1. Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    I'm sure you've all seen stewmac's $42 nippers and the cheaper e-bay ones for around $30.

    Make yourselves all a favor, if you own a dremel with a cut-off wheel.

    Here's my clickable thumbnail tutorial :rolleyes:

    I went and bought a sheet metal nibbler for $17AUD at Dick Smiths, that's Australia's version of Radio Shack. I'm sure you'll all find one locally for peanuts. (As in less than $10)

    That speaks for itself, I clamped the nibbler and used the cut-off wheel on it. That was a 30 second mod, I'm serious! The cut-off wheel cut through this metal like butter.
    Make sure you hold your dremel with two hands to control it properly and make small lines as you go slowly deeper. You have to be careful because that cut-off wheel will make a mess of the surounding metal if you slip up.
    You also have to make sure that the groove is as close as possible to the mouth so you don't cut the tang too short. Check it out first with a bit of fretwire before you start cutting the groove.

    You can see the groove I made here

    Cutting some fret material

    The end result, sorry about the bad quality picture. :(
  2. great idea, phil...

    i take it from your investment that you're working on another one...:)...

    on another note...sorry for the temporary derailment...
    have you gotten around to doing pickups in australia yet? basically what I'm looking for is a source of magnets and wire...

    back to the subject...I always thought that a lot of stew mac's stuff, although good, was a tad overpriced, when many tools could be purposely and easily modified as you've masterfully demonstrated...

    another fretting (or defretting) tool that can be made easily is a fret puller, by simply grinding the edge of the jaws of a pair of parallel-jawed nippers...20 seconds with a rasp can accomplish this...
  3. Hey Phil, great tip.

    I did this a few years ago and made an additional notch out the front of the nipper to be able to cut frets off after they were installed. It takes a little ooomph to pop them but it does work.
  4. Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    Indeed, 5 string set-neck, funky figured maple top and back, mahog core, maple/wenge neck, cocobolo FB. :D

    Sorry, I didn't find any sources in Oz, I ordered my last batch of wire from the states and paid hefty shipping costs as always :rolleyes: I ordered a bunch of magnets through a company in Korea many moons ago but I'm still waiting on them.

    Oh jeez, I didn't even think of trying that will a file. I keep thinking I've gotta get myself a grinder to do this. :rollno:

    That's a good tip too. Do you cut the leftover fretwire by holding the nippers parallel to the neck or vertical?
  5. Vertical seems to leave the shortest amount of material to get through, although sideways is easier to start, it gets more difficult in the middle of the stroke. You also can't leave too much over the edge of the fretboard or you'll be taking a couple of bites.
  6. thanks for the link, wilser...

    now for the next obvious question..."got a source for wire?"...:)

    Allan, I'm having a little trouble picturing this extra notch...got a photo or a sketch?...cheers...

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