Ebony board shrunk - sharp fret ends now

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by CronoDL, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. CronoDL

    CronoDL Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Hi guys, haven't posted much before, but I have some questions that I hope you can help me with.

    So around last fall, I ordered a Warmoth neck to put on a strat. It was a maple neck with an ebony board, and stainless steel frets. The quality was excellent. I finished it myself with tru-oil and installed tuners myself, and also cut my own nut. Much of the info that helped me get through the whole process was found on these boards, so I thank you all.

    For the past 4 months or so, I haven't played guitar much, and when I picked it up to play a month ago, I realized that the ebony board had shrunk a bit, and the fret ends protrude just a bit. The nut also protrudes a bit. It's not horrible, and I have no trouble with filing down the fret ends.

    I live in NYC, so there are cold dry winters and hot summers. There's no doubt that it shrunk because of the low humidity during winter.

    Now my main question is whether or not the ebony will eventually expand itself when the weather gets warmer and more humid. Or would you just go ahead and smooth down the fret ends now? I also do use Fret Doctor, but the low humidity is too much it seems.

    All comments are appreciated!! Thanks!
  2. The Pup

    The Pup Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2005
    Try to re-humidify your guitar to see if it comes back to the form it had when it was originally fretted.

    Case, humidifier, two or three weeks done!

    Note: Sometimes you have to re-bevel the fret ends if there is a large disparity between your intended use environment (RH%) and that of the original manufacturer.

    Most guitars are manufactured at 45% +/- 5%. I keep all of my guitars out on display on wall hooks...and I use a humidifier (big Hunter model) year round to keep them all stable and happy at 45%. I've done this with my collection starting in the late '60's with no damage or issues (no direct sunlight, grease fires or smoke either).
  3. otaypanky

    otaypanky Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2006
    the Northern Neck of Virginia
    The Pup's post is absolutely on. Martin references the relative humidity at which the factory is kept, and recommends the guitar be kept in a similar environment. I keep a hygrometer in my basement music room. Basements are often a poor environment for guitars, but I always have a humidifier and a dehumidifier ready if needed. For 8 years in my last home, I also had a music room in a finished basement. The guitars were out on wall hangers. I found that tougher on them than living in the cases as they now do, even monitoring the humidity. They also stay a lot cleaner now, and strings stay fresher too.
    If I were you I wouldn't mess with my fret ends or do anything else until you let the neck stabilize.
  4. Caretaker

    Caretaker Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2006
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    right. file them now while they're protruding, and they won't bother you anymore. just be careful, as the stainless will want to catch your file and force it to ride up or down, risking the wood.
  6. bigroy

    bigroy Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    Greencastle, Indiana

    +1 Takes just a few minutes.

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