger, that's a big loss.
    If a hobbyist learns using steel wool and loses a neck pickup, that's a small loss.
    Operator error IME leads to operator skills. Or maybe operator sense?
    If every move is preceded by a google search, "sense" is less the source of knowing how to approach the next operation.

    Same as all the worry about neck shims, are they bad, what should they be made of, is the air gap hurting me???

    Before the internet made chatting about fixing take longer than the actual fixing, we had probably 10% of the specialty products today's guitar techs, luthiers, and hobbyists face when asking "How do I polish my frets?".

    Meanwhile, not a lot of guitars today are built to the high quality standards of 70 years ago, when John D'Angelico and Anastasios Stathopoulos were building arch tops using far more primitive tools, often tools they made themselves.

    Tool tech improves speed more than quality.
    Time has value though, choose tools and use!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  14. Seafoamgreen

    Seafoamgreen NEW MEMBER!

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    Haven't tried erasers yet, but have tried MusicNomad's FRINE polishing kit and D'addario's Fret Polishing System.

    The first was a little more finicky — there's a paste involved — but got better results, and I appreciated the higher-quality fretguards.

    The second took more brute force. Dunno how it compares to other paper-based materials, but wasn't very abrasive (maybe a good thing for some?).
     
  15. brians356

    brians356 Tele-Meister

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    Send yours to me, please. PM me for shipping address.
    -
     
  16. brashboy

    brashboy Tele-Meister

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    My experience was the same. Using the erasers took forever to show progress, and I put them aside to finish the job with micromesh pads and steel wool. I also use sandpaper, which I have from coarse to super fine. I've done around 15 level-recrown jobs and used the erasers on several, so I feel I have given them a fair shot.

    If you apply real pressure with the erasers, you quickly wear a fret-sized channel in them, which might actually make them more effective (get the sides at the same time as the tops). But I get the same results with wool, pads and paper. The FreddyFrets YT channel has a great video on polishing frets, it works.

    In Dan Erlewine's video, he says the erasers quickly polish frets, but that was not my experience, and I had the SMac coarse-med-fine set. They really do not do the job to remove file chatter marks.
     
  17. phaedrus

    phaedrus Tele-Meister

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    I use the same thing, I like them. Also for smoothing out the fret ends.
     
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  18. Auherre756

    Auherre756 TDPRI Member

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  19. Telecasterless

    Telecasterless Friend of Leo's

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    +1 on the dremel. I know some folks turn their nose up at it, and say it's unnecessary, but to me it's not about necessity....it's about laziness. It's so freaking easy! I had from many years ago a polishing wheel and rouge in my dremel kit that I never ever used. So I tried it and man, not only is it fun, but it truly takes just minutes.

    Weeee! 5000 rpm on a tiny wheel and watch those frets shine!

    Besides, me and my fingertips hate sanding. I took to wearing those little rubber finger booties that folks working with paper all day use to turn pages, just to protect my fingers getting destroyed sanding frets with little strips of sandpaper.

    I'm going to try erasers next time.
     
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  20. Robert Graf

    Robert Graf Tele-Meister

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    Fret eraser first, followed by micro mesh. Unless you get the 1000 grit micro mesh. As for other erasers, can't say, but if you're buying off ebay, the reviews should tell you. An old fashioned ink eraser ought to do, and so should many other eraser types, excluding the ones usually used for drafting film. Micro mesh is more for polishing.
     
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