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Filing fret ends, what's your method?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Arx, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Arx


    Jan 22, 2008
    I've just put all the frets in my neck, and nicely beveled the ends. Now I'm trying to figure out how I should get rid of the razor sharp corners.

    I was thinking I'll take a small square file, and grind one face smooth, then I can run it along the corner of the fret without marking the fretboard.

    Thoughts? better methods?

    This is my first build, so I have no idea how things are normally done.

  2. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    Go to the Stewart McDonald website for the proper files/tools! Lots of very cool stuff there!!
  3. Arx


    Jan 22, 2008
    Yep, I know about them, but ordering stuff from the states to Canada, we always get raped on the shipping.

    I'm sure I can grind up a cheap mini-file on my bench grinder to whatever shape I need, and save myself the $50 it would cost me to get one of those, and pay the shipping. ;)

    What's the actual technique that you use? I would think it would work better with one fully flat face, rather than just edges ground smooth.

  4. callowhill


    Nov 7, 2005
    Your first post was dead on. Grind one face smooth and do as you stated. Everyone has their own method regarding the proper way to dress a fret end. Most people (myself included) make a diagonal cut into the corner of the fret, then make a "rounded" pass to smooth it out. From there, a triangle file can break the edge of the crown. Two motions, two files, each side. To each his own though...
  5. Arx


    Jan 22, 2008
    yep, it worked great. I put a rather large bevel on, as I've got a pretty wide string gap from the edge of the board and I kind of like the look of it more than a more abrupt end, especially since it's a fanned fret, so some of them are at a fairly pointed angle. i just filed it enough to knock the sharp corners off. Whipped my fingers up and down it a few dozen times, and no snags, so I think I'm good.

    I flattened one surface of the square file for the initial cut to take the sharp points of of the angled frets, and than used the triangle file (with one edge ground smooth/rounded) to round off the edges of the bevel slightly.
  6. Now you can make 'em even better by hitting them gently with a bit of ultra-fine sandpaper. 1000-2000-4000 grit we're talking. Then buff 'em out with a Dremel and a little 3M or Meguiars.

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