Fret slot, tang and barb dimensions

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by GeorgeG, May 14, 2021.

  1. kingvox

    kingvox Tele-Meister

    Mar 23, 2017
    CT, USA
    The handheld fret press is the same thing, just superior in my opinion. I hammer the fret in to get it started only, then press the fret using the handheld fret press. Hammering in works just fine if the fret slots are tight and perfect, but it is also possible to deform the wire unless using a caul. I'd say light hammering (very light) just to barely seat the fret in the slot so you can get your clamp on there is my preferred method.

    The Jescar stainless wire has a smaller tang, around .020", while the EVO is .023". FWIW, I was worried about this, even after doing hundreds of refrets, and it ended up being worrying for no reason. All was well.

    The Fret Crimper from Stewmac, and some micro endmill bits with a Dremel and precision router base, will take care of any sizing issues. I've never tried it, but I just thought that nut files may also work for widening fret slots. I don't see why a .024" or .028" nut file couldn't open up a fret slot if need be.

    The simplest solution is: press the fret in. If it pops back up or doesn't seat perfectly, use the Fret Crimper and try again. This is assuming the slot was perfectly prepared.

    If it won't hammer or press into the slot, widen with a micro endmill bit and Dremel with router base, or use a file.

    I forgot to mention that making a little bevel on the fret slot with a triangular file is a good way to help the fret seat perfectly. Just a little touch up to the slot is all it takes.

    I haven't tried the Fret Barber, but it wouldn't be a bad thing to have. You can either manipulate the width of the fret tang, or the slot. Good to have tools on hand for both. It was many years before I got a Fret Crimper, by the way. Even with an imperfect fit, you can CA glue the fret into the slot so securely that it will be impossible for it to move. Clamping is the only way to achieve this. My preferred method is clamping and then applying some CA accelerator. Now that I have the crimper, that would be my first choice. It's hard to imagine a slot that was so beat up that crimping the tang would not ensure a tight fit. That would take some really major goobering.
  2. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG TDPRI Member

    Feb 4, 2018
    I know that this is a loaded question (or am I loaded asking the question? lol) because it depends on how level the fretboard is and on how even fret seating is but here goes. What kind of range do you guys see in crown height reduction after leveling, crowning and polishing on a refret? Asked another way, how much taller than you fret height target do you spec the bare fret wire?


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