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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Recommend me a decent pair of fret pulling nippers

Next 20 Messages  
littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Jul 14th, 2019 08:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm reluctant to buy the Stewmac ones for what could ultimately be a one time project. Any particular brand/size, etc.?

hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 14th, 2019 08:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

If you have access to a grinder, I do. Maybe one of these would work

End cutting nippers

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Jul 14th, 2019 10:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a workshop in my community that I'm sure has a grinder. I'm curious though, for what purpose? I've seen multiple references to grinding the nippers. Is it because they are not sharp enough to begin with?

ejm

usa

Jul 14th, 2019 10:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

What type of guitar/neck is the project in question?


littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Jul 14th, 2019 10:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

For starters this would likely be on a practice cheap Strat type neck yet to be acquired. If successful then an Allparts Strat neck.

(This message was last edited by littleuch at 12:24 PM, Jul 14th, 2019)

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 14th, 2019 10:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

The difference between end-cutting nippers (hardware store type) and fret-pulling nippers is the face grind.

Hardware store nippers have a double grind that prevents the jaws getting between the fret wire and the fretboard.

You can grind or stone hardware store nippers for use as fret pullers.

Look

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Jul 14th, 2019 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

You sir, are awesome. Thanks!

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jul 14th, 2019 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

"... I've seen multiple references to grinding the nippers. Is it because they are not sharp enough to begin with?..."

Typical end cutters have a bevel on the cutting edge that prevent the jaws from getting completely flush with the fingerboard. You want the edge of the jaws to get *under* the fret to lift it out, and any bevel prevents that.

There are many cheaper alternatives to the StewMac tool nowadays. May not last as long, but good enough for a one-time job. Just search for "fret puller pliers" on amazon or ebay.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 12:45 PM, Jul 14th, 2019)

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 14th, 2019 10:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

The best fret nippers are fairly small because of fretboard radius. Get yourself some small nippers with a cutting edge no longer than about 1/2" or so. Any longer and they'll be harder to use.

like these, about 6" long

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 14th, 2019 10:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

A very cool trick is to place a thin steel fretboard guard ("fret shield") over the fret before pulling it with the nipper. This prevents the tool from making divots in the fretboard as you gently rock the nipper to remove the fret.

It also helps to heat the fret with a soldering stick before pulling.

fret shield

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Jul 14th, 2019 10:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

I just bought some fret shields from SM.

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 14th, 2019 11:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

The fret shield also helps prevent chips from pulling out when working on a rosewood or ebony board.

When working on rosewood, run a wet Qtip down each side of the fret before you heat it with the soldering stick. The steam helps loosen the fret's bite in the wood and makes it easier to remove.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 14th, 2019 11:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

Also...if you have fret pullers or you grind cheap nippers for fret duty, swear on a stack of boobles to never ever use them for anything else.

If you cut steel with them they will be damaged. They'll cut copper wire okay, but you should be using diagonal cutters (dikes) for that task anyway. Fret pullers are a specialty tool and will last for many years if you use them only as intended.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jul 14th, 2019 11:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Peegoo's point is well-taken. The fact that the cutting edge needs to be very thin to get under the fret makes these pullers somewhat delicate.

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 14th, 2019 12:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

That is the reason why hardware-store nippers have that fairly blunt double grind on the cutting jaws: so they don't chip with hard use.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jul 14th, 2019 04:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

Larry, I have a pair that are Stew-Mac "look-a-likes" that I got from a local tool shop.
This shop has a small portion of their store that is dedicated to luthier tools.

I'm sure they're MIC, and wouldn't be surprised if the SM ones are too (they make no claims re: country of origin). They work just fine and are nicely ground for precision.

Also just echoing what Geno said, separate tools for pulling vs nipping.


ejm

usa

Jul 15th, 2019 09:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

I heard that in the past the way to remove frets on an unbound neck was to pull them out from the side.
It appears that this has changed, and we now pull them out from the top.

Which is better?
Why the preference of one way over the other?


hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 15th, 2019 10:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thank Geno, sorry my post was infolite, I was moments away from heading to the springs on the Harley, when I posted.

My 2” by 72” belt grinder has two contact wheels, hard rubber surface, at 8 and 10 inches. The ten inch wheel can get the front edge angle ground to 10” radius, with a little practice, in the grinding, nearly any shallower radius can be achieved. Ya also need to keep in mind that the heat from grinding can ruin the temper, tool steel tempers fairly easy but it’s still a process.

Taking the nippers apart would make profiling the inner bevel more controllable. The edge, like a good sushi blade, that has only one edge beveled, like a carpenters chisel.

I’ve got hundreds of hours running this grinder, I also have a Tormek rig that helps keep everything in place, like the edge bevel, primarily for sharpening scissors.

I’ll pick up a set and make the modification, wouldn’t hurt keeping a set around. I’ve never had to pull frets. It would be a good idea to practice.




Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 15th, 2019 11:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

Mike, you have to work a lot harder than that to offend me :o)

Cheers brother!

hushnel
Contributing Member
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jul 15th, 2019 12:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

“At least you got another “You’re awesome”

that had to smooth over the rough edge “o). In your case it’s more a statement of fact than a mear compliment “o)

Have you decided on the Atlanta Jam yet?

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Recommend me a decent pair of fret pulling nippers




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