Stubborn fret ends during installation

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by bunjamin, Nov 23, 2021.

Tags:
  1. Greenmachine

    Greenmachine Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,057
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Glad you found a solution. I made homemade cauls and used my drill press. Fret write is raidiused to a tighter radius than my fretboard. I tap in either end of the fret then I press. No problems thus far after three builds and one refret.
     
  2. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    6,302
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    I am lucky enough to have an older (stronger) drill press that I use for my press. Works pretty well, but wouldn't want to go into serious production with it!
     
  3. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,825
    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Location:
    SE PA - Doylestown PA
    THanks for the ear worm...I can't get David Byrne out of my head now. :D
     
    Boreas likes this.
  4. Fenderbaum

    Fenderbaum Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    Posts:
    159
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2021
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    Hammering demands technique. Hammer is cheap, but a fret press gives you better results.
    I agree that frets should be a little over-bent if you hammer them. Not very much so with SS frets because they are very stiff. Always hammer the ends down first. Then the middle last.
    You can look around for a mini arbor press. Might save a $100. You need the Caul and inserts on the side.
    But I would go for the Stew Mac fret press for $300. Not crazy expensive.
     
  5. bunjamin

    bunjamin TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2020
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Thanks everyone. The edges are indeed slightly rolled since this has been my main electric for almost 20 years. Looking closely, there also appears to be a seating problem off-edge, where the fingerboard's radius is accurate. I'm still leaning towards using a caul, since it solves two problems: I suck at hammering + wide fret ends. That allows me to go one at a time and use my CA glue where necessary.

    I imagine getting the fret ends flush with the rolled edge is more a matter of beveling & end dressing, rather than seating.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  6. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    16,845
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Egremont, MA
    This!
     
  7. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    16,845
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Egremont, MA
    If your fretboard is worn/rolled enough you might need to sand/radius the fretboard.
    If it falls off too sharply at the edges, frets might not be able to follow that.
    I'm sure you've noticed they're quite springy. It's not like you can pound them into shape.
     
  8. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    14,280
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    Be careful not to do it with the over-radiusing. For a 12" radius fingerboard, I find that radiusing to 10" is plenty, but I get the best results with a very slight over-radius and pressing.

    If possible, I true the fretboard before installing so that the radius is consistent from edge to edge and the neck is flat.

    Sometimes the ends still don't like to stay down, and then a fret tang crimper is super helpful. StewMac sells a fancy one. Frank Ford has a page that shows how he used to make them before they could be bought.
     
  9. tigger

    tigger Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    429
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2017
    Location:
    Confoederatio Helvetica
    There is also the option of sliding the fret into place like it was done on old Fenders. Note that I haven't actually ever tried this, but I'm planning to. Make a radiused wooden tool the fret sits and slide it into the slot from the side. That could in theory stop the ends from wanting to get out as there is still wood above the barbs.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  10. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    16,845
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Egremont, MA
    I've never worked on one of these, but my suspicion is, they used a different kind of fret for this.
    You might not want to force a barbed tang in from the side.
    It seems to me it would tear up the slot.
     
    tigger likes this.
  11. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    6,302
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    I believe somehow Fender PULLED the frets through and didn't push them. I read how they did it once, but have forgotten the process. I could be FOS. May want to investigate their process first. It worked for them for many years.
     
  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    24,414
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Ontario County
    old wrench and Boreas like this.
  13. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    6,302
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
  14. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    730
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Location:
    Iowa
    Here's my fret press.... $60 arbor press from Harbor Freight, $75 fret press caul set from Stew-Mac, and some minor fabrication. Works great! If you have a drill press you can use those cauls in it too...

    [​IMG]
     
    KokoTele likes this.
  15. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    14,280
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    How do you support the neck while you're pressing? I've had various ideas about how to make a support caul, but haven't gotten around to doing it yet. The typical one like StewMac sells doesn't support the transition or the heel, so you can do up to about the 15th fret before you have to reconfigure.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  16. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    730
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Location:
    Iowa
    Don't need anything at the heel. It is flat and supports itself.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
  17. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,825
    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Location:
    SE PA - Doylestown PA
    Agree...and for the two or three transitional frets a stick of appropriate thickness under the curved portion of the neck with the heel clamped down directly to the worksurface takes care of things. 2 tapered shims inserted from opposite sides make for an exact fit for support in this case.
     
  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    24,414
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Ontario County

    I sometimes stick random blocks of wood under the neck, as the caul pivots. I have used a cork lined caul like the stewmac one but that is only one radius and not tapered. When I cut a one piece Gibson style peghead, I save the waste wedges and sometimes put two together as a v block. The only necks that are problematic are the ones that are too thick to fit under the caul and arbor press.
     
  19. Teladjacent

    Teladjacent TDPRI Member

    Age:
    35
    Posts:
    23
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2021
    Location:
    Indiana
    I’m following this with great interest. I’m pepping to do a refret on my feet less conversion j bass and the fretboard radius is…. Let’s call it eccentrically compound.
     
  20. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,803
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Location:
    corner of walk and don't walk
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.