Finished my first refret and it was a Success!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Rockinrob86, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. Rockinrob86

    Rockinrob86 Supporting Member

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    This guitar has always been a little funny. It has a musikraft neck, that had an unusual sounding "buzzy" thing going on. It is not the typical string hitting fret buzzing, more like a fuzzy haze and plasticy overtone on notes in the middle of the neck.

    I sent it to a tech a few year ago, who "leveled" the frets, but it didn't change anything. Then I decided I would learn, and learn again on how to level frets. I've actually gotten good at it, but this poor strat had its frets knocked too low.

    I've been learning the different steps needed to get into luthiery and I have cut nuts and saddles from raw bone, leved crowned and polished frets, finished raw wood necks and bodies, glued acoustic bridges, repaired a lifting brace, glued in transducer pickups, etc.

    But I hadn't done a refret until last night!


    [​IMG]

    I took my first guitar, a 1995 Squier Strat that has been sitting in a box in pieces for 10 years, removed all the frets, refretted it with LMII FW74 frets. I then leveled them, recrowned and polished with my micromesh pads.


    And it came out great! Even with the crappy, slightly off centered (!) squier plastic nut, this guitar plays much better than before. It needed a serious shim to fit the neck pocket, but even with that, it is nice and buzz free, with low action and very easy and nice to play.

    [​IMG]

    I plan on refretting the original neck, but am still in the planning stages. It looks like the crowns were not very good in the middle of the neck, so I think the buzzing is from having a few nearly squre frets.

    I'm not sure if I should plane the fretboard. On the squier I used a 9.5 radius sanding block up to the 12th fret, and then a 12 radius for the upper frets, just to see what it felt like. The original neck feels like it may be an even smaller radius than 7.25, compared to my 7.25 guitars, so I'm thinking I need to get the frets out, check out what the radius actually is, and then I think I'll go for maybe a 7.25 and 9.5 on this one. I haven't seen any obvious humps or bumps in the neck, but I have had trouble accurately sighting things before.

    I didn't prebend the fret wire I used on the squire neck, the roll already had a radius to it. I had several frets that seemed like the fret slot was a bit proud, and they popper up on the treble side. I superglued in all the frets and I think that problem is fixed. I'm assuming the slots were just not cut very well.

    Should I build the little fret bending jig?

    I have a cheap japanese suzuki acoustic guitar I could practice on before the nice strat neck, which I may do first. I learned a lot from doing this squier neck for sure, so maybe that is the best action plan...
     
  2. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    refretting is something I need to learn. Do you have all the necessary tools or just the bare minimum?
     
  3. Rockinrob86

    Rockinrob86 Supporting Member

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    I got about $100 worth of tools from my parents for my birthday last September and I already had some things. It took me 5 months to work up the nerve!

    You'll need:
    crowning files,
    a fretting hammer,
    a fret nip,
    ground down fret puller,
    soldering iron,
    one of these cheap needle file sets,
    digital calipers,
    a triangle file with the edges ground down,
    thin superglue,
    a nice flat rat tail/ bastard file,
    radius blocks,
    a neck caul/something nice to put the neck you're about to beat with a hammer on,
    220 sandpaper,
    a set of micromesh pads,
    one of those 4 sided fret level spot checking gauges,

    and then you'll need the stuff to cut a nut -
    nut files,
    spark plug gap gauge,
    one of those stew mac string spacing rulers.

    Now that I think of it, I did use a lot of tools, but most of these I use all the time on other stuff too. Save any saw dust in zip lock bags. Never know when you'll need some rosewood dust!
     
  4. oldlefty

    oldlefty Member

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