Fret saw tolerance

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by namedchris, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. namedchris

    namedchris NEW MEMBER!

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    I have a very nice little flush cut pull saw which I was hoping to use for cutting frets on my first neck build. When I measure the kerf of the saw I get .017 I see purpose build saws measure at .023 Am I in tolerance, or am I going to have a bad time?
     
  2. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

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    Screenshot_20171025-225525.jpg

    Sorry I couldn't resist. I don't know for sure. I suppose you could shop for frets with a more narrow tang. You could also check it out on a scrap board. Saw a fret slot and see how terrible it is to put one in. I always forget about that one in my builds.

    Lmii posts really specific measurements on all their fret wire that I find helpful.
     
  3. buffalohunt

    buffalohunt TDPRI Member

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    I second trying it out on some scrap wood.

    Even if you're able to get them in though, the pressure of the tang inside a slot that's too narrow can actually cause the neck to bow once you've got the combined pressure of 20+ frets in there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The barbs of the fret put outward pressure on the wood and slot during installation. While it depends on the fretboard density, You may and probably will, create a backbow by the time all the frets are pounded in. I'd invest in the proper saw. The fretboard IS the guitar.
     
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  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    yes.. Marty's correct...

    most saws are .024 or .025.... with the fret tangs the same but the barbs extend beyond that range, giving some "bite"...

    while you COULD force a normal fret into a .017 slot... each fret would be "pushing" laterally ... the accumulated pressure could force a back bow into the neck so pronounced you couldn't correct it.

    As my Dad would insist.. "Use the right tool for the job at hand."

    Ron Kirn
     
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have read that some repair people occasionally use this method to correct regular bow in necks where the truss rod or lack of truss rod can't get the bow out.
     
  7. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

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    I looked into cheaper alternatives to buying a dedicated fret saw a while back. I ended up buying a dedicated fret saw.

    You can get flush saws with a kerf that'll fit the fret tangs. Problem is, a lot of flush saws are flexible, and bend slightly on a cut. You want something with a stiff spine that won't bend.

    There are precision hobby saws you can get that'll provide a pretty exacting kerf - Zona and Xacto make them - but you have to look pretty hard to find them. Harbor Freight's Japanese flush saw has a close kerf (a hair bigger than 0.023), but the frets sit kinda loose. Plus it is too flexible to use, in my opinion.

    Given all of that, I sucked-up spending another $20.00 (or so) and buying the Stew Mac saw.

    I will slightly disagree with the others who have WAY more experience than I do with this kind of stuff, that a 0.017 may work given the general "slop" you'll undoubtedly get in a hand-sawing situation with a flexible blade (probably less slop with a pull saw). The question is, though, you really want to rely on that when it comes to your fret slots?
     
  8. namedchris

    namedchris NEW MEMBER!

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    Thanks all,
    After seeing how affordable they are, I'll likely order a saw when I order frets. I suppose when you multiply out the .005 difference over 20 (rounding for easy maths) frets, it seems pretty obvious that the .1 inch difference would cause some issues. It's my first build, so part of the challenge is figuring out which specialized tools are essential and which are nice to have.
     
  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If you can afford it, An aluminum radius beam and a fret press caul will make a lot of difference in your end results. The fret press caul can go in a drill press. The radius beam is twice as long as the wooden ones.


    http://www.philadelphialuthiertools...uminum-radius-sanding-beam-20-5-520mm-length/
     
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