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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is one of the Lee Valley tools now being offered.

I tried to 'soften' and round the fret ends on a guitar in the past and wasn't very pleased with my results. However, the file I used was not specifically made for this job. It was a file with a fine cutting surface and safety edges that would not mar the fretboard...but it never seemed to do a great job.

However, I now wonder if it is the 'Filer' and not the file that was more to blame.

The fret ends on my new Yamaha acoustic are a bit sharp and 'unfinished' ...they looked like they were nipped and left.

I was talking to my friend @GTmaker today about this type of fret work and I thought I might give the concept of fret end dressing (and shaping) another try. Admittedly, I remain somewhat apprehensive.

Any suggestions or recommended reading/Youtube tutorials?

Is this a case of technique that takes practice to finesse?

Thanks

Cheers

Dave


Hiroshima Yasuri Fret End Dressing File




Made in Japan by a company that has been manufacturing files for 80 years and guitar files for three decades, these are the best on the market for sharpness, regularity of cut, and durability.

Used to remove the burr left from bevelling fret ends, this file has extremely fine, sharp teeth. It is double sided with no teeth on the narrow edges.

One edge is flat to work into square corners, and the other is rounded to let you roll the file as you shape the fret end without marring the fretboard.

Measures 6" overall with 1/8" wide by 3-1/4" long cutting faces.

This product is available online and at our Ottawa, Vaughan, London, Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax, Winnipeg, Burlington, Coquitlam, Saskatoon, Victoria, and Waterloo stores, but can be ordered for pick-up at our other stores.


Hiroshima Yasuri Fret End Dressing File $18.90
 

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That looks to be the same as I got from Stewmac.

It can be a chore, especially if the frets are protruding by much.
I've seen Dave at Davesworldoffunstuff use a block that someone made for him, so not commercially available.

I've done it with just the file, but it's tedious work and takes a while. Worth it though.
I've never taped off the board either for fret ends, you'll feel when it's not metal anymore (on the tangs).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It can be a chore, especially if the frets are protruding by much.
@sulphur Thanks for the information.

To clarify the above quoted statement, do you mean "if the frets are protruding by much" OR "are not protruding by much"?

Does this refer to the fret ends "sprouting" or just the height of the frets in general.

Sorry, I'm a bit confused with what you mean by this.
 

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Yes, makes quicker work of it.

It's a pita getting the very ends of the tangs down with the small file, but it can be done. :)
I've only had to do a few guitars, so I did them the hard way.

I did get some fine needle files from Canadian Tire, and one of the flat ones is a bit more agressive for the ends.
Then just use the fret end file to dress and shape.
 

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That home made one is using UHMW by the looks of it. Very slick like teflon. Pretty sure most luthiers are using wooden blocks
 

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This is one of the Lee Valley tools now being offered.

I tried to 'soften' and round the fret ends on a guitar in the past and wasn't very pleased with my results. However, the file I used was not specifically made for this job. It was a file with a fine cutting surface and safety edges that would not mar the fretboard...but it never seemed to do a great job.

However, I now wonder if it is the 'Filer' and not the file that was more to blame.

The fret ends on my new Yamaha acoustic are a bit sharp and 'unfinished' ...they looked like they were nipped and left.

I was talking to my friend @GTmaker today about this type of fret work and I thought I might give the concept of fret end dressing (and shaping) another try. Admittedly, I remain somewhat apprehensive.

Any suggestions or recommended reading/Youtube tutorials?

Is this a case of technique that takes practice to finesse?

Thanks

Cheers

Dave"


I think you can do it, it just takes practice.
Use a light touch, you don't need to press hard with a sharp file.

I typically also have to resort to a pair of cheaters (drugstore glasses) to help see what I'm doing.

Nathan
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think you can do it, it just takes practice.
Use a light touch, you don't need to press hard with a sharp file.

I typically also have to resort to a pair of cheaters (drugstore glasses) to help see what I'm doing.

Nathan
Thanks Nathan.

My wife is constantly buying cheater glasses...no shortage of those at our place!
 

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Dave, that’s not the type of file to use if the fret ends are sticking out.... that particular one is for rounding off the edges of the frets after filing flush so that the corners aren’t sharp.

My friend Paul has developed a process using a dremel with a base (he uses a drywall cutting base actually) with a flat metal grinding bit. Sort of difficult to explain, but it works a treat for filing down protruding fret ends without damaging the finish.

Anyway, the file in your original post - I have that very file. You are welcome to come out and give it a whirl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
that particular one is for rounding off the edges of the frets after filing flush so that the corners aren’t sharp.

Anyway, the file in your original post - I have that very file. You are welcome to come out and give it a whirl.
That (in bold) is what I'd like to accomplish.

I'd like to end up with something like this....



Thanks for the offer to try the file you have.

I was thinking of taping the fret ends off and just trying some 400 then 800 grit paper
 

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That (in bold) is what I'd like to accomplish.

I'd like to end up with something like this....



Thanks for the offer to try the file you have.

I was thinking of taping the fret ends off and just trying some 400 then 800 grit paper
Sorry! I re-read your original post..... yes, this is the file you need.

You could try stealing an emery board from your wife; one of the thicker types and put a small piece of tape on the bottom edge, that will help keep it from marking the fretboard..... I’ve never tried this but it’s worth a shot
 

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Nice file, I really like the idea of the round edge. I've used a points file (ignition) for 3 re-fret jobs and rolling the file works but does carry a little risk if you're tired, loosing attention. Feel does come with some patience and practice. Darn, another trip to Burlington in my future.
 

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@sulphur Thanks for the information.

To clarify the above quoted statement, do you mean "if the frets are protruding by much" OR "are not protruding by much"?

Does this refer to the fret ends "sprouting" or just the height of the frets in general.

Sorry, I'm a bit confused with what you mean by this.

Unless already addressed.... Trim or re-trim fret end in winter when the moisture is lower, - they'll never sprout again. The neck expands and contracts with moisture
 

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I learned a lot from watching YouTube videos by Crimson Guitars. Luthier in the UK that now makes/sells tools as well. Has a whole bunch... here are a few fret level/dressing vids of his.



 
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