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Discussion Starter #1
This is a skill I want to learn.


This is the area that seems most difficult.
fret end.jpg


I know that there are many choices of tools for this.
What is the file/tool du jour for this?

Thanks in advance.
 

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These are the tools I bought and they work well. The block is more for new frets, start with the 90 to cut the edge of the fret as close to the fretboard as possible, then flip it over and us 45angle(I think it’s 45) go over the fret ends again.

After that’s done you use the crowning tool to get that rounded shake your after. That tool comes with different bits for different size frets.
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks f0r the responses. I have watched several YouTube videos on the topic with many approaches to accomplishing this task using a variety of tools. I'm just curious as to, specifically, which tool(s) the GC forum members are preferring.
 

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I have a fret end dressing file but I can almost get them where I want them with the diamond crowning file just working over the edges after each stroke across the top. After leveling and crowning I untape the board and do a setup. Adjusting bridge saddles and nut. Once that is all done, one of the last things I do is go over the board and frets and clean and sand through a few grits working a bit more on the edges of the frets, basically where my hand moves. I find that is enough to smooth out those edges.

Cheers Peter.
 

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I have that wooden block with the file in it, and it works great at getting the fret ends smooth with the sides and a nice consistent angle on all ends. I used it on a Squire I have because past the 15th fret was a sharp mess. Cleaned up the ends really nice. Got it off eBay from FraterMusic. Looking on eBay, the wooden ones were all replaced with white plastic of some sort.

Still need something the round the ends off but, that angled block did a great job.

Only downside was that I found the angle to be a few degrees too much. Works at 37 and 90 degrees... rather it had been 40 and 90.
 

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Yes that is one thing to mention, after you get the fret ends where you want them, go over them with 400,600,800,1000 grit sand paper then a final rub of 0000 steel wool.

If your going with the 3 sided file to crown just be careful if it’s your first time. It’s a little harder to get the dome shape with the file without practice.
 

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You can use any kind of file you like as long as it is fine tooth and you feel comfortable using it. But I think most luthiers grind the teeth off of the edges do you can only cut on the 2 large faces. I woudn't be surprised to find out a toolmaker turned luthier is using die riffler files. I recently grabbed a pack of diamond needle files for 15 bucks from a toolmakers supplier. It's funny how the same tool can be different costs depending on who is using it.

 
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You can use any kind of file you like as long as it is fine tooth and you feel comfortable using it. But I think most luthiers grind the teeth off of the edges do you can only cut on the 2 large faces. I woudn't be surprised to find out a toolmaker turned luthier is using die riffler files. I recently grabbed a pack of diamond needle files for 15 bucks from a toolmakers supplier. It's funny how the same tool can be different costs depending on who is using it.

Are you willing to share where to buy this set?
 

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You can use any kind of file you like as long as it is fine tooth and you feel comfortable using it. But I think most luthiers grind the teeth off of the edges do you can only cut on the 2 large faces. I woudn't be surprised to find out a toolmaker turned luthier is using die riffler files. I recently grabbed a pack of diamond needle files for 15 bucks from a toolmakers supplier. It's funny how the same tool can be different costs depending on who is using it.

I just use a small file with a smooth edge.
It’s nothing special. I found it at my dads in the drawer labeled “Files” lol

I’m sure most hardware stores would have something that would work.

Nathan
 

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You can get those needle files at Candian Tire or most hardware stores.

I have a fret end file like the one in post #3 from Stewmac.
Works well and I've used it a good bit since I've had it.
 

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@Player99 that was from ebay. You can also look for diamond needle files but be careful with those. I'm afraid to buy diamond site unseen because the last package of diamond files I bought from an eBayer in Canada were not to my liking. They were extremely coarse. A needle file should be fine, not covered in chunky particles of abrasive. Look for something around 400 grit or better if buying diamond. Amazon seems to have a really nice set of diamond needle files for 16 bucks but they are 150 grit. Not sure where you are located but if you live near a Princess Auto, KBC Tools, Busy Bee all have them.
 
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Die sinker riffler files. This style will be more expensive than most but if you find a cheap used set from an old toolmaker.... Some sets are double ended so they have a curvy file at both ends


 
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I couldn't wait to order/get a specific file...Call me impatient.

I am using a diamond style file and a fine emery board (both intended for fingernails).
Not fast but also not aggressive, easy to control and the file has smooth 'outer' edges.

This is followed by various grits of wet/dry sandpaper (used dry). Then crocus paper (as a substitute for steel wool).

Besides testing with my fingertips, I check with a magnifier. Seeing the detailed shaping of the fret ends is not easy for my old eyes.

I am pleased with the results using these very basic "tools" and have not marked up the fretboard (so far)
 

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These would work really well I think. They are mostly plastic but the silver part is a thin sheet of diamond abrasive. There are no teeth nor is there any abrasive on any side except where you see. This would make it very hard to damage the fretboard as there is no abrasive on the sides. it's too thin. Available at Lee Valley

 
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I bought a set as a toolmaker 10 years ago and used them every day. But in reality there is a lot of wasted real estate on those plastic ones if all you want is fret end filing
 
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This is followed by various grits of wet/dry sandpaper (used dry). Then crocus paper (as a substitute for steel wool).
I'd never use steel wool anyways, such an absolute mess, and probably need to tape the pickups up else the metal from the wool may get stuck on the magnet poles.

I find that the Scotchbrite pads they sell at Canadian Tire and Moores Paints, work great and come in steel wool equivalents. Cheap and can reuse a lot. I have a set for metal (frets) and a set for the clear coats on the back of the neck. That way I don't get the grey metal transferred onto the neck.

Different colours are different grades...

To get a nice polish when done, you can also use Autosol. Comes in a toothpaste tube (which probably also works).

Autosol Metal Polish | Canadian Tire

 
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