FDP Forum / Bought some files/ 25 messages in thread.

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wrnchbndr

Contributing Member
**********
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Aug 31st, 2017 12:48 PM        

If there is a problem with an open string and the fretted notes sound fine the problem is with the nut. Sometimes a little bit of fluff or a wooleybooger from a cleaning cloth can find its way into the slot. Nut slots are the single most frequent problem I see on guitars that have not been to a good tech. Unless they are already too deep, its also the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to getting a guitar to play better.<br /> If you're really getting into this I highly recommend the book written by Dan Erlewine "How To Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great".



Therealfrogman

Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, and then some...
Oct 4th, 2017 10:38 AM        

wrnchbndr, I actually bought that book a few years ago and found it among my guitar player mags... Very good book and incredible resource.<br /> <br /> I must admit that my first attempt at spot leveling was a bomb, I have since bought a radius block and have done complete level. There is one fret that is just lower than the rest so it took a little while to get level. I made sure the neck was straight before I started.<br /> <br /> I have the frets crowned and after rechecking everything I still have 3 frets that are a little high.... Decided to continue going slow and checking and rechecking etc.. <br /> <br /> I will approach it again later today after I check, recheck, check recheck, think, recheck, etc....:-) I can take those frets down with a flat file very slowly... a snails pace for this beginner.<br /> <br /> The crowning files I bought are not that good and leave chatter marks regardless of how I use them, Hosco files. Live and learn. Should I be just going one way with them or back and forth?? I have polished them out at this point and they look pretty good.



Cal-Woody



USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Oct 4th, 2017 11:50 AM        

With the standard crowning files, milled, only use them in the cutting direction, otherwise, you'll dull the cutting edge and round them over. After maybe 2 passes, clean out the file teeth, then approach your work again. This maintains a better cut and keeps the metal build up from marring the fret tops. <br /> When used lightly, a very thin oil should be used to help with the file to glide over the fret tops, but it also traps the shavings into the file teeth and requires frequent cleaning but you'll get optimal results. I use a very light sewing machine oil that my Mom had, but Stew-Mac sells a good cutting oil that is for this purpose. The diamond grit file can go in both directions when used, but those require, as does the regular files and work area, to be wiped off often, to reduce the possibility of debris from causing any uneven pressure to the fret surface and good clean, even strokes. <br /> I'll use my regular files on the nickel silver frets to remove larger surfaces that require it then follow up with my diamond files for shaping and smoothing.<br /> Best regards, Woody



wrnchbndr

Contributing Member
**********
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Oct 4th, 2017 12:05 PM        

Conventional steel files need to be used in one direction only. Its only diamond files that can be used in both directions.<br /> <br /> When using a conventional crowning file, I have the file in my right hand and a small wire brush in my left hand. Every four or five passes, I'll used the wire brush to clear the chips of metal from the file -- Think about how a barber holds both scissors and a comb at the same time. There should never be any loading of the file teeth with fret material that isn't easy to clear with a few swipes of the wire brush. The teeth of the file should be totally clean. A good quality crowning file shouldn't load up with material stuck in the teeth. My conventional crowning file from StewMac is now about five years old and the teeth are as good as new. I use it almost daily and have used it on stainless frets about a dozen times.<br /> <br /> I paint my leveled frets with a colored sharpie and use the conventional crowning file to achieve a consistent center line down the length of the fret of slightly less than 1/3rd the total with of the fret. My passes are light with a very light downward force. I want control of the cutting to get my center line to an equal width for the entire length of the fret. I also don't want to risk changing the height of the fret if for some reason a fret isn't fully seated-- which also brings up the subject of spongy frets. You should always be on the look out for spongy frets which need to be secured in advance of leveling. I've only found them on a couple of Fenders and never on a maple fretboard but it could happen.<br /> <br /> I follow the conventional crowning file with a few passes of my diamond crowning file which easily removes any chatter marks. With the diamond crowning file, I want to at least leave a remnant of the sharpie along the full length of the fret but I'm making only three or four light passes and doing my best to make the passes match the radius of the fret. On occasion, there might be a small absence of the sharpie mark but my passes are so light that I'm confident that I haven't changed the height of the fret.<br /> <br /> For conventional nickle alloy frets, I follow the diamond crowning with 600 grit sandpaper with goal of eliminating all remaining sharpie color and the witness line of what used to be the remaining flat center section of the fret. I'll use the stewmac fretboard guards on maple and some rosewood. fretboards. At this point, using steel wool or something like it for polishing, the end result will be better polishing than routinely seen from most manufacturers of guitars under $1000. I may or may not follow with 1000 grit sandpaper. Going from 600 grit sandpaper to my high speed polishing wheel yields a wonderful mirror finish. I'm using a Zip Router at 2000 rpm with an extension wand and a 1" X 1/8" felt wheel and a white polishing compound stick. I DON"T RECOMMEND THIS for people to try because you can cause some serious damage to a fretboard and the neck if you're not really careful and have a lot of experience and confidence. You need to employ absolute control and consider a process that doesn't make the fret overheat. Its easy to loose control and totally wipe out any binding or have the polishing wheel get unexpected traction and walk itself to an undesirable place. You can cause the fret to quickly get so hot that it chars the slot destroying the slots ability to hold the fret.



Therealfrogman

Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, and then some...
Oct 4th, 2017 12:27 PM        

I read both of these posts, thank you!! I have used the sharpie as stated but... unless I missed it after reading, which way is the cutting way?<br /> <br /> Away from me or to me? The files do not look like there is any difference in the groove direction.<br /> <br /> ***This dummy figured it out and it really works well ;-)



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