Fret Crimper and Fret Barber

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by turtleboy3, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. turtleboy3

    turtleboy3 Member

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    What do you guys think of fret crimper and fret barber from stewmac? Im a newbie and just interested to know if you guys find these tools really helpful and Necessary? Or you guys have your own Diy tools to do it?

    What do you think?

    Thanks
     
  2. wox

    wox Supporting Member

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    For the record, I'm nowhere near the most experienced fretworker on this board, but in my experience fretting electric guitar necks, they are not necessary.

    They would be used on old guitars with no truss rods where you had to strategically "fret in" backbow with compression fretting, and could be useful if you encountered enlarged slots on a neck that has been refretted numerous times. Glue is also your friend on slightly oversized fret slots.

    I've encountered tight fret slots, and will hit them with a couple passes of a slotting saw to clean them out and open them up to a standard size.
     
  3. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    I've been doing frets for a long time and have never found a use for those tools. I think Wox is right - they're more for playing games with older non-adjustable necks, which I rarely take in. People are funny about old guitars, so I tend to avoid them.

    Probably why I could never be a veterinarian, either. Just spent a good part of a day at a veterinary emergency clinic last weekend, and if you wanna see some people losing their minds... People aren't that crazy in human emergency rooms, fer crissakes!
     
  4. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Supporting Member

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    I will offer another opinion. I use both of them a lot.

    The fret barber is great when your new fret tang is larger than the slot. Even a few thousand difference will cause the neck to bow. You have two choices when this happens. Enlarge the slot (not easy if it’s bound) or trim the barbs on the tang so if fits properly.

    One the other side, some times the slot is too wide, or maybe even one specific slot is worn out and a fret will not stay seated. The fret crimper allows me to enlarge the area of the tang so it stays seated.

    If you use many different fret wire sizes, I find them a necessity.
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    i use the crimper often enough because my favorite jescar fret sizes don't all come in (nor do i want to stock) multiple tang thicknesses. the default tang size is a thin .020 or .021, so if there's a mismatch it's typically in the direction of a too-thin fret tang.

    i don't like the crimper; it's hard to use, fatiguing to my hand, time-consuming, hard to create a consistent width result and can slightly distort the radius of the fret. it's an absolute bitch to use on stainless, they need to make a much higher-leverage version.

    now that i'm thinking about it, the crimper needs to not be a hand-squeeze tool at all! it needs to be a thing you feed the fret into and then turn a hand crank, like the bender! it could have two meshing toothed wheel-jaws or whatever that the fret gets rolled through, with an adjustment for how close the two jaws get pushed together and thus a way to precisely control the resulting widening effect. it should also have a guide roller or two that keeps the fretwire from de-radiusing itself in the process.

    i've never messed with the fret barber, but i still don't like the idea; if a tang is too fat then trying to trim down the sides just takes the barbs off, leaving you a fret with less grip in the wood. i'd rather widen the slots so the fret fits right and has its full complement of barbs to lock it in. (i use CA regardless, but i'm all about "belt+suspenders" when it comes to fretwork.)
     
  6. Jack Daniels

    Jack Daniels Supporting Member

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    I always thought this too. I tried to make one, but don’t have a metal shop to do a good job. If SM ever makes one, it will be expensive
     
    walterw likes this.

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