Frets popping up

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by eschoendorff, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. eschoendorff

    eschoendorff Member

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    Hey guys,

    I have a 25.5" scale guitar with mahogany body and neck and a striped ebony fret board. I just noticed that the ends of several frets are popping up. I need to figure out a way to set them back in...

    I know that I need a bit of water-thin super glue, but how do you guys set and clamp the frets in while the glue sets? I know that Stew-Mac has this vise-grip looking fret tool for about $200, but there has to be a cheaper and effective solution. What did techs do before the Stew-Mac tool?

    I also have a small craftsman hammer with interchangeable soft-face hammer heads, if that helps:

    http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10...mers+&+Mallets&prdNo=3&blockNo=3&blockType=L3

    Also, I have some Loc-Tite liquid Super Glue. It appears to be almost water thin. Will that work, or do I need the special thin glue from Stew-Mac?

    Thanks for your help!

    Ed
     
  2. OlAndrew

    OlAndrew Member

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    It's a bit of a Harley fix, but I use a capo with a heavy spring. I take a piece of a popsicle stick and have it sitting on the bad fret, and one adjacent to it. I cut it so it's only on the two frets, and a little longer than the space between teh two frets. Shoot my super glue, and put the spring capo on so it's sitting on the stick right above the bad fret. Give it a bit of a squeeze to be sure the fret is all the way down.

    The reason for the stick is that the capo tends to wobble off to the side without it, cuz the top of the fret is narrow and round.

    All the books say to use accelerator. I don't, so I have a little time to fiddle with things if it doesn't look correct right off at first. I don't have a customer waiting, nor am I trying to beat the flat rate book, so it's worth it to me to have the extra time. Let it harden for a few hours before you pull the capo, though if you don't use accelerator
     
  3. nateclark

    nateclark Member

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    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  4. nateclark

    nateclark Member

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    Forgot to mention, you can buy just one fret press brass insert from stew mac and make yourself a clamping caul with it (check out the rosewood caul with a set screw in photo #3 of my loose frets article). Some accelerator and a quick grip would allow you to get that job done faster without having to buy lots of clamps or make lots of cauls.
     
  5. eschoendorff

    eschoendorff Member

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    So it looks like I'll need to invest in a set of cauls. Did you make your own rosewood caul-to-clamp pieces? Also, what you you use on the bottom of the Irwin quick-clamps to conform to the profile of the neck? Or is that even necessary?

    Andrew, I'm having a tough time picturing exactly the setup you describe. I have a nice capo, but I doubt it has enough spring strength to push down a fret end. Still, I'd like to know more about this technique.

    Thanks guys!

    Ed
     
  6. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    A simple caul for fret ends can be made from a block of wood with two strips of wood running down the side underneath. Then it will only push down on the fret ends.

    If you do as Nate suggests and buy a Stewmac brass inserts, get one that is one size tighter radius than the fingerboard for fret ends, i.e. if you have a 12" FB, get a 14" insert or you may never get those ends down. I have those and they're very nice...I've started pressing my frets on the drill press, actually.
     
  7. nateclark

    nateclark Member

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    I made the wooden blocks that hold the brass inserts. The caul with a set screw is made from scrap rosewood that I glued up around a waxed insert and a .010" feeler gauge. That took too long, so when I made the sets with fixed inserts, I cut a groove in about 8' of white oak on the table saw. I made the cross cuts with a chop saw and glued the inserts in with super glue.

    Somewhere in the forum archive, there is a thread where Walter explains how to make a clamping caul that will work with any radius. It's a very smart design.

    I periodically sand and clean the pads of the lower jaws of the designated fretwork quick grips. No need to use a caul on the back of the neck.
     
  8. smithguitars

    smithguitars Member

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    I think you mean to get a narrower or smaller radius to put the sides down. A larger radius will hold the middle of the fret. so 6" brass insert/press on a 7.25" fretboard will contact on the fret edges but not the middle.
     
  9. John Coloccia

    John Coloccia Cold Supporting Member

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    Exactly....I said it right, and then reversed the numbers. For a 14" FB you'd want something like a 12" radius. I can't believe you're the only one to catch that!
     

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